liptonrm_fic: (spn winchesters-marinarusalka)
liptonrm_fic ([personal profile] liptonrm_fic) wrote2010-07-19 02:08 pm
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Just Another Gin Joint - Part Three

Part Two


Part Three – As Time Goes By

Bela had not anticipated a stay, of any duration, in a small, gray cinder-block room in the armpit of America. Oh, she had spent her share of time detained by the authorities of any number of locales and countries, but there was something ignominious about her current predicament. It stung her professional pride to consider how quickly she had let that situation get away from her. She was better than that.

She stretched in the uncomfortable plastic chair and took a sip of water that had grudgingly been left for her. Apparently the comfort of a detainee was not as high a priority as getting medical care for an incapacitated companion. Common courtesy was something that law enforcement universally officials lacked. They simply refused to realize that honey, not bug spray, was what was required for entrepreneurs of her particular nature.

Time ticked slowly past. She stood and paced the confines of her jail. There were no obvious escape routes, the only door heavy and barred on the outside. There were no windows, no visible vents. There wasn’t even the ubiquitous mirrored window—just two identical chairs, a table, and a paper cup of water. It seemed these agents, at least, had learned the value of simplicity.

From the moment that she’d opened an innocuous email in one of her varied accounts she had known that this job would be trouble. The offered sum had not been close to an adequate compensation for her services, or the value of the item involved, but that hadn’t been enough to quell her curiosity. To be the one to find Samuel Colt’s mythical pistol, to discover the weapon that not even the most evangelical of hunters believed existed, that was worth more than money. It would make her legendary, would ensure her remembrance long after her time had finally run out.

She should have learned by now not to indulge such fantasies. Dreams of glory and freedom never achieved anything but a new kind of cage.

