Title: Hell Is Other People
Word Count: 12059.
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 , a woman with the patience of a saint. This chapter is a present, as I’m off on my hols! Oh and as for the cliffie... please remember I’m on holiday, all torch wielding mobs will be sat waiting a bloody long time *G*
Jensen sat staring at the door after Jared left, flipped open his phone and looked down at the numbers. His finger hovered over Jared’s name but he stopped himself from calling. Jared would need to concentrate; he didn’t need to be distracted by him calling and acting like a worried boyfriend. Jensen fell back onto the bed and sighed. God, his feet were killing him again. He wondered what to do with himself while Jared rode to the rescue; he rolled on his side and caught sight of Jared’s lap top. He sat up again; he started to bite at his nails, a habit of his when he was anxious.
He kept looking at the computer. Finally he caved, “Ok then, Jenny, go and check your research. It will just prove Jared’s right in his assessment of the hunt.” Jensen slowly got to his feet, and hobbled to the table. He sat down and pulled the lap top towards him. He switched it on, and got to work, going through his and Jared’s research.
As Jared drove he began to relax, letting himself focus on the coming hunt. He went over his plan once more, but he kept returning to the man he left back in the motel room. He hated the thought of Jensen, sat there, alone and unprotected. And Jensen’s offer to provide back-up while he dealt with Mary had been tempting, if only to know Jensen was safely in the truck, waiting for him.
He knew that hunting solo was dangerous, and most hunters worked with a partner when they could. Jared shook himself. No, he hunted solo for a reason. There was no chance anyone else could get hurt. The only risk was to him, and what kind of hypocrite was he? Preparing to take Jensen home to protect him from this life, and then turning around and wanting to take him on a hunt with him? No, even if Jensen wasn’t hurt, it would be foolhardy and dangerous; he knew that this was the right course of action.
Then Jensen words about research came back to him. Something struck him as familiar about the words, he’d heard it before about research; it was Jim’s mantra. “Now, Jay, how many times I gotta tell you, the most important thing in a hunt ain’t weapons, it’s research. Ya check it once, twice and when ya think ya got it covered, ya go back and check it again.”
Suddenly Jared found himself thinking about Jensen’s talent for research. It had taken him a long time to be able to make connections like Jensen had and the questions he’d asked, had been like working a hunt with Jim and Kane. The soft voice that had whispered to him the night before was back. How did Jensen know how to make those connections? His research know-how was nearly as good as his. “Where did you learn to research like that, Jensen?” Jared mused out loud. When he got back to the motel room he’d have to ask Jensen about his research skills, and he wouldn’t take medical studies for an answer. He passed a road sign telling him he was ten miles out of Fort Hood, and he went back to concentrating on the hunt. He could worry about Jensen later.
Jensen continued to review his research, so far there were no problems or unpleasant surprises. Jensen sat back and rubbed at his eyes; they felt gritty and hot, and he wasn’t sure it was just from staring at the screen. He looked away from the screen and closed his eyes; he pictured Jared, his smile and the warmth that he was still capable of. Jensen sighed and opened his eyes. He was being selfish even thinking about asking Jared to give up on his quest for revenge, but what Jared was attempting, hunting that demon...it was then something caught Jensen’s eye. It was a photograph, one of many Jared had brought from the library, but yesterday when they’d been going through them, Jensen hadn’t seen this one. It was a family portrait, Joshua, Ruth and Mary Williamson, together and happy, but there was something very familiar about what Mary was wearing. He’d seen it before, but where?
Jensen turned back to the laptop, and began to go through his pictures of the house and its contents. He clicked on image after image, and there it was. He knew he’d seen that dress before. “Son of a bitch! Shit, I gotta warn Jay.” He picked up his phone and flipped it open, he dialled Jared’s number. He waited for Jared to answer, “Come on, man, answer me, damnit.” When the phone went to voicemail he spoke quickly, “Jay, listen, there is something else besides the locket keeping Mary here, call me please.”
He put the phone on the table, hoping that Jared was driving and that’s why he hadn’t been able to answer the call. Jensen was worried, the way they had parted, how Jared seemed to avoid his eyes. What if he was ignoring his call? “You’re being paranoid; Jay wouldn’t be dumb enough to switch his phone off. Fuck it! I swear I’m gonna kick your ass for this, Padalecki. Jim and Kane had to have taught you better than that.” Jensen picked up his phone again, and dialled once more. This time when it went to voicemail, Jensen explained what Jared should look for, and where it was.
Jensen felt helpless; he was unable to shake the growing apprehension that gnawed at him. Then his eyes dropped down onto a pair of boots; the ones Jared had made him wear. Jensen smiled, pushed himself to his feet and went towards them. He picked them up, limped to his bag and found a couple of pairs of socks. He lowered himself back onto the bed, slowly pulled the socks and then the boots onto his feet. He sat, hunched forward as the effort made his battered feet throb and burn, his breath coming in short gasps. He put his hands on his thighs and sat up, “Ok, then, that was the hard part, now for the easy part. Getting my ass twenty miles to the next town and crashing Jared’s hunt. Piece of cake, nothing to it. Now all I need to do is to steal a car, and convince someone to drive me. Damn it, Eddie! Why screw my feet up! How do I get to Jared now?” Somehow he had to get to Fort Hood, and soon, before Jared got hurt. With luck Jared would still be on the road, all he had to do was try and get there as soon as possible.
Once again Jensen looked round the room, seeking inspiration. It was a nice room but unless it was a TARDIS in disguise, or had transporter room tucked away in the closet so he could beam down, there was nothing here to help him. Then he saw the telephone and an idea formed. He shuffled up the bed, picked up and dialled. “Hi Earl, I don’t suppose you have the number of a local cab company do you?”
The door knocked and Jensen hauled himself slowly to his feet. His progress to the door was slow, but he was determined to do this. He made sure he had his wallet and phone, and he opened the door to the cab driver. Only it wasn’t a cab driver, “Earl, what are you doing here? I thought you were calling me a cab.”
The older man gave Jensen a smile, “Now, son, if I called you a cab and you went off somewhere and got yourself hurt, Mabel would tan my hide, no matter how damn old I am. What’s so all fired important that you dragged yourself off your sick bed?” Jensen slumped. Damn, he didn’t have time for this. He was going to bribe the cab driver to go as fast as he could, to get to the house. But now with Earl standing guard, he was going to have to be creative.
“Please, Earl, I need to get to Fort Hood as quickly as possible. Jared could be in trouble, and it’s all my fault.” Jensen resorted to using the pleading puppy eyes. Mac always said they got mom and dad to cave whenever Jensen wanted something. While he stood, pleading silently with Earl, his mind was racing. He was struggling to come up with a reasonable explanation for Jared being in trouble, in Fort Hood of all places.
Earl straightened, “Ahh hell, son, it ain’t that damn boyfriend of yours, is it? Look, I’m sorry but Mabel told me all about ya trouble, and I’m with her. Ya don’t do that to someone ya supposed to love. But what’s it got to do with ya friend, Jared?” As Earl was speaking, Jensen was fighting the urge to hug the crap out him. He’d given him an opening, and as much as he hated lying to Earl, right now he had no other choice.
“Eddie kept ringing and texting me, he wouldn’t leave me alone. He wants me to go back to him, and Jared was worried that I’d crack and do it. While I was sleeping yesterday, Jared must’ve finally snapped and answered my phone. I’m pretty sure he’s gone to meet Eddie. Please, Earl, I need to get to Jared first; if not, I’m scared Eddie will hurt him for trying to help me.” Jensen ran his fingers through his hair. Shit, they were wasting time, but he needed Earl’s help.
“It’s ok, Jensen; do you know where Jared’s gone? And have you tried ringing him?” Earl was starting to looked worried, now it was time to press home his advantage.
“I’ve tried to reach him. I’ve rung and rung, but I’m sure he’s switched his phone off. One of the text messages said Eddie was working in Fort Hood, on an old house that’s being renovated.....I’m sure it’s the...”
Before Jensen could continue Earl broke in “He’s working up at the old Williamson house? Damn kid, the place is a local legend. You stay right here, I’ll go get my car then I’ll help you smack some sense into your friend.” When Earl turned and walked away, Jensen felt as if he’d aged ten years in the last few seconds. At least he was on his way; he just hoped that Jared would be alright.
He heard the sound of a large engine, looked at the four by four that pulled up by the door and smiled. Now if he could convince Earl to drive above thirty miles an hour, everything might be fine. He closed the door and limped slowly round the front of the truck, pausing for a moment. He was already sweating and shaking just from that short walk. He had no idea how he was going to help Jared, even if it was the last thing he did he’d make sure Jared was going to be alright. He opened the door, climbed into the truck, and they drove off.
Jared was getting closer to his destination, he decided now was the time to switch his phone back on. He saw he had missed calls. They were all from Jensen, his fingers lingered over the buttons. He decided not to listen to the messages; he couldn’t afford to be distracted now. When Mary was dealt with he’d listen then, but for now he needed to be one hundred percent focused. He saw a sign telling him he was only five miles away, he was making good time. This should be relatively straightforward, and soon he’d be on his way back. Then he’d have to face Jensen once more, and he knew he’d need all his strength to deal with him.
Jensen was willing Earl to go faster, but the old man seemed to be treating this like a Sunday afternoon drive. “Jensen. Why are you so worried about Jared? He seems like he can take care of himself. You shouldn’t be dragging yourself out there after him the shape you’re in.” Earl glanced over at the man sat beside him. His fingers were twisting in the cuffs of the hoodie he wore. Jensen stared out of the windshield, and finally answered.
“Jared has this knight-in-shining-armour complex, he wants to save everyone, and kill the dragon. It’s just sometimes you don’t even know who the dragon is, and one day it’s gonna get him hurt. But if I’ve got anything to do with it, it won’t be today. So if you don’t mind going just a little faster please, Earl.” Jensen’s voice had wavered when he spoke, and Earl could see how much Jared meant to him. From what Mabel had told him about Jared, it looked like he felt the same way about Jensen. And so far what he’d heard about Jensen’s ex, Jensen was going to be better off without him, and he’d help any way he could.
“Ok, Jensen, relax. Now how much of a head start does Jared have on us do you reckon? Earl asked.
“I think he’s got about fifteen minutes or so, I didn’t realize where he’d gone. I checked my phone and saw the message, and then I looked at Jared’s browser on his lap top - there were directions to the house on it.” Jensen was struggling not to beg Earl to pull over so he could drive. To hell with his feet, he could probably walk faster at this rate.
Earl laughed, causing Jensen to look puzzled. What the hell was so damn funny? With every minute that passed, Jared was getting closer to the Williamson’s house and trouble. “Jensen, relax. Your friend will be taking the main road to Fort Hood, I just happen to know a few short cuts - the kind that don’t attract too many cops. Now buckle up, these roads can get a might bumpy.” Earl took a sharp left and suddenly he floored the gas, throwing Jensen back against the seat. Jensen tightened his seat belt and threw a prayer heavenwards; it could be that he was in more danger than Jared at the moment.
Jared pulled up at the Williamson’s property, looked up at the imposing structure and whistled. “The photos don’t do this place justice, time to evict your unwanted tenant.” Jared reached over to his duffle, picked up his sawn-off and then collected extra salt cartridges. He didn’t want to carry the bag with him as it would impede his range of movement. When he’d loaded up with enough spare ammo, he checked his lighter then he checked his other pocket for his other lighter. It paid to be well prepared, there was nothing worse than trying to perform a salt and burn, only to discover your Zippo didn’t light. Jared got out of the truck and made his way to the back door.
Jared tried the door, it was locked. He slipped his hand inside his jacket and retrieved his lock picks. He rested his gun on the floor; the old lock was easy to open. He heard a soft click. Smiling, he returned the lock picks to their place, picked up the gun and stepped inside. Jared closed the door softly behind him. He moved carefully into the room, his gun held loosely by his side, ready to be snapped into action at the first sign of trouble. He walked further into the kitchen. Judging by the dust and sheets covering the furniture, the restoration work had yet to reach this room. Jared let his eyes get accustomed to the gloom, before continuing on. He was totally focused; this was where he came alive, here on a hunt Jared felt completely in control. The outside world faded away, taking with it the pain he carried with him constantly.
He took a few seconds to get his bearings. If he remembered the house plans correctly, then the servant’s staircase was through the door on the right. Jared moved cautiously, attuned for the slightest of disturbances, listening intently for the tell-tale sound of a child’s laughter. So far there was nothing. He reached the stairs and began to ascend silently. He raised his gun; he would be ready for Mary if she appeared.
As the truck hurtled over the uneven terrain, Jensen was beginning to wish that Earl was still driving like a Sunday afternoon driver, each bump and pot hole jolted his bruised body. He was starting to feel like Morgan had sent Eddie to spend a little quality time with him. He gritted his teeth as Earl bounced the truck over a ravine, sorry, yet another pot hole. Earl whooped in enjoyment, and Jensen couldn’t help but smile. Earl was really enjoying driving like a bat out of hell. Now all he wanted was to get there with at least one of his internal organs intact and not turned to mush, thanks to Earl’s Steve McQueen impersonation.
“Hey, Jensen, did ya know the Williamson place is haunted? If you’re lucky, then Eddie will run into Mary. He’ll be sorry then, trust me.” Earl said to Jensen.
“What do you mean the place is haunted, and who is Mary?” Jensen was starting to get a bad feeling about what Earl was going to tell him.
“Like I said, the place is a local legend. You know what it’s like. All the kids try to sneak in and spend the night in the creepy old haunted house. Hell, me and Bert did it when we were young.” Earl stopped speaking.
“Go on, Earl, anything happen? I bet you just scared yourself silly, right?” Jensen really needed to hear what happened.
Earl nodded, and Jensen saw the humour had gone, “Oh, we got scared alright, there were three of us that night. Me, Bert and our friend Will, we got in easy enough. There were security guards, but there weren’t exactly guarding Fort Knox, if ya know what I mean. We weren’t gonna do anything, just spend the night. Ya know, prove just how tough we were. We found a big bedroom and settled down. Me and Bert were sittin’ on the bed; Will went over to the dressing table. There was a jewellery box and he started going through it. He picked up a locket; I swear he would never have taken it. The room suddenly got cold. Jesus, it was like a freezer. We heard laughing, and it was like a little girl giggling. The next thing we knew there was this flicker, and a little girl was standing there. Before we knew it she went right for Will. Christ, Jensen, he’s nearly as big as Jared, and she threw him across the room like he was a rag doll. I’ve never been so damn frightened, before or since.” Earl stopped again.
“Come on, Earl, what happened to you and the others? Please, what did Mary do to you?” Jensen’s heart was racing.
Earl gripped the wheel tighter, “Ya know, kid, you’re the first person who’s ever asked what Mary did. Most other people just think we were three drunken kids. Like I said, Mary threw Will about like he was nothing. Me and Bert managed to grab him and we went for the stairs. And still Mary kept on coming. She pulled Will away from us, and threw him down the stairs, busted his leg so bad the poor bastard still walks with a limp. But it saved his life. He was still holding that damn locket but when he went down the stairs he dropped it. Mary was hovering over him, the minute he dropped it she vanished along with the locket. I’m tellin ya, kid, there really is something in that house. I just hope she leaves Jared alone, and goes for Eddie.” Earl gave him a shaky smile as he finished, he was waiting for Jensen to tell him he was crazy.
Jensen grabbed his seat belt, “Earl, can this old crate go any faster? It’s just that I don’t want to leave Jared alone with Casper, the unfriendly ghost even less than I want him to bump into Eddie” As far as Jensen was concerned, Earl and his driving could shake him to pieces. All he wanted to do was get to Jared, and warn him about the other item holding Mary in the house.
Jared continued his journey through the house, hyper aware of his surroundings he concentrated on watching for the flicker of a ghost, or sudden drop in temperature. So far there had been nothing and he was getting close to his goal of Ruth Williamson’s bedroom. He paused outside the door, and checked the hallway was clear. Jared reached out and turned the door knob, so far there had been nothing from the ghost. He hoped to get to the locket, before Mary realized she was in danger.
He stepped inside the room. He’d thought about laying a salt line by the door, but decided against it, going for speed rather than caution while the going was good. In a few long strides he stood at the jewellery box, quickly fetching the lighter from his pocket. Placing his sawn-off on the dressing table, he saw the locket and grabbed it, immediately feeling a drop in temperature. Jared began to wrestle with the delicate piece of jewellery. He cursed under his breath, “Goddamn it! Kane would have a field day, if he knew my giant paws were about to get my ass kicked six ways from Sunday. Why can’t I have girl’s hands like his?”
Jared took a steadying breath. His sister, Megan had a locket, she was always changing the picture inside of it. Jared would open it so he always knew who her latest crush was, and he could tease her about it. Using that memory, he stopped trying to prise the metal apart, and slid his thumbnail along the seam. Jared grinned in triumph when he felt the catch give, the locket sprang open, and he flicked open the lighter. He heard the sound of laughter, and then he saw a flicker out of the corner of his eye. He tensed, waiting for Mary to attack him. He couldn’t afford a mistake now.
Mary appeared right in front of him, her face contorted in anger. Jared dropped the locket on the floor; Mary flickered then lunged forward. Jared spun the wheel on the lighter, saw the welcome spark as it burst into life, and dropped the lighter on top of the open locket. He spun round to grab the sawn-off; turning back, he brought the weapon up, ready to fire. Mary was gone; he looked down and saw the hair inside the locket was burning. Jared let out the breath he’d been holding, “Ok, next time I’ll lay the salt line down like I said.” He relaxed and watched the flames die. Jared crouched down, picked up the lighter and snapped it shut.
He looked at the now-empty locket and felt a twinge of sadness for Mary. It wasn’t her fault she’d been trapped, lost and lonely. He just hoped that she was at peace now, and she was with her parents once more. Jared reached out and carefully touched the metal - it was still hot but it was cooling rapidly. He waited a few seconds and touched it again, it was just warm now. He picked it up and closed it. Jared polished the metal on his jeans, cleaning off the evidence of its brush with fire; he stood and returned it to the jewellery box. He looked round the room; for once it was nice to be able to leave a place relatively unscathed from a hunt. There were some scorch marks on the carpet, but apart from that the room was untouched. Jared walked out of the bedroom, closed the door once more. He decided to go down the main staircase so could make his way back to the kitchen and his exit, wanting to have a quick look around before he left.
Jared walked down the stairs; he admired the house and he could imagine how beautiful it must’ve been when the Williamsons lived there. When the house had been filled with joy, and not sadness. He held the gun loosely in his right hand. There was no need for vigilance, now Mary was gone. Halfway down the stairs the temperature dropped again, and he heard laughter once more. Before he had a chance to react, Jared felt a hard shove in the centre of his back. He couldn’t stop himself from falling forward; he bounced down the stairs, landing in a crumpled heap at the foot of the staircase.
Jared lay gasping for breath; he shook his head to clear it. What the fuck had just happened? Was there another spirit in here? Perhaps Ruth had remained with her daughter. It was then Jared noticed he was no longer holding his gun; panic welled up inside of him. He looked round frantically, and then he caught sight of it. It had slid into the parlour, and was sticking out from under a dust sheet, covering the furniture. Jared scrambled to his hands and knees and tried to move forward.
He was prevented from moving as he felt a cold sensation enclosing his ankle; it was as if it was being gripped by a small cold hands. Jared gasped at the cold and then winced as it burned. The grip tightened as he looked over his shoulder and his heart skipped a beat. Standing there was Mary, her face lit up in a smile. “Play with me!” The voice was light and playful then the smile turned cruel and Jared was dragged away from where his gun lay.
Outside, Earl’s truck came to a halt. Jensen breathed as deeply as he could, while he waited for his battered body to stop issuing its well-documented list of complaints from his most recent adventure. All his bruises seemed to have joined forces, and were making their displeasure at Earl’s driving known by throbbing and aching all at once, and his feet felt like they were on fire. He’d had them pressed so hard to the floor, he was surprised he hadn’t broken his ankles. He finally managed to prise his hands from the seat belt where they’d wrapped in a white knuckled grip. He turned to Earl and licked his lips. He was happy that his teeth were still intact as he’d been gritting them so hard.
“Thanks, Earl, you’re a life saver.” Jensen was just relieved to get there in one piece, to hell with the discomfort. The old guy drove like a pack of hell hounds were after him. Jensen was grateful but the back roads they’d driven hadn’t been all that well repaired. As they hurtled along Earl explained that the cops never came down this way, so you could drive pretty much how you wanted. When they’d gone over ninety, Jensen couldn’t help but wish for the sweet sound of a siren.
“Jensen, is that Jared’s truck over there? Listen, son, how about I come in with ya, and we go and drag his sorry ass out?” Earl reached for the release catch on his seat belt.
Jensen reached over and put his hand on Earl’s, “Thanks for the ride, Earl. I think we beat Eddie here. I can’t see his car. But if you walk in there with me, Jared will only get stubborn and tell you to take me back to the motel.” Jensen gave a helpless smile; he was praying that Earl would go back to the motel without a fight. He’d already faced Mary in his youth; he really didn’t want Earl to meet her again, especially if Jared had managed to destroy the hair in the locket. She would be even more dangerous now.
Earl sighed, “Son, I don’t know which one of you is the more stubborn, but I suppose you know Jared better than me. Jensen, here’s my number if you need me. I’ll come back and get you ok? You be careful, and if Eddie appears, call the damn cops, and get his ass hauled off to jail.” Earl gave Jensen a piece of paper.
Jensen took it, “Thanks for everything, Earl. I promise you that Jared will bring me back in one piece, or I’ll tell him you’ll set Mabel onto him. Wish me luck, man, I think I’m gonna need it.” He climbed out of the truck, closed the door and scanned the area; the place was empty, apart from Earl and Jared’s trucks. He had to get to the back door the same way Jared had gotten in. Jensen pushed away from the truck and started walking; he ignored his body’s protests and kept moving forward. He reached the corner of the house and turned back to wave at Earl, wanting to make sure that Earl was leaving. Jensen watched as the truck turned in the large driveway, and then Earl drove off.
Jensen leant against the wall, it was time to move. As he limped on, he used the wall to support him. He felt as if he was wading through cement, his legs were heavy and his feet burned as if he’d dipped them in acid. Somehow he knew he had to get to Jared soon, no matter what it cost him.
Jared hadn’t progressed very far from where he’d fallen earlier. He’d tried to make it to his shotgun, but every time he moved, Mary had grabbed him and dragged him backwards. Now his shoulders ached with the effort of trying to drag himself forward then trying to stop himself being hauled back again. He was trying to recoup his strength, last time he’d made it as far as the parlour door. Then he’d heard the familiar giggle and saw Mary skip past the open door; he managed to grab the door frame.
Jared felt the familiar biting cold as tiny hands took hold of his ankle; he jolted back as Mary pulled at him. He felt like a rope in a tug of war, as he desperately tried to hold onto the frame. He felt an ominous twinge in his left shoulder. He’d dislocated it during a hunt with Jim, now it was prone to popping out again at the worst time. He weighed his options - let Mary rip his arm out of its socket or let go and try to figure out how to reach the gun. Jared sighed and let go of the door frame - better to have two functioning arms, rather than one. Once again he was dragged backwards. Jared rolled onto his back and looked around; there was no sign of Mary. He slipped his hand in his pocket, and took hold of his phone. He brought it slowly up his body; he’d quickly discovered any sudden movements brought Mary back to ‘play’. She hadn’t hurt him, but she didn’t want him to get away either.
Jared raised the phone to dial then he stopped. Who the hell could he call? Kane was god knows where, and Jim was at least three hours out. He had to get himself out of this mess. At the moment Mary was just toying with him, but he knew she’d get bored and then things would turn ugly. Jared let his arm drop and his phone rested on his chest. He was out of options, he’d have to try and make a run for his truck and weapons. He knew that Mary wouldn’t like her new playmate trying to leave her.
Jensen had made it to the back door; he leant heavily against the wall and got his breath back. He felt a rush of triumph he made it this far. Jensen reached over and turned the door knob. He was relieved when it swung open quietly; the last thing he’d wanted was a loud creak. “Ok, break time over, let’s go find Jared.” Jensen pushed on, limped into the kitchen, and as his eyes adjusted to the shadows he looked round the kitchen. He’d just been about to make his way to the servant’s staircase, when he saw something that would come in useful.
Jensen limped slowly to the cooker and saw it was a wood burning stove. He was interested in the heavy iron poker that stood by the side of it. He picked it up and tested its reassuring weight in his hand. He turned towards the stairs, and then he heard a crash and a shout, “Jared?” Jensen turned towards the sound. It hadn’t come from upstairs, but from further inside the house. He willed himself to quicken his pace, ignoring the pain that swept through his body.
When Jared decided to make a run for it, he put his phone back into his pocket. He eased himself slowly back onto his front, fixing his eyes firmly on his objective. He’d run for the front door as it was closer and there were less obstacles in his way. Jared slowly got to his hands and knees and tensed like a sprinter in the starting blocks. He sprang forward, his powerful leg muscles pushing him forward at speed.
