Word count: 4500
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:Excessive abuse of Jensen (sorry)
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* Now Beta'd by the wonderfulbigj52
If you’d told Jared Tristan Padalecki three years ago that he’d be hunting a werewolf through the Arizona desert, the first thing he would have done is laugh, and the second thing would have been to call the nice gentlemen with the butterfly nets. But yet here he stood in a landscape, leached of its colour. He felt as if he’d stepped into a negative, all colour stripped away, just black and silver-white from the light of the full moon. Jim had sent him on this hunt. Jared hated werewolf hunts but he had to get used to them, now that he was hunting full time.
Jared circled slowly and scanned the area, but could only make out patches of darker shadows in the uniform velvety darkness. So he did the only thing he could, he shut his eyes, relying on his other senses, and continued to make a slow circle, his gun held out in front of him, braced, ready to fire. Jared tilted his head and froze, that was it! The faintest of rustling came through the scrub. Jared drew in a steadying breath, rolled his head and shoulders and waited. He didn’t have to wait long, a figure came crashing into the clearing where he stood.
It was a naked man. Well, if you could call the snarling, hunched figure a man. His hands were curled into claws and, in the light of the moon, fangs were clearly visible. If those silver eyes held any humanity it was long gone as the beast had complete control.
“Come on, come you bastard, let’s get this done.” Jared whispered as his heart pounded, a bitter taste flooding his mouth as adrenaline pumped through his body, his senses sharpening; his flight or fight instincts poised on a knife edge. The werewolf sniffed the air, and its inhumanly-sharp eyes came to rest on Jared. For a split second their eyes met - the hunter and the hunted. Jared was no longer sure which was which.
The werewolf threw back its head and gave a howl, the hair on Jared’s arms stood up and goose bumps raised involuntary on his skin. It leapt forward, intent on its victim, hearing the warm, beating heart it craved, never noticing the sound of the hammer cocking on the silver loaded 45, gripped tight in Jared’s hands.
There was a scream of pain, and the werewolf dragged itself upright, coming directly for Jared. Jared cursed. He’d gotten too close; he should have put another bullet into the bastard when he’d gone down. Man and monster crashed to the floor knocking the gun free from his grip.
The werewolf clawed and strained, its jaws bearing down towards Jared’s unprotected throat. In desperation Jared grabbed the creature by the throat and pushed up with all his might. At the same time he kneed the creature in the gut, hearing the scream of pain and feeling the werewolf stumble, giving him precious seconds and allowing Jared to try to reach the silver knife tucked into his boot.
The body of the beast went limp, and before it could become a dead weight Jared flipped them over so he was kneeling over what was now a dying man. Eyes had returned to their normal colour and they reminded Jared so much of Chad’s that it felt like a physical blow. The man was gasping for air, clinging weakly to Jared’s wrist, looking puzzled as to how he had gotten like this. Jared did the only thing he could.
“It’s okay man, help is on its way. You just hang in there. “ He offered a slow smile at the grateful look in the man’s eyes as the light faded from them.
In the silence that followed, he drew in a deep breath and tried his hardest not to break down. He hated these kinds of jobs, simply because you weren’t left with the monster at the end but the man. Jared reached over and gently closed the blue eyes, unable to take seeing them anymore. He staggered to his feet; they were in the middle of nowhere which suited his purposes just fine. He walked over to where he’d hidden his duffle bag, unzipping it to reach in and retrieve the canister of salt. Then he picked up the can of gas which was stored alongside it. Jared returned to the body of the man liberally covering it with salt and then using some of the surrounding scrub and bushes, making a pyre before dousing it with the gas. He laid a trail away from the pyre so he didn’t lose his eyebrows like the first time he’d done this: Jared was nothing if not a quick learner.
He stared unseeing into the flames and his thoughts turned to the man’s family. They would never know what had happened to their son. Was it better to leave them with the hope that one day he would return to them? Or would it be kinder for them to find out the nature of his death? But how do you tell someone that their loved one has become a monster? Even one who could not help what they did? Jared was smart enough to know there was no right answer here and that this was way beyond his pay grade. He watched the flames as they started to die down. He sighed and bent down to pick up his shovel. He covered the burnt ground over; it wasn’t perfect but it would give him enough time to get clear of the area.
He returned to his motel room, exhausted, hurting. He just wanted to sleep but he had things to do first. He got out of his truck and went into his room, his eyes sweeping the interior. The salt lines were unbroken, and none of his little traps were disturbed so the room was clean. He relaxed a little as he closed the door, leaning against it momentarily and then pushing himself off and heading to the bathroom. He stripped off his clothes, wrinkling his nose at the smell of fire and sweat. He quickly shoved them into a plastic bag kept especially for this eventuality. With a critical eye he regarded his shirts, deciding they were both write-offs. When the werewolf had scratched him it had torn through his clothes with startling efficiency. Jared looked at the matching marks on his arm. There were three gashes running down it, two were shallow and had stooped bleeding, but the third was deeper and would need some stitches. His head dropped forward. Shit! He hated having to stitch himself up, but he couldn’t very well go to the clinic as they were now down one doctor.
Sighing, Jared climbed into the shower. He got the water as hot as he could stand and quickly washed himself down. The soap stung the cuts but he bit his lip and pushed through the discomfort, knowing the pain was only going to get a hell of a lot worse before the night was through.
After the shower Jared sat at the table in just his sweat pants, carefully and neatly laying out in front of him everything he needed. He did a mental checklist: a bottle of holy water, antiseptic, needle, cotton and bandages. Thank fuck it’s my left arm. Stitches were a bitch left handed. It couldn’t be put off any longer. He grabbed the holy water and poured it over the cuts; it was probably overkill but better safe than sorry. He hesitated briefly and drew in a deep breath. Now came the Peroxide and teeth gritted he poured the liquid over his arm. It hissed and bubbled, dripping onto the towel he was resting on, his left hand gripping the edge of the table with white-knuckle intensity. “Fuck, fuck, fuck... good to see your vocab is still sharp, Padalecki. Fuck.” Jared gritted out loud to himself, anything to stop screaming. When the dots swimming in front of his eyes finally vanished, Jared picked up the needle. Breathing slow and steady Jared began to apply the stitches to his arm. It took three in all, not too bad, but he could’ve done without that pain. The rest of his muscles were sending protests as they stiffened up and he knew he would pay for the fight later.
Finally he wrapped a bandage round his arm tying it off using his teeth, “God, Chad... if you could see me now you’d pitch a freakin’ fit, no more designer shirts or two-hundred-dollar haircuts... shit, you’d walk right past me.” He rubbed tiredly at his eyes, feeling tears prick at the back of them...I am not crying... they were watering because he was so fucking exhausted, that was all. He hauled himself to his feet and staggered the few steps to the hard bed. Sighing, he relaxed as best he could and waited for sleep.
As usual when the dream took hold Jared was pinned whimpering to the bed as he relived the night his life was ripped apart.
Finally Jared ran out of rooms to hide in and there ‘he’ stood waiting, Chad. His naked body was covered with a parody of war paint, whirls and smears of scarlet. Before Jared could turn and run Chad was on him, ripping at his clothes with unusual strength, all the while whispering obscene desires. Finally Jared was naked and helpless under the sneering Chad, unable to push back against his boyfriend. Jared screamed when Chad penetrated him, hearing him crowing in delight at Jared’s broken pleas, forcing him to stare into his eyes. Those blue eyes were empty, devoid of humanity, as black as night. Chad sped toward completion, his hands wrapped round Jared’s throat, slowly and cruelly squeezing the life from him. Jared’s weak struggles ceased and he knew he was waiting for death but the merciful release never came, the pain just went on and on. It only stopped when Chad screamed to the heavens and a column of obsidian smoke erupted from his mouth. Chad was falling, begging Jared to help him with his dying breath.
Jared shot bolt upright in bed, his heart hammering in his chest and a sob caught in his throat. For a split second Jared couldn’t remember where he was and it would have been so easy to imagine Chad was still warm and safe... lying beside him. Then reality crashed into him and he knew he was alone in a crappy no-tell Motel room and, shit, he was hurting.
Jared moaned in grief and exhaustion: he knew there was no way he was getting to sleep again that night and so he gave up and climbed out of bed. He made himself a cup of coffee and sat at the table opening his lap top, intending to look for his next hunt. Now he was fully awake the real details of that night would continue to batter at him. Jared knew it was useless to fight them so he just let them flow, every single moment scarred into his memory.
He’d walked into the house he shared with his partner, Chad and their friend, Sophia. It was in darkness, so when Chad appeared covered in blood turned black by the moon, it took Jared several seconds to realize what he was seeing and by then it was too late.
