Paper Tiger

Prologue for To The Victor Goes the Spoils

By: Ridley

Beta: Tidia

Timelines: Series-Post Season Two (possible spoilers up to that point)

Brotherhood AU- After Temporary Remedy, however the flashback which is the majority of this story falls directly after Growing Pains and before Toy Soldiers.

Disclaimer: Nothing Supernatural belongs to me sadly. If it did I'd leave things along.

Brotherhood AU: If you're feeling a little clueless about this twisty-turny universe chechout The Hunters Tomb (thehunterstomb(dot)com) for a list of stories in order, back ground and pictures on all characters, and awesome videos and artwork by Tara, Tidia, & Sensue.

Author's Note: I'm back! And I come bearing gifts! This story which is basically a prologue has taken on a life of its own. Sigh. Hopefully it will tell the story I hope it does. All comments are so welcome and appreciated. I've been holding off on posting until I get the majority of it finished, per my awesome Beta's directive. But I found myself prolonging and prolonging and now I've become a bit nervous. In fact, I've been fearful of putting it up-kind of feels like stage fright. But I am going to go ahead and do it-jump right in. See…I'm stalling even in the intro.

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Paper Tiger: n. a person or thing, especially an organization that appears to be very strong and powerful but is in fact weak and ineffectual

New York

June 2007

Dr. Mackland Ames was exhausted. He had just returned on a midnight flight from Boston, and was ready for nothing more than a stiff drink and the recap of the Yankees game he had missed while gone on yet another impromptu trip.

Heading up the current Triad without any back-up was beginning to take a toll, not only on his work, but his personal life. He hadn't spent a full week in New York in more than a month. Peace and quiet were beckoning him.

The strong aroma of cigar smoke as he opened the door to his apartment told him he wasn't about to find tranquility. The main lights of his home were off, but a faint glow from the living room caught his attention.

Someone was there.

Caleb crossed his mind. However, his son didn't smoke and was currently in Las Vegas with the Winchesters celebrating their victory over the yellow-eyed demon. He removed the gun from his briefcase. There was no luxury of taking chances. Battle lines had been drawn; shots fired from all sides. Ames sighed. He once craved living the cloak and dagger lifestyle, but the reality was disagreeable.

Mackland quietly sat his bags at the door, holding his weapon at the ready. All he really needed now was a flower-printed Hawaiian shirt and a Ferrari. Dean would have been pleased.

Ames peered around the corner, allowing him a view of the living room and the entrance to the hallway. A tall figure was standing in front of the large glass windows overlooking the Manhattan skyline. Mackland raised his gun, aiming at the back of the intruder's head.

"You should be careful where you point that thing, Mackland. Someone could get hurt." The man's voice was deep and held an amused timbre that grated on Ames's nerves.

"Griffin."

The black man turned, a smile lighting his refined features. "I hope you don't mind. I helped myself to some brandy." He held up the crystal tumbler. "You have exquisite taste." Griffin nodded to the surroundings. "In many things."

It had been years since Mackland had seen the man in person. Almost eighteen to be exact, but Griffin Porter hadn't changed much. His dark hair had turned mostly silver as had his slight beard, but the dark eyes still held a smug air of intelligence and challenge.

Mackland lowered his gun slightly. "What the hell are you doing here?"

"I was in the city." Griffin gestured towards the window. "I recalled you lived here and thought I might drop in for a short visit, especially in light of recent occurrences."

Ames shook his head. "You were in the neighborhood?"

"So to speak." Griffin smiled. "How are you?"

"In light of recent occurrences, I'm doing well."

Porter sighed heavily, staring into the glass of amber liquid. "We've had several losses as of late."

"Jim died a year ago."

Griffin looked up and his smile faltered. "So he did. Life is not as interesting without The Guardian. I miss my old friend. I'm sure you understand having lost John too."

Mackland ignored the obvious barb about John's death. Griffin's audacity to compare the two relationships was ballsy and typical. Mackland had lost a brother. Griffin Porter had no idea what that was like. "You mean you're able to go about your treachery much more freely?"

"Treachery?" Porter moved to the intricate mantle, the centerpiece of the Ames home. He picked up a framed photo and studied it. "I figured you to have more important matters than keeping up with my comings and goings."

"Jim made it a point to keep his eyes on any potential trouble for The Brotherhood."

"I am no threat to The Brotherhood. On the contrary. Everything I do is for the sake and preservation of The Brotherhood."

"Then you didn't send Ian Hastings and Silas Fox to attack my son and the Winchesters this past spring?"

Griffin lifted the picture he was holding. "They've grown into men since the last time I saw them," he replied, not answering the doctor's question. "I hear they are quite formidable."

Mackland strode forward and took the frame from the other hunter. It was of the boys and Jim taken at the farm not long after Sam graduated high school. One of the last times they were all together before Sam left for Stanford, and John went off on his lone crusade. "They're no longer boys or easy targets." He held Griffin's gaze. "I'm sure that's disappointing for the schoolyard bully."

"Can't we let bygones be bygones, Mackland? Perhaps find a way to work together? After all a war has already begun with all the extra demons running amuck."

"You kidnapped and tortured my son and my best friend's children. They nearly died on that mountain." Ames stepped closer to the older man. "And you have the nerve to come here and ask for some type of forgiveness? You were lucky to keep your life."

"I did what I had to do."

"You committed mutiny and you didn't care who you hurt to get what you wanted. Jim only let you live because you inadvertently saved the boys' lives."

"You know nothing of that time or what I was trying to accomplish!" Griffin's face twisted in anger. "You could never understand the ramifications of what I was attempting to do. Even now we are all feeling the after effect of my failure, of James's near-sightedness. If he would have only named me The Scholar…"

Mackland cut him off, not wanting to here the petty excuse. "You're right. I could never understand how or why you would do such a thing." The man had been a trusted friend to Jim. That all changed one chilling week in December 1989. Mackland would never forget the fateful phone call. Perhaps Griffin was correct when he said the past was alive in the present. The fear of those days was a bitter memory-one that would never allow him to trust anything Griffin Porter said or did.

New York

December 1989

"Dr. Ames?" Naomi stuck her head in the door of Mackland Ames's office. "I'm sorry to interrupt, but you have an urgent phone call on line two."

The doctor glanced at the two detectives and the distraught parents they had brought with them and frowned. "I'm so sorry." He shot his research assistant a questioning glance. "Could it possibly wait, Naomi?"

The Morgan's little girl had disappeared from a mall yesterday. Karen Morgan had turned away for a moment in the crowded shopping center and Bethany disappeared. So started their voyage into every parent's worst nightmare.

Naomi shrugged apologetically. She read the look of frustration on the doctor's handsome face "The man on the line seemed quite distressed."

Mac sighed. Distressed could describe anyone from a former patient to one of his closest friends. "I promise this will only take a moment," he explained to his visitors, stepping to the relative privacy of his desk. "This is Mackland Ames."

"Are the boys with you?"

The voice was undeniable familiar. Mac frowned when he easily picked up on the uncharacteristic panic. "John, what's wrong?"

"The boys…are they with you?"

"John, I haven't spoken with the boys."

"Could Jim have picked them up?"

"Where are you?"

"Virginia."

"John, I spoke to Jim yesterday. He was in Kentucky where he was expecting you in the next few days."

"Where's Caleb?"

"John, what's going on?"

"Damn it, Mackland. Could Caleb have picked up the boys? He's out of school for Christmas break, isn't he? He was planning to come to Jim's?"

"Caleb's hunting, John." Mac lowered his voice. "Bobby called. Joshua is in Europe and Fisher needed some assistance with something in Georgia. I told Caleb he could help him as long as he was at the farm before Christmas Eve."

"But if Dean called him…"

"Caleb wouldn't have taken the boys without asking you John. Talk to me."

"They're not here, Mackland. I've been gone a few days. God…I talked to them last night."

"What do you mean they're not there?"

"We've been staying at my grandfather's old place in Virginia..."

Mac had been to the rundown farmhouse once. It wasn't the best place to be in the warmer months, let alone winter. But it was free, and John usually headed in that direction when hustling and credit card scams were insufficient.

"They had supplies and a phone. I ordered them to stay in the house. It snowed here last night…"

Dean and Sam were boys and expecting them to stay cooped up inside when a wintry wonderland lay just beyond the window was expecting much.

"John, have you checked the barn, anywhere they might like to play?"

"I'm not an idiot, Mac! I've been looking for hours. It'll be dark soon, and their coats are here. Besides, they both had colds. There's no way Dean would wander off."

Mackland ran a hand over his mouth. "Just take it easy, John. I'll be on the next flight. You stay there in case the boys show up. We'll fix this."

"God, Mac, what if something took them…What if that thing that got Mary…"

"John." Ames cut his friend off, not able to bear the pain and fear clinging to each breathy word. "We'll find them."

Mackland placed the phone back in place and stood on shaky legs. He looked at Bethany's parents. Gone was the wall between them and the good doctor- the distance painfully bridged by instant empathy. "I'm sorry. We'll have to speed things along." He took a deep breath and moved towards the couple who were looking at him as if he were a miracle worker. "I'm afraid I have a family crisis of my own."

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"He doesn't look like much of a knight in shining armor, Doc." Sid Harvey roughly kicked the chair in front of him. The young dark-haired man sitting in said chair stirred slightly but didn't awake. "Kind of looks like one of them poster boys for those fancy clothes stores down at the mall. You sure we got you the right kid?" The boy was not much older than eighteen; stylish shaggy hair and a clean cut baby face-not the warrior Harvey had envisioned.

"I'm quite certain our guest is the appropriate one."

"The other one we left behind looked a little sturdier." Harvey rolled his shoulders, stretching like a large cat. "I'm not real impressed with either."

"I assure you that both are highly trained and extremely deadly-this one especially."

Sid snorted and looked skeptically at his latest employer. The doctor was definitely book smart and obviously rich, but he wasn't sure if the guy had any experience with 'highly trained and deadly.'

Dr. Griffin Porter was the kind of black man Sid's grandfather always feared and detested. The old man had tried to instill that same bigotry in his grandson, but never let it be said that Sid Harvey discriminated by skin color. As far as he knew every man's money was green as grass. Besides, Sid only had hatred for two types of men, the weak ones and the poor ones. Harvey was damned determined to be neither.

"You said that before when you hired me and Mike." Sid flicked his gaze to his partner, who was quietly studying the situation. Mike Lenard was never big on talk, but he had the strength of an ox and the morals of a snake. It made for a perfect union in their 'black bag job' business. If Sid and Mike had a fucking jingle it would have been 'Dirty Deeds.' But they didn't do them dirt cheap. "I have to tell you I was a little disappointed." Sid had listened to the conversations of the odd group of men over the last few days. They spoke of Knights and Scholars and something called The Brotherhood. He was near expecting warriors on horseback with drawn swords.

"You shot them with tranquilizer guns from two hundred yards away. I don't exactly consider that fair sport."

Sid ran his hand over his blond mustache and grinned at the slick young man by the doctor's side. He had heard the others call him Grayson. Louis Grayson. He sounded insulted on behalf of the captive and the other one they had left tied up in the forest. Sid had dealt with his kind before. "You told us not to make a mess."

"And I appreciate your discreetness," Porter replied before Grayson could interject.

The doctor gave Louis a stern glance and then turned to one of his other lap dogs, a bigger man with light hair, shifty eyes and a car salesman smile. "You should go," he told him. "There are other bases that need to be covered. You know what to do. Tell Mathews to come in on your way out. Our newest guest is close to waking and we need to finish preparing the stage."

Sid recognized the look the blond conman gave him and Mike before leaving. It was full of loathing and disgust. He was the kind of man that didn't want to get his hands dirty, but had no issues with paying to have the work done as long all proceedings were under the table in a dark secluded place.

Sid looked at his employer. "Your boy doesn't care for our kind."

The black man stroked his beard thoughtfully. "Our work is usually of an entirely different nature. Imagine the exterminator that suddenly finds himself in partnership with the cockroach."

Sid didn't know if he and Mike were being insulted, threatened or perhaps both. "How upsetting for him."

"You never have said what kind of business you're into, Mr. Porter."

Sid was surprised when Mike spoke up, confronting Griffin. "Not that it matters," Harvey quickly interjected. "We've seen the gambit of weird shit."

"This guy was digging up a grave when we nabbed him. He and the other guy were carrying all sorts of weapons." Mike ran a hand over his bald head. It was a gesture Sid recognized. His partner was nervous. Mike pointed to the boy who was tied and blind-folded. "He's not a cop is he?"

"A cop?" Sid laughed. Leave it to his partner to add two and two and come up with three. Despite the lack of hair, Mike had nothing on Kojak. "How many cops you know go around trying to bust a corpse, Mikey?"

Griffin shook his head and Sid registered the look of patronization that crossed his features as he stared at Mike. "I assure you he is not a cop, Mr. Lenard."

Harvey was sure the black man had a low opinion of them, like his colleagues. Like many of their clientele, the good Dr. Griffin Porter seemed resigned to the fact that the job he wanted done called for a class of worker he would never associate with in the light of day.

Sid stepped closer to the young detainee as he once again seemed on the verge of waking. He wrapped his hands in the boy's dark hair and jerked his head back, like a prized deer he had downed. "I could care less who he is as long as we got the right one and you intend on paying us the agreed upon fee."

"You'll get your money as soon as we have what we want," Grayson snapped.

"Louis."

Sid flashed his gold-toothed smile at Grayson. "You wanted the grave robber, we got him. You want information from them, we'll get that too. We'll play your little game-no matter how odd it is."

"I don't like there're kids involved." Once again Mike's deep voice rumbled through the log cabin and Sid favored him with a 'would you cut it out' glare. Apparently, he and Porter were on par for having associates who didn't know how to keep their traps shut. "We don't mess with kids. The one's practically a baby."

"The boys are none of your concern."

Sid looked at Porter. "I'm not as squeamish as Mikey. For a fee I'll babysit the munchkins."

"This is not a game, Mr. Harvey." The doctor's face flashed with annoyance before he could slip his poker face back in place. "You will not do anything you are not instructed to do. There will be no improvisations."

"Right. The little script you've written for us. It all seems very cloak and dagger to me, Doc."

"Unlike a real production, you need not know your character's motivation, Sid. Just take direction. Do you understand that?"

"So none of this is real?" Mike asserted with a hint of his state of perpetual confusion.

Sid rolled his eyes. It was a damn good thing Mike was skilled with his hands. "We're not actors, Porter. I told you that."

"Of course not." Griffin smiled. "You two are more like stunt doubles."

The doctor's grin did not reach his cold eyes. Not for the first time Sid felt like the mouse being pawed by the fat house cat. Greed overrode his common sense. There was all that cheese to think of. "I always liked that show with Lee Majors." Sid snapped his fingers. "What the hell was it called, Mikey? The one with that blonde babe? "

"The Fall Guy," Mike supplied.

"Yeah." Harvey smiled. "The Fall Guy."

Griffin shared a look with Grayson and then favored Sid with another soulless grin. "How ironic."

Before Sid could reply, Mathews entered the cabin. He was a tall rugged man with dark wavy hair and dark skin. He wasn't as vocal as his other associates, but Sid was wary of him. Perhaps more than the rest because of his quiet observant nature.

"You needed me, Griffin?"

Porter nodded. "I think it's time we finish with the set, Jarrett. I need some make-up applied."

Mathews shook his head slightly. "You're sure about this? You really believe this is the only way?"

"I know it is."

Sid watched the men as they shared a silent moment. He had the feeling Mathews wasn't as convinced as he was letting on. But Griffin smiled, reached out and squeezed his colleagues shoulder. "Don't tell me there haven't been times when you wanted to take a swing at me, old friend. Now is your chance."

Jarrett's solemn face lifted with a crooked smile. "Oh there have been times, Griffin. More than I can count."

"Then consider it a perk." Porter lifted his chin to the other man. "Just don't enjoy it too much."

"Don't worry, Griffin." Mathews balled his fist, drew back his arm. "I never mix business and pleasure."

Sid winced as Jarrett Mathews hit Porter with a vicious right hook and then followed with a left jab to his eye. He glanced at Mike, who was rubbing his slicked head again and shifting from foot to foot like an antsy prize fighter. "This job is getting weirder and weirder." These hunters were a bunch of crazy sonsofbitches.

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A/N: Shooting for posting once a week. Let's hope that works out with both mine and Tidia's schedule. We could be bribed I'm sure. Chocolate works…reviews too. And don't worry, this story is Dean and Sam focused. They will show up soon and remain through out. Writer's Honor.