He never saw or heard Mary this time, but he felt her cold hands grab him; he was spun round and thrown against the hall wall. He’d barely made it a few feet from where he’d been lying. The shock of the impact caused him to cry out. Jared was face to face with Mary, once again her pretty little face twisted with anger, “Why did you burn my mama’s locket? She told me never to touch other people’s things. That was very naughty of you.” Mary pulled Jared forward slightly, and then slammed him back into the wall.
Jared winced as his back connected with the plaster. What the fuck was holding her here? Shit! He should’ve listened to Jensen about the research, now he was in real trouble. Jared tried to escape but Mary held him in place with ease, then he tried something else, “Mary, I was only trying to set you free. You want to be with your mama and papa, don’t you? They’ll be worried about you. Don’t you want to go and find them?” Jared spoke softly, hoping to distract the ghost. You couldn’t reason with them, but he might be able to escape. He breathed a sigh of relief as he felt Mary’s grip loosen.
“NO! I like it here! I don’t want to go! You can’t make me.” Mary shrieked at the startled hunter, shaking Jared as if he was no more than doll.
Jared closed his eyes, then he heard a noise - it was the sound of footsteps. No, he was imagining it. What if it was a security guard? He’d have to warn the man he was in danger. Jared opened his eyes, and was about to shout a warning when the words caught in his throat.
Coming towards him was Jensen, a poker in his hands, his face filled with purpose. Jared managed to recover from the shock; he had to distract Mary somehow. “I promise you, sweetie, your mama wants you to go to her. Why do you want to stay here all alone?” His words were soft, and he hoped, persuasive.
Mary tilted her head, and the smile she gave Jared made his blood run cold, “But I’m not alone any more, am I? I’ve got you to play with now.” She giggled again.
Jensen was close enough now. He nodded to Jared and swung the poker with all his strength. The iron cut through Mary, she screamed and vanished. Jared slumped to the floor, he glared up at Jensen, “What the fuck do you think you’re doing? And how did you get here?” Jared yelled out angrily.
Jensen gave a smirk, “I asked Earl for a lift, and by the looks of it I’m saving your ass. Be grateful that I’m very fond of that ass. ” With that he spun round, and swung the poker as Mary reappeared.
“If you’d listened to your messages, you’d know there is something else here apart from the locket holding Mary here.” Jensen panted, breathless from his efforts at keeping Mary away.
Jared got to his feet, “Thanks for the news, but I kinda guessed that after the second time she used me to mop the floor. So if it isn’t just the locket, what else is there? ”
Jensen pointed to the open door, “Look into the parlour. Can you see a doll in a glass case on the fireplace?” Jared turned to where Jensen had gestured, and saw the doll.
Jared blanched, “Crap! I should’ve realized. The damn doll is Mary. When they made those dolls they sometimes used locks of the child’s hair. Shit! Jensen, you were right. I should’ve gone over the research again. Come on, let’s get this done. And then we’re gonna have a long talk about you being here. Let’s get moving.” With that Jared slipped his arm round Jensen’s waist and took the poker from him.
Jensen looked up at Jared, who was steadfastly ignoring the quirked eyebrow. Jared had taken one look at him and the decision had been easy. Jensen was pale - beyond pale, his skin was white. The dark blue smudges beneath his eyes were back, and Jared could see him shaking from the effort it had taken to get him this far.
Jared decided to voice his opinion about Jensen’s appearance, “How the fuck did you make it this far, man? Look at you, you’re a wreck.” Jared continued to search the room for any sign of Mary as they walked slowly. Well he walked, and Jensen shuffled. Jensen gave a weak laugh.
“Hi there, pot, this is the kettle. You ain’t exactly looking your best either, Jay. Now as much as I’m enjoying our slow dance, do you think we should pick up the pace a little? Before Mary comes back, and wants to play tag again? Only it looks likes she plays rough.” Jensen croaked out, his voice as tired as the rest of him.
Jared grinned and sped up, “Damn, you’re bossy. Ok then, John McClain, this is what we’re gonna do. I’ll watch your back, and you get the doll and burn it, ok?” Jared thought about searching for the gun, but decided that speed was more important now. He could use the poker to fend Mary off, and he’d be able stay close to Jensen while he did it.
Jensen turned his head to Jared and smirked at him, “You better believe it, and I look better in a wife beater than Bruce does. But I’m not shaving my head for anyone, not even you, Sasquatch. I don’t care if you think bald is beautiful.” Jared laughed at that.
The temperature dropped, and both men tensed. Mary flickered in front of them, and Jared swung the poker, dispatching her. In an unspoken agreement they moved even faster. Jared felt Jensen leaning more of his weight against him, as he willed his injured body to greater speed. “Jay!” Jensen’s warning snapped Jared out of his reverie, and once more Mary was dealt with.
“Ok, here’s my lighter, we need to hurry. You gonna be ok, Jen?” As he spoke Jared had let go of him, his hand lingering on Jensen’s arm to ensure he could stand. When he was sure Jensen wasn’t going to collapse in a heap, he handed over his lighter.
“No problem, dude, and for my encore I’ll be performing the dance routine from Glee’s version of ‘Singing in the Rain’.” Jensen reached for the glass case.
Jared turned away and stood back to back with him on high alert. “Man, I’d have never had you down as a Gleek; you wait till I tell Kane.” Jared grunted as he took another swing as Mary reappeared to the side of him, trying to reach Jensen.
Jensen pulled the case towards him, “What, so he can mock me without mercy?” Jensen was struggling to open the case. His breath clouding the air in the now freezing room, he could scarcely feel his fingers due to the frigid temperature.
“No, he watches the show. He swears it’s because of Santana and Brittany. But I know he can sing all the songs. Perhaps you two could talk about your favourite episodes. How’s it going, Jensen? Can you hurry up a little? Mary’s getting a bit agitated.....DUCK!” Both men dropped to the floor as Mary hurled a heavy door stop at them.
Jared stood and helped Jensen to his feet. When Jared had called out, Jensen had dropped the glass case, and it had smashed on the marble fireplace. “Ok, that worked. I was having trouble opening the case, but I guess your shortcut worked better, thanks, Jay.” Jensen bent over and picked up the doll. As he stood a wave of dizziness washed over him. He shook his head to clear it, and tried to ignite the lighter. His hand shook from cold and fatigue; he stopped took a breath and tried once more. A flame burst into life, and Jensen moved it towards the doll.
While Jared had been protecting Jensen as he tried to burn the doll, he’d been forced to admit that they worked well together. But it just deepened the mystery surrounding the man at his back. Where the hell did he learn to do this? It was a mystery Jared was determined to get to the bottom of. From over his shoulder he heard a triumphant “Got it!” and Jared felt relief knowing that Jensen had succeeded. The relief was short lived, as once more Mary appeared before him. This time she didn’t rush at them or throw a heavy object. Instead she bent and grabbed the rug beneath their feet.
Before Jared could shout a warning Mary yanked hard on the rug, causing him to lose his balance. He crashed into Jensen, who stumbled forward, dropping the burning doll onto the fireplace. As Jared managed to regain his balance, Mary dodged past him. She grabbed hold of the hoodie, Jensen was wearing.
Jensen yelled out in shock, as Mary hauled him away. He didn’t have the strength to fight back against the enraged spirit; he looked over at Jared, imploring him to help. Jared was coming, the poker raised ready to strike. Jensen looked at the doll, burning on the fireplace, almost consumed by the flames. Had they missed something else? Then he saw that Mary was guttering uncontrollably now - this was her final act.
Mary threw back her head and screamed; it was raw and filled with pain and anger. As she finally burst into flames, she hurled Jensen with all her remaining strength right at the wall. Jared watched in horror, as Jensen struck the wall and slid down it. He lay unmoving; his body sprawled brokenly on the floor.
Jared ran to where Jensen lay, dropping the poker as he fell to his knees. He was shaking as he reached out to the figure on the floor. “Jensen.....god, Jensen...speak to me, please.” Jared begged, his vision blurring as tears filled his eyes. He placed his hand on Jensen’s chest in the familiar gesture of comfort, but he couldn’t feel Jensen’s chest moving. He’d failed to protect Jensen. After he’d come to help him, Jared had let him down. He crawled closer and knelt beside Jensen, it was just like his dream. Without thinking Jared pulled Jensen into his arms, and cradled him against his chest. His tears fell freely now, this was his fault. He should never have come here, Jensen was gone because of him. Jared buried his face in Jensen’s hair; he whispered softly, “I’m sorry.”