Chad had lunged at Jared, backhanding him hard across the face. Jared staggered in shock, hitting the light switch as he struck the wall. The scene it revealed was straight out of a horror movie. Blood was everywhere and Chad was covered in it, grinning evilly. Before Jared could speak Chad had rushed him, grabbing him by the shirt and slamming him into the wall, before hurling him across the room. As Jared hit the opposite wall he felt something cracking; fire shot through his ribs and suddenly he couldn’t breathe.
Chad was lovingly stroking his cock as it became erect; a sob burst from Jared’s throat. Chad straddled his hips, and Jared lunged forward, frantically trying to dislodge Chad. He deflected the weak move and Jared felt the bones in his wrist grind together before they were broken.
Jared screamed in pain, his vision greying out... he couldn’t breathe... Chad reached for his belt “Way too many clothes, gorgeous. Let’s get you naked. It’s so much more fun.” As the hand undid his belt Jared lifted his eyes to the man he loved. Instead of the blue he adored, Jared was staring into eyes as black as pitch. In his nightmares Chad would rape him, push him to limits of agony Jared could only imagine, but in reality, it had ended before it could begin. In reality, very suddenly Chad’s face contorted with pain, his head snapped back and he screamed... oh dear god how he screamed. Black oily smoke poured from his mouth, and ‘his’ Chad looked into Jared’s eyes, his own eyes a startling blue, confused in pain and so very frightened... “Jay...please....” It was the last thing he had ever said as he slumped forward across Jared. It was then Jared had seen Sophia; she had somehow crawled across the floor and plunged a knife into Chad.
Hours of questions followed. Was Chad ever violent? Were he and Sophia having an affair? Was Jared jealous of them? When Jared answered repeatedly in the negative, the police attitude altered. It was no longer a threesome where one partner had turned psycho. Instead they admitted to Jared that with the level of violence and force displayed by Chad during the blitz attack, he’d either suffered a psychotic episode or he was on drugs like PCP.
Jared thought about mentioning the black eyes but he knew the minute he told anyone that, he’d be looked at with sympathy before being carted off to a nice nursing home were there would be softly-spoken conversations and plenty of drugs. No, Jared knew what he’d seen and heard; that smoke and Chad’s expression when he realized what he was doing haunted him.
The next months passed in a blur. At the funeral people were nice but they never quite met his eyes. After all, how do you say “sorry for your loss” when all they thought was ‘how could you not know he was a monster? That was what hurt the most. The real Chad was forgotten; the funny, sexy and amazing man he loved had been obliterated by one terrible night.
Jared became obsessed. He withdrew from family and friends, and began to research what he’d seen that night. Jared was a natural researcher. After all, as a junior partner in a law firm he was pretty damn good at hitting the books. Finally it was on the internet, of all places, he found his first real clues. Type in the phrase “Black Eyes” and it was amazing what hits you got. Wading through frightening amounts of crap, Jared found certain sites that provided answers, pointing him towards books and ancient texts and at last, a name for what happened...Demon.
Jared applied himself with all the meticulous care he took with briefs and it felt as if he’d fallen through the rabbit hole. A new world beckoned, and more importantly theses bastards could be hunted and if not killed, sent back to hell.
From that moment Jared had one purpose in life. When he started self-defence classes and learned to shoot, grief counsellors told family and friends it was Jared’s method of coping with the attack. He was ensuring he would never be a victim again. Then came the martial arts and endless hours at the gym. Finally there was his research; his mom had found the bedroom he’d shared with Chad covered in works of art depicting demons, reports of possessions and even hauntings. Jared had eventually calmed his mom down by saying he was trying to understand Chad’s motives. He knew she didn’t believe him but he was just buying time for his next move.
So he’d taken down all his research, spent time with more counsellors, learning to make the right noises, cry when expected, but all the while his heart grew colder and he become less inclined to mix with others. He was a man with a mission; there was no time or need for human connections.
The final step towards his new life was liquidating his assets. The house was sold and the proceeds split between Sophia’s parents, Chad’s parents and him. In addition there was Chad’s life insurance which would set him up for a long time or for life if he was careful. Then he’d informed family he was taking a Sabbatical and would keep in contact with them. With hardly a backward glance he’d left everything he knew and embarked on the path which would lead to the Motel where he now sat.
Jared had skirted the world of hunting for nearly a year before he felt confident enough to take on his first hunt. It very nearly proved to be his last.
That first hunt had been something of a disaster when he’d stumbled onto a demonic possession, and attempted to exorcise the demon. Unfortunately for Jared it was pretty fucking powerful as he realised when he found himself crashing through the window and landing on the lawn by a pair of battered boots.
“Well, are ya done yet, ya fuckin idjit?” The man who spoke was what the dictionary would have used as a picture for the definition of grizzled. He was wearing clothes that had seen better days. He hauled Jared to his feet, “Now follow me, do as you’re told and we may just save the poor bastard in there.” So Jared met the man who saved his life and made him see the distinction between revenge and hunting, that his obsession would get him killed and he was no good to Chad dead..
The man’s name was Jim Beaver. Even now Jared knew almost next to nothing about him, but he knew plenty about Jared. He knew what had happened that night and he’d had suspicions about what was behind it. Jim tried to dissuade Jared from his chosen path, but after several more near misses Jim dragged him back to his home to patch him up, refusing to let him leave until in his words “I don’t have to wipe your goddamn ass no more, boy. Just ‘cos you’re built like the fucking Terminator don’t make ya Arnie. So cut the macho bullshit and you just might make a semi-decent hunter.”
From then Jim had trained Jared, sharpened his research skills and spent time laughing at some of his weapon choices, “Seriously, a ‘38’? Why don’t ya take a pea shooter?” Jim also introduced Jared to a few other hunters; the ones he didn’t think were idiots and liable to get Jared killed.
When Jared took on his first proper solo hunt and returned in one piece, Jim had patted him on the shoulder “Damn! My baby boy’s all grown up, I’m tearing up here.” Jared had laughed and hugged Jim, gripping him tightly until Jim threatened to disembowel him if he didn’t put him down right now.
In fact, it had been Jim who’d sent Jared on this hunt. Jared decided to ring him to tell him the job was done and he’d be heading out. Maybe there was something else he could look into. Jared didn’t like too much down time; it gave him time to think and that never ended well.
“Hey there, old man, so you’ve finally developed psychic abilities then? I was just thinking about calling you.”
“Yeah man, sad to say all I could do was to get him to roll over and play dead.” Jared continued, his voice taking on a sober tone.
“I know, kid. I’m sorry but you were closest. Listen, I hate to do this but I got another favour to ask ya.”
“I’m sure he’ll be gutted.” Came the dry reply, “Look, it seems we got a possession in a small town over in Texas. Can you go and have a look?”
“Sure thing, Jim. You know that’s not a problem. Anyhow, how come you’re asking me? I thought Kane was in Texas chasing down a vengeful spirit?” Jared heard Jim start to laugh...
“Well, that could be a bit of a problem due to, shall we say, legal complications.”
Jared grinned to himself; he knew the kind of legal problems Chris could get into. “So was it the Sherriff’s wife or daughter then?
“From what I heard it was both of ‘em but Kane swears he thought they were sisters.” Both men started to laugh at that. Christian Kane was one of the hunters Jim trusted - the only problem was that Kane was a ‘chick magnet’ and he never fought too hard to repel them. So it meant Jared had been forced to help him out of a couple of towns when he’d been a little too friendly with the natives.
“Listen, Jay. Something feels a little off with this one, so unless the bastard goes on the rampage just recon to start. I’m on my way but I’m a couple of days out.”
“Ah, come on, Jim. You know I don’t need baby-sitting. I’m a big boy now. Anyhow, what’s got you so spooked? I know there’s something you’re not telling me.” Jared went quiet, for a second he thought Jim had hung up. Finally he heard him draw in a deep breath.
“Okay, from what I hear they got the demon locked up under a church and are praying at it.”
Jared’s jaw dropped at that “That’s fucking impossible, man. Even if you managed to capture it, it’d jump into some other poor bastard the first chance it got, especially if it’s locked in a church. Just how long has it been there?”
“From the intel I got, about a month. I know before ya say it, it stinks. So can you get over there? Because something ain’t sitting right. I got the call from an old friend and he only calls when it’s serious.” Jim went silent once more and Jared knew what he had to do.
“Right, Jim. You tell me where to go and who I’ve got to track down and I’ll set up and wait for you.”
“Thanks, Jay. Look, you be careful and I’ll be with you as soon as possible. Right? The town is Richardson and I got a name for the guy possessed. His name is Jensen Ross Ackles.”