Bela willed herself to sit down and close her eyes. The morning would surely bring interrogation, threats and empty promises, and she would have to be at her very best. Yet another step traveled on her pathway to Hell.

~~~

The inside of Victor’s head pounded against his skull. After getting pounded on he’d spent most of the rest of the night filling out incident reports and calling Cal every other hour to make sure he was still among the living. A little discomfort was the price Victor paid for doing his job and taking care of his partner.

He pulled himself out of his car, the bright morning sunshine sending spikes through his retinas. He squinted and clutched at cardboard coffee carry-all in his hand like it was the beat-up stuffed dog he’d had as a kid. The world felt soft around him, lopsided in a way that didn’t fit with the night that had preceded it. He just couldn’t shake that look on Dean’s face, the betrayal, pain, and love when he looked at his brother.

Victor’s gut was taking a noisy second place to his head, screaming that there was more going on than he’d been told. The problem was, he didn’t know which side was putting him on. Someone was lying to him, and for the first time in his career he couldn’t tell who.

He pushed his way through the makeshift federal building’s glass doors. He blinked his sun-dazzled eyes and came within an inch of running straight into Masters and dumping coffee on both of their shirts.

Masters grinned up at him as his eyes finished adjusting, her mouth curved in the kind of dark amusement that he’d only ever seen on career criminals or the more dedicated of the Bureau’s behavioral analysts.

He wasn’t surprised that she’d escaped last night’s brawl without even a bruise to tell the tale.

“Good morning, Agent,” she greeted, her voice laughing at him. “I was just about to go talk to our guest. Care to join me?”

“In a bit,” Victor said, eyes darting to the main office door. “I need to check on a few things first.”

Her grin widened at his expense. “Of course.” She snaked past him and moved down the dim hallway, her palpable disdain gliding with her.

Victor grimaced and headed towards the office. He’d known a number of power mongers in his time, stone cold manipulators who’d climbed the ranks without regard for all of the people they were stepping on, but there was something different about Masters, something darker. Like she was a nightmare playing at being a real girl.

Victor stepped into the space he shared with Cal to find his partner bent nearly double behind his computer’s screen. Cal looked up, his dark bruises standing out against an unnatural pallor, making Victor’s grimace momentarily deepen. At least the blood was gone, scrubbed clean but not forgotten. In the space of a step Victor forced the biting concern to flow out of his muscles. He made himself grin, just a little, and extend the carryall toward Cal’s desk.

“You look like hell, Agent Reid,” Victor said as he came around the desk, pulling out and setting Reid’s coffee beside him.

Cal grinned, the smile tugging at the split in his upper lip. “Not all of us are as pretty as you, Agent Henricksen,” he quipped before taking a sip of his offering.

Warmth flooded through Victor’s chest, easing some of the concern that had lodged deep. If Cal was steady and with him then they’d manage to get through whatever was thrown their way. He tapped on the edge of the monitor.

“Are we all set up in the supply closet?” he asked.

“You betcha,” Cal drawled, a little of his native Minnesotan coming through. “And for some reason I forgot to mention to our well-connected friend that there’s a video recording system in our makeshift interrogation room. It must’ve slipped my mind.”

“I’ll just bet.” Victor couldn’t stop a droll grin from spreading. “Well, how about we take a little looksee at what’s going on in there. We wouldn’t want anyone to infringe on Ms. Talbot’s Constitutionally guaranteed rights.”

“Heaven forbid,” Cal muttered, and with a click of his finger he brought the video feed up sharp and crisp. Putting together a covert surveillance system had been Cal’s project during the long, boring months of nothing in North Platte. The tiny digital camera, which would’ve been outside of their pay grade before the April 19th attacks, was hidden in plain sight. Cal had deftly pried up the trim around the door and positioned the covert digital lens through an already-existing hole. It would take extremely close scrutiny to distinguish it from the other trim nails in the doorway and with the room’s spotty lighting it was damn near invisible.With the money being thrown left and right to combat domestic terrorism, even agents stuck in the butt crack of America could requisition the fanciest new toys.

The miracles of modern technology produced a sideways view of the players in their real-life crime drama. Masters leaned against the wall across from their guest, her eyes studying Talbot over the top of the folder she was flipping through. Talbot remained seated, her eyes lazily closed in an almost convincing show of inattention.

“Good morning,” Masters drawled, fingers still carding through the open file. “I hope you had a pleasant evening.”

“Indubitably.” Talbot smirked. “Though the accommodations were a bit sparse, and the service was atrocious.”

“We’ll have to do something about that.” Masters looked up, the feed sharp enough to catch the feral look that slipped through her professional mask, a predator going in for the kill. “Crowley sends his regards.”

Talbot flinched, her direct attention hitting Masters for the first time, nonchalance stripped away. She took a deep breath, trying to summon the dregs of her dignity. “Is that so?”

“It is indeed.” Masters pushed off from the wall and slid into the nearby seat. “It’s a dangerous game, playing one side against the other.” Masters leaned forward, her smile a knife. “We want the Colt. Now.”

“As you can see, I must have left it in my other bag.” Talbot spread her arms, all studied insouciance.

Masters slowly shook her head. “Did you really think that Sam Winchester could win you back your soul? Abby, Abby, Abby,” she tsked and leaned over, grabbing Talbot’s chin, commanding her focus. “You’re ours, both you and your gutter soul.”

Talbot gasped, her face creasing in pain. “Christo,” she hissed, voice hoarse.

Masters flinched backwards into her chair, the camera feed popping and fizzling. “Oh, honey, you didn’t want to do that.” She flicked her hand and Talbot’s chair slammed into the wall behind her.

“Now tell me,” Masters said as she stood, stalking towards Talbot, who sat immobile—a butterfly pinned to a board. “Where is the Colt?” The video blinked in and out, static underlining it all, as Talbot screamed.

The screen went black.

A moment of silence beat past Henricksen and Reid, Talbot’s shrieks echoing in their ears. Then, in unison, they surged away from the desk, their feet pounded down the empty hallway in frantic cadence. Victor pounded on the door, and wrenched at the doorknob, but the screams never stopped. He slammed his shoulder into the door, but nothing gave.

He stepped back and let Cal kick, his partner’s foot dead on target, the force enough to break down the shoddy frame, but there was no effect. Victor pulled his gun as Cal stepped back, drawing his own weapon and taking a flanking position. He fired two shots into the door; they rebounded, leaving the door unmarred.

“What the fuck?” Victor seethed. He added a kick of his own, not expecting any result and not receiving one. Talbot’s screams turned hoarse. Victor turned to Cal, whose eyes were wide in his bruise-mottled face. “You hold down the fort. I’m going to get some fucking answers.”

Cal nodded, and Victor spun away, gun still out. He stalked out of the building. He was done with being played a fool.

~~~

The first chance he got that morning, Dean escaped to the hardware store. The Roadhouse had been a perfect storm of pissiness, what with Jo griping under her breath as she started in on the clean-up and Sam practically tearing up the floorboards looking for his magical gun. Dean had done his best to stick around—he’d started the damn brawl, after all—but he hadn’t looked the gift horse in the mouth when Ellen ordered him to get his ass over to the Do-It Center and get some goddamn supplies.

He could’ve kissed Ellen, swept her up and laid one on her good and thorough, but he’d rather live to fight another day so he’d just thrown her his most grateful smile and squealed out of the parking lot, gravel kicking up behind him. Just slipping into his baby, feeling her rumble around him, helped calm the jangling in his stomach, quiet the anger and betrayal that screamed in his head during every second he spent around Sam. He hated it, hated himself, hated Sam for showing up and throwing the life that Dean had so painfully reconstructed for himself into chaos. The fucker did always have to be the center of attention.

And the worst part was the voice inside Dean’s head—the one that always sounded like Dad—that told him to watch out for his brother, make sure Sammy was okay, protect him no matter what. There were some things he just couldn’t kill, not matter how hard he tried.

It felt good to wander around the aisles full of power tools and planks, soldering guns and glue, to be indistinguishable from the contractors and DIY enthusiasts around him. He could focus on the difficult question of whether spackle would cover the holes kicked in the Roadhouse’s walls or if re-plastering was the way to go or if Ellen would appreciate a kickin’ neon “Zeppelin Rules” sign to hang over the bar. Let the mundane and the ridiculous silence the banshees that shrieked in his head.

He was in front of the chainsaws, deep in internal contemplation over how awesome it would be to decapitate zombies with the sleek model on display, when someone came up behind him, the shadow dark over his shoulder. He knew who it is without even turning around. He should’ve figured that their conversation would be picking up again sometime today.

“It’s a real shame about the Yankees crapping out to the Tigers. I thought for sure your boys were all set to make another run for the pennant,” Dean said, his finger running idly over the sharp teeth of the saw’s chain.

“What the fuck is going on in my town, Dean?” Victor’s voice growled behind him, violence more than a threat.

Dean snorted and turned around, eyebrows raised. “Are you sure you want to know that? Because yesterday you were all set to blame my family for every crime since Hoffa.”

Victor stepped closer. “I just saw a woman get thrown across a room without anyone touching her. I just saw bullets I shot with my own goddamn gun deflected like they were bouncing off of some kind of force field.” He took another step and grabbed Dean’s shoulder, hard. “What the fuck does it mean?”

“Well, when a man and a woman love each other very much—” Dean cut himself off with a smirk at the fury that shot through Victor, tightening his fist even harder around Dean’s arm. He couldn’t help it; after all of that bullshit yesterday he deserved his pound of flesh. “Oops, sorry, wrong speech.” He shrugged, pushing Victor’s hand off of him. “It could be a super-charged ghost, maybe a witch or a demon. Definitely something on the higher end of the oogie-boogie scary shit scale.”

“I don’t have time to deal with you screwing around,” Victor snarled.

“And I don’t have time to deal with you threatening my family, throwing your weight around like you’re the most terrifying thing on the planet.” Dean’s mouth twisted. “Trust me, buddy, I’ve seen things that would make you shit yourself with screaming nightmares; you don’t even rate on the freaky shit o’meter.”

Victor glared at him, eyes heavy on Dean’s face, like he was trying to rip the truth out of him with the power of his mind. Dean was tempted to walk away, write off what they might’ve had the way he’d done with so many other people. But he couldn’t just turn his back and ignore Victor’s demands, not with the threat that still loomed over Sam, over his Dad. Sometimes you had to suck it up and take one for the team.

“You’re not bullshitting me,” Victor said, anger and grudging acceptance warring together in his tone. “I’d say you were crazy but, hell, that’d mean I’m crazy too.” He clenched his eyes closed and breathed out. “Because I saw it, I saw it all, and Cal saw it too.” He opened his eyes and let them bore into Dean’s. “There’s no way that woman could’ve done what she did. It’s impossible.”

Dean nodded. “There’s a lot of weird stuff out there, man, and most of it would just as soon fuck you up as look at you.”

“That’s what your dad did, isn’t it? Why he raised you and your brother on the road, outside the system.” Dean could see Victor rearranging his entire worldview right there, putting all of his old perceptions together into new pathways. It was kind of amazing, and intimidating as hell. Not for the first time, Dean really wanted to work a case with the man.

“Well, yeah.” Dean shrugged. “Someone’s gotta hunt down all of those evil sons of bitches. I guess you could call it the family business.” He switched tacks, needing to deflect Victor away before he got too close. “So it was that new chick who was slinging people around.”

“Yeap.” Victor grimaced. “She got pissed off while she was interrogating that slick Brit. Flicked her wrist and Talbot went flying across the room, didn’t even lay a hand on her. The way she was screaming when Cal and I tried to get in the room—” He took a deep breath. “It was awful.”

“Was she asking about anything specific?” Dean asked, carefully. He could feel panic starting to bubble in his stomach. Damnit, Sam might’ve been right. There might be more to this than Dean thought.

“A Colt?” Victor cocked an eyebrow. “I’m going to assume she meant a gun and not some kind of horse.”

“Fuck. Sammy.” Dean swallowed. He pinned Victor with a look. “We have to go. Now.”

~~~

Jo was doing a damn fine job of trying Ellen’s last nerve. She’d whined when Ellen had rousted her out of bed and she’d whined when she’d finally gotten her ass downstairs and realized how much work there was to do, and she’d especially whined when Dean had taken off for the hardware store. Now she sulked and pushed a broom around the floor, not really cleaning, more spreading dust around in something that might resemble work—if she were a three-year-old, that is.

All of which wasn’t a fair picture of the girl, Ellen knew. It was hard, sometimes, to not see the girl that Jo had been, the apple of her daddy’s eye. There were times—more than Ellen liked to count—when she needed Bill: needed his calm and his faith, but most especially needed someone who could stand between mother and daughter, could help them both see truth behind the screaming and the parental discipline. She wanted to hold on tight and keep her little girl safe. She never wanted to let go.

A pan banged in the kitchen and Ellen winced. Sam Winchester had been there at the crack of dawn with some off-the-wall story about finding Samuel Colt’s gun. She still wasn’t certain what had possessed her to let the boy trounce around her place, digging into every dusty corner and unexamined nook, but he’d insisted and she hadn’t had it in her to refuse. She was becoming a friggin’ soft touch in her old age. He was currently in the kitchen, making sure that there weren’t any mysterious firearms hidden with the cutlery, as if Ellen didn’t know damn well where every single weapon was stowed in her own place.

She drew the line at anyone ripping up her floorboards. Dean had enough work to do, what with fixing everything that’d been busted in the brawl. He didn’t need to clean up anymore of his brother’s messes. She had a feeling he’d spent enough time in his life picking up what John and Sam had left behind.

The door banged open and she looked up, hand on the butt of the shotgun under the door. Dean barged in, Henricksen at his shoulder. It didn’t take a genius to know that bad shit was about to go down.

“Sam!” Dean bellowed. His eyes swept around the room, right arm tense and ready to grab for the gun he kept under his coat. He didn’t seem to be in Henricksen’s custody, even though the agent wouldn’t leave Dean’s side, his shoulders stiff with a new kind of tension, different from all of the types of frustration Ellen’d noticed on him in the past.

“What?” The door to the kitchen swung open on Sam’s voice, the word clipped and bordering on annoyed.

“You have to get out of here.” Dean demanded. “Now.”

“I’m a little busy right now, Dean.” Sam’s glance flicked from his brother to Henricksen. “Whatever it is, it can wait.”

Dean strode across the room until he was right up in Sam’s face. “No, it can’t. That other Fed was a demon. She’s got Bela and she’s going to be coming for you next.”

Real alarm flattened Sam’s face. He grabbed Dean’s shoulders. “Does she have it? Does she have the gun?”

“Not likely.” Henricksen’s rumble cut through the tension that sparked between the Winchesters. Dean pushed away from Sam’s grip and paced a few feet, his hand rubbing over his mouth, as Henricksen continued. “Talbot didn’t have anything on her when we took her into custody. We certainly didn’t confiscate some antique demon-killing pistol.”

Ellen’s eyes widened. Special Agent Victor Henricksen knew about demons. She shared a pole-axed look with Jo, who had taken position in the far corner where she had good coverage of the entire room. Her hand hovered by the false board that hid a couple things like a rifle and a jug of holy water. Never let it be said that her daughter was an idiot.

“So you have to get out of here,” Dean repeated to his brother.

“No, that means I have to find the Colt before the demon gets here.” The muscles in Sam’s jaw twitched while he and his brother shared another loaded gaze. Henricksen’s hand drifted to the butt of his firearm, though Ellen wasn’t sure who he was planning to use it on.

“Sam—” Dean demanded, frustrated. He turned away as Ash stumbled out of the hallway, glassy-eyed and pushing a hand through his bedraggled hair.

Ash opened his mouth to make some half-assed comment that was blown away by the explosion that tore the screen door off its hinges and sent gravel and dirt flying through the room. Ellen ducked her head and blinked grit out of her eyes while at the same time pulling her shotgun out from under the bar and whipping it into position on her shoulder. Her finger itched on the trigger as her eyes watered and the room came back into focus.

The blonde Fed stood framed in the doorway, her face shadowed by the bright sun that flowed in behind and around her. She pulled Bela Talbot into the room and threw her to the floor. Bela struggled to push herself up but collapsed under her own weight. Blood and dirt streaked her clothes and her face was pale under developing bruises. She looked worse than Ellen had ever seen her.

