Disclaimer: Not mine, unless wishful thinking counts. As it doesn't with money, I'm thinking not.
Warning: Not much swearing throughout, but there will be spoilers for season 1, I don't think it really matters, but there will be, so you know, if you haven't seen season 1… where the hell have you been?
Author's Note: I just finished this, really wanted to get it posted tonight. It's the follow-on to Art of Betrayal. Hope you like. Oh, just a warning, postings might not exactly be constant, considering I work three nights a week, on top of working every weekday (yes I'm mad), so if there's no post one night, don't worry too much. Oh, you can if you want, but you know, no biggie!
Chapter 1: Latest Acquisition
Chapter 1: Latest Acquisition
Jarrod Conway sat up slightly in the bed, smiling at his doctor as the woman came in, face buried in a folder. He winced slightly, the result of having his appendix removed, but that pain was slowly diminishing. Slowly.
"What's up, doc?" he asked, grinning. "Come to say goodbye?"
Doctor Beaumont lowered the folder, and Jarrod's grin lowered as well. She wasn't looking happy, though she wasn't unhappy either. Rather, she was perplexed.
"What's the problem?" Jarrod asked carefully. She sighed.
"I'm not really sure," she told him, and the man raised his eyebrows. Beaumont was one of the best doctors in the Lafayette Hospital, and it wasn't like he had had anything major. An appendectomy wasn't the toughest job in the world. "I just got your test results back, from the blood we took this morning."
"The ones that you took even though you were releasing me?" Jarrod interrupted, feeling that sense of cabin fever again. Beaumont nodded.
"Yeah, those ones. There's something odd about them."
"What is it?" he demanded. He really didn't want to spend any more time in the hospital.
She finally looked at him, rather than perusing the results that had her so confused. "I don't know. I need to draw more blood, test you again. If you don't mind. But I'm not sure how serious this is, and I don't want to release you until I'm sure it's nothing."
Jarrod sighed, leaning back in the bed. Looked like he was going to be here a bit longer.
That night found Jarrod curled up in the hospital bed. He faced the window, eyes screwed tight with pain, but unable to gather the strength to push the button to call for help. It was like every inch of him weighed a tonne, all resonating from the aching boulder that seemed to be in his stomach.
He gave a cry as something jabbed in his stomach once more. It was worse, he had decided, than any pain he had endured while his appendix was threatening to blow. Worse than anything he had ever felt before.
Opening his eyes slowly and panting heavily, the room swam, his vision blurry and unstable. He cried out again, wanting to curl up further, but unable. Not of his own will, his eyes fell closed once more, and then he fell into pain.
His eyes opened, again unwillingly, some time later, and this time the room seemed darker, like the hall lights had turned off, and the moon had disappeared. But he knew he wasn't alone.
Something touched his shoulder and he would have jumped if he had had the strength, or the ability to do more than breathe and cry with pain. It ached like nothing he had ever experienced before, but he could do little more than whimper. The hand rolled him over.
He began to scream, but he never got the chance. The figure, eyes lit up in the dark room, leaned over, so quick that Jarrod knew it wasn't human. Hell, the eyes were enough evidence of that, shining as bright as the moon had been.
This analysis came in less than a second before it was over him, face all but inches from his own. And Jarrod stared deep into its shining eyes, mouth open in a silent scream.
And then he felt something, saw it out of the bottom of his eye. A power, or a mist, something burning the same colour as the thing's eyes. And as his scream finally found voice, it was smothered by the brightness forcing its way into his mouth.
His scream turned to a haunting song as something forced its way into his head, stifling everything and all as it sank into his mind. And then the song cut off, Jarrod collapsed into himself and the moon reappeared, giving light to a now motionless room.
Dean waved as the red Ford disappeared into the bustle of the road, and then heaved a sigh of relief. He owed Ash and Anya his life, and Sam's, but the kids were annoying. Plus they kept on reminding him of how much older than them he was. They made him feel old. Not a feeling he was used to, or particularly liked.
He turned back to the hospital, smiling up at it. It was a good day. Back to being him and Sammy. And soon, back to being him and Sammy on the road, them against the world, which was even better.
Because, finally, after a week recovering in the freaking hospital, Sam was being released that day – it was the only reason Ash and Anya had agreed to leave, helped by a phone call from some relative with a new job for them. Doctor Ellis wasn't exceptionally pleased, but Sam was all but refusing to stay unless they pulled out some reason for him not to. And maybe not even then.
Dean entered the warm building, shrugging under his jacket as the heat seeped into him. He couldn't keep the smile off his face; he really did hate these buildings, but he wouldn't have to suffer it much longer. And others noticed, smiling as he walked past, as if his good mood was contagious. A few nurses, ones he had gotten to know as Sam was shifted around from ICU to a normal ward and then to rehab, nodded as he walked past, but he strode by too quickly for any conversation. He just wanted to get Sam and get the hell out of Dodge. They had been in this city for too damn long, and he was itching for a new hunt. He knew Sam was as well. Just one Joshua didn't send them on. The guy's jobs seemed to go badly.
He was maybe half way to Sam's room when he felt it. A pit formed in his stomach, a bad feeling. And after so many years in the job – as Anya and Ash had continually reminded him by their very presence – he knew enough not to ignore it.
And then the lights started flickering.
Sam sat cross-legged in his hospital bed, slowly moving his shoulder around. It was still stiff from rehab the day before, but he tried not to show it. At least it didn't hurt anymore. It was healing nicely after being shot.
He still had it in a sling, but it was the only reminder of his time in Mahone's cells. At least, the only physical reminder. All bruises were gone, though he had a neat scar on his hip from the second bullet. His heart was as good as new, like his lungs. All he had to do was wait for his shoulder to get a little stronger and he would be back to hunting in no time.
He sighed contentedly, enjoying the silence while it lasted. At times his hospital room had seemed incredibly crowded, for all the nurses had tried to shove rest down his throat. Now Anya and Ash were gone, and he would miss them. Still, he couldn't help but be a little thankful. The twins were like kids with too much red cordial in them or something. No, silence was, as the saying went, golden.
A knock at the door reminded him just how golden, as Morgan appeared at the door.
"Hey, how you doing?" the cop asked as he came in without asking. Sam didn't mind. Dean and the cop had actually become pretty good… well, friend was probably too strong a word, but acquaintances, or allies. Sam shrugged, forcing back a grin when his shoulder didn't even twinge.
"Yeah, not bad," he answered, crossing his legs. "Ready to leave."
Morgan grinned. "Yeah, I bet. You must be getting antsy…" He trailed off as a shadow flickered across Sam's face. "What is it?"
The hunter shook his head. "I don't know," he answered absently, uncrossing his legs and getting out of bed. "Just be quiet for a moment."
He stood steadily on the floor, ignoring the cold on his bare feet. He had long gotten over any indignity about wearing the hospital issue pyjamas. At least it wasn't a robe.
But that wasn't what had him in a bother now. His head twitched, and he felt something press on his mind. Almost like…
Almost like the poltergeist back in Lawrence. He frowned, looking around. