As Close as Family
Disclaimer: see chapter 1
Summary: see chapter 1
Warnings/Ratings: see chapter 1
Author's Note: As ever I thank Rae Artemis for her support and for putting up with having to help me draft and re-draft and my moans about it not being any good! For you, there will eventually be an ending! (Right now, you know what's holding the writing of it up!)
Author's Note 2:As ever I would appreciate any reviews. Thanks toanyone who does.
Chapter 12 – Dealing with the Aftermath
There were five girls who needed… wanted out, as well as Suzi, Leanne and Danielle. It made me realise just how much of a mission this had been and exactly how much Callan had known about what had gone on those sixteen years ago. He'd managed to get eight girls, who had hoped that those childhood nightmares had been laid to rest for good, eight girls, who would now live forever with the terrifying thought that any new friend might have come for them to drag them back to this.
There were three other girls, girls who didn't seem to want out, girls, whose stream of invective was steady. These girls weren't backing down, even with the death of the men and the demise of the demon, they weren't changing their opinions, these girls did not seem to be blindly following in the hope of protection if they did as asked, these girls were angry at the loss of the demon.
The grim reality we were faced with was that if we let these girls go, the police would be after us straight away for the murder of the men in the clearing. They could give clear descriptions, they knew enough about the girls we would be taking to make them easily traceable if we took any of them home. We tried to figure out a way to call the police in, claim that we had killed the now dead men to rescue the girls. The problem was we were going to be in trouble no matter what, because we had clearly gone in knowing what was happening, armed and ready for substantial amounts of trouble, the police were not going to accept that we had happened across this little ritual. Those girls were going to contradict anything we said but even worse, they would hunt out a way to continue what had been started here, they would find another group to join and the information they now had about the other eight girls would mean there would never be any safe haven for the innocents.
It was a dire fact that we would have to kill those girls as well, for there to be any safety for the eight we were saving. An unspoken agreement passed between us, Jordan and I would do it, Sam and Bobby would stay with the other girls. Jordan and I went over to the three girls, grabbed their tied hands and led them back to the altar where we tied them. It was the easiest thing to secure them to. Then we turned to help Bobby and Sam get the other girls away. We split them into three groups, Danielle and 2 others would go with Bobby, three would go with Jordan, Sam and I would take Suzi and Leanne. Bobby and Jordan's trucks were parked close together so they took off in one direction; the Impala was parked in the opposite direction so Sam and I took Suzi and Leanne down that way.
Sam took care of Leanne, helped her maintain her balance as the pain from her injured leg seemed to be intensifying, she gradually leant into him for support and I heard his gentle encouragement keeping her going.
I walked alongside Suzi. With the girls sorted and the responsibility I had placed on her gone, she had retreated back into a shell. It reminded me of when I first found her, except this time the shell was even harder and for the first time ever, she didn't seem to want to let me in. Each time I moved to put a hand out towards her, she stepped sideways away from me.
We were about five minutes away from the car, when I decided I had to put a stop to this, 'Sam, Leanne, keep going, we just need a couple of minutes. We'll catch you up.'
Sam looked my way, glanced at Suzi and nodded, 'Fine. Leanne and I will meet you at the car.'
'No,' Suzi's voice was horrified. 'No, Dean, please, no.'
I stepped in front of her, halting her progress. She tried to sidestep me, but I blocked her again and then put my arms out and stopped her movement. 'No, please…'
I could hear the anguish in her voice but knew I had to be strong, before Callan had actually won for good. 'Suzi, stop. Sit down.' I pushed her to the ground. As she slumped, folding in trying to make herself as small as possible, I sat beside her, keeping a hold.
'Sorry, I'm sorry…'
She fell silent, I waited. She didn't move her body at all and not another sound passed her lips. She was rigid. The only movement was her eyes which slid from one thing to another, never resting and doggedly avoiding me.
'This has to stop Suzi.'
The litany of apology began again, 'sorry, Dean, I'm sorry, I didn't mean…'
'Stop. No more. Look at me… properly.' I grasped her chin and turned her head to look at me. Her eyes slid away again. 'Suzi, look.' It was slow and reluctant but eventually her eyes reached mine. 'Now, don't look away, just listen and keep looking.'
I saw her flinch and swallow as if I was asking the impossible. 'You are Suzi, our Suzi Q. You have nothing to be sorry for. You are not going to apologise to me or to Sam for anything. You didn't do anything wrong.'
'My fault. You're hurt, Bobby's hurt, Danielle…'
'No. I'm not hurt; I've just got a couple of bruises from a fight, that's not hurt. Bobby's fine, just a bump, Sam's checked, and you didn't do it, the demon did it. Danielle you saved and those other girls. You saved them. Your strength, your observations, you making sure that we knew everything – you saved everyone getting hurt a lot worse. We needed to be here, we needed to sort this. You let us do that. If you weren't here, those girls would have been dead until it was your turn and they'd come for you then. You've done nothing wrong. Do you hear what I'm telling you?'
'Nothing wrong, Suzi.'
'I was stupid. It's how I ended up here.'
'Maybe, maybe not, but it doesn't make this your fault. As I see it the only thing you did wrong was to not stay in touch, with Max and Jason and with me, but that's youth not something that led to this. Sam did it too when he went to Stanford, left me behind, didn't stay in touch, he was lucky, nothing went wrong. It wasn't until I'd got back in touch that trouble hit him, maybe because I'd got back in touch but I was there, I could help. You need to remember that you have people who care and you don't need to apologise for this.'
'No, stop no more. You don't say those words, not about this. I don't want to hear them again. This is not you.' I watched as the tears began to fall and drew her in to my embrace. She shuddered and remained tense. I held tighter and finally, finally felt the tension ease a fraction.
'Dean,' it's barely more than a whisper, 'Dean, I want to go home.' I feel relief wash over me; two achievements, no sorry and a desire to be back where she belongs, where she can be safer 'Dean, I want to go home but…'
'But what?' My voice was quiet barely louder than hers.
'I'm sorr…' I pressed my finger to her lips to stop the apology. Her eyes were sad.
'No apologies, just tell me.'
'I want to go home but what if they'd don't want me anymore?'
'Trust me, they will want you.'
'What if they can't forgive me? What if I'm evil now? What if they're going to keep coming after me? What if…?' I could hear the edge of panic to her voice, it cut into me, it shouldn't have been like this for her, she has always deserved better.
'Okay, one at a time. First they will forgive you, they'll forgive you for trying out College because there was nothing to forgive in that, they were proud of you. They'll want you to try again, if that's what you want. They will forgive you for not keeping in touch because you've come back to them and next time, you won't make that mistake because you know you want your family. The second question, you are not evil. You never have been, that was half the point. No point in sacrificing something evil, go for something pure and light, something like you, someone good. The third question, if they keep coming after you, I don't know if they will, maybe you've just been really unlucky so far and it will never happen again. But what you can do is stay in touch, with me, Sam, Max and Jason, Leanne and the others, keep one another safe, talk to one another. You know some of what to look out for, just be cautious and remember to ask for help if you have any doubts.'
'I didn't want any of this to happen, Dean.' It is a simple statement of fact, filled with such heartbreak.
'No, I know. I wish it hadn't but we've put it right now.'
'I'm s…' she stops herself.
'Remember, plenty of people care about you, love you, want you to be well and safe.'
'Dean, I don't want them to see me, not like this.'
'Suzi, it's okay.'
'Sure, we won't rush the journey to take you home, give some of these a chance to heal,' I indicate the bruises, 'but I am going to take you home. It's time.'
She nodded. I stood up and brought her up and we began the walk to join the others at the car, I didn't let go of her the whole way. She didn't try to pull away. When we reached the car, I left her with Sam and Leanne and made the excuse that I needed to check over the clearing, make sure we hadn't left anything that could lead back to us. Sam knew but said nothing.
I walked back up, dreading it. Knowing it was necessary wasn't going to make it any easier, they were girls and this was cold-blood, not the heat of the hunt or to save someone's life.
I got there at the same time as Jordan, and saw in his face the same feelings I was having. We nodded and drew guns as we moved to the altar, only to be stunned by what we saw.
The girls were no longer tied to the altar; they were also no longer moving, no longer alive. It didn't take long to piece together what had happened. In moving them to the altar, we had put them near to where Luke had fallen; somehow they had managed to reach his knife and had cut their ties. The three of them had then in turns slashed their wrists with the knife, joining the rest of their group in death.
'Can't say I'm sorry,' said Jordan. I looked up at him in surprise and saw relief in his eyes, relief that he and I weren't going to have to do it. 'Helps us out some too I think.'
'What do you mean?'
'Your gun traceable?' I shook my head. 'Good, nor's mine. Everyone here has died either by your gun, mine or that knife.' He pointed at Luke's knife, where it is held in the hand of one of the dead girls. I nodded; I'd got no idea what to say. 'So we clean our prints, leave the guns and it looks like this was a merry little band who did themselves in, some weird suicide pact or maybe the girls were into some weird shit, no outsiders needed to blame.' It was all I could do to nod again, as the relief that I saw in his face washed over me. 'We should all head out of town straight away. Meet up where we agreed. One night there and then we separate.' I nod. 'Dean. You and Sam, you're young still, but that plan was good, it worked. I know your Dad well enough to know the two of you probably didn't get the praise part of parenting so much. Remember this, have faith. We've been lucky, there should have been no easy way out of this,' he indicated the dead girls, 'Lucky. But the plan was sound, it worked, that was down to you two. Now we should go' and with that he gave me a push back towards the path to the Impala.
I just kept going, I hadn't said a thing. He'd taken the gun and I'd walked, trusting him to clean the prints and leave the guns.
I got back to the car, Sam was already in the driver's seat and the girls were in the back. I climbed in, 'Go, Sam' and leant down to the glove compartment, I retrieved my sunglasses, put them on and leant back. Sam knew where we were heading; he didn't need me for the moment.