“Meg,” Sam rasped. He hadn’t moved from his position by the bar, his feet planted at shoulder-width—the immovable object. Dean and Henricksen had taken up flanking positions around him, their guns drawn and pointed at the woman before them. Pride welled in Ellen at the sight of Jo across the room, her own gun up and at the ready.

“Hiya, Sam,” Meg, the fed, the demon greeted in an almost genial tone. “Ah, ah, ah,” she said on the click of the hammer of Dean’s gun cocking back. “None of that now.” She flicked her wrist and all the guns in the room went flying. Ellen held on tight but her own was ripped out of her hands and joined the others as they hit the far wall and clattered to the floor.

Meg advanced further into the room. “You all know what I’m here for,” she stated, her eyes flicking from Sam to Henricksen and back again. “I only want the Colt. Nobody else needs to get hurt.”

“Lady, you can go fuck yourself,” Dean growled.

Meg gasped in over-played shock. “What manners. You’d think your mother would’ve raised you better than that. Oh, that’s right,” she said off of Dean’s snarl. “You didn’t have one.” Dean started forward and she flicked her wrist again and sent him tumbling to the side, landing on Jo.

A table beside the demon started to tremble. “None of that, now,” she remonstrated, shaking a finger at Sam. Sam shot backwards, flipping over the bar and landing in a heap behind it. “Enough with playtime.” She moved and Ellen flinched, expecting another salvo. Instead Meg slithered up to Ash with a smirking grin. She slid a hand through his hair and let it rest at the nape of his neck. “You’re going to go back and get that super-secret lockbox of yours and bring it out to me.” Her grip tightened around his neck. “Or things are going to get messy.” Her eyes flicked over to where Dean was helping Jo up off the floor. “Starting with your pretty little friend over there.”

“Sure thing,” Ash acquiesced, surprisingly nonchalant. Ellen would’ve thought that he was still high from the night before, except he winked at her as he turned away, calm as a cucumber.

Meg cut a look over to Sam, who had pulled himself up and was standing next to Ellen, his hands playing with the beer tap. “How do you deal with all of these chuckleheads?” Meg asked him in nearly genuine commiseration.

“I could ask the same of you and your associates. Except you’re all, you know, evil,” Sam replied, his eyes on Meg but his hands moving. He dropped a rosary into a nearby stein and carefully drowned the beads under a stream of beer. Henricksen had carefully maneuvered to the other corner during the chaos and now he and Dean stood shoulder to shoulder while Jo ducked behind them. Ellen knew her daughter well enough to know that she was prying open the board that hid their emergency weapon stash.

Meg’s eyes sparkled. “It’s all a matter of perspective.” She grinned at Sam. “You’ll come around eventually.”

“Bullshit,” Sam snarled, his face twisted though his hands were steady as he dropped the rosary into the almost-full stein. Meg rolled her eyes and looked away and Ellen took the opportunity to pull her handgun out from under the counter. That bitch wouldn’t know what hit her.

Ash shambled out of the hallway, a battered safe-box in hand. Meg grabbed it out of his grasp and quickly punched something into the keypad on its top. Everything stilled as she carefully opened it.

Meg’s eyes widened and after a heartbeat her face twisted in rage. In one motion she threw the box to the side where it clunked to the floor, empty, and grabbed Ash around the throat.

“What did you do with it?” He started to jerk his head and she shook him, hand tightening. “Don’t play dumb with me, redneck. Where the fuck is the Colt.”

“ ‘S gone,” Ash croaked. “Gave it to a guy last night. ‘S miles from here by now.”

Meg growled. “Where did you send it?”

“Don’t know,” Ash said around a groan. “That’s above my pay grade.”

“Fuck.” Meg slammed him into the wall again as Ellen pulled her gun and Sam started chanting quietly over his soon-to-be holy beer. Meg snarled and then, with an almost dismissive twist of her wrist, she snapped Ash’s neck. She let go and turned away. Ash’s body fell to the floor with a muffled thud.

“No!” Jo’s scream broke through Ellen’s shock. As Jo ran to her friend Ellen fired, bullet going right through that unholy bitch’s chest.

The demon didn’t even bother to take Ellen’s gun away. She just looked at Sam. “You have a day to track it back down or I’m coming for your little friends one by one. Find me that gun, Sam,” she commanded and with a gesture that blew out every light in the room she stalked out of the Roadhouse.

Ellen fell back against the counter, heart racing, as Jo wailed over Ash’s body and Dean started yelling at his brother. Tears streaked her cheeks and her gun fell out of nerveless fingers. She’d promised herself that she’d never let evil into her home, that her family wouldn’t get hurt, not on her watch. And she’d failed.


~~~

Part Four

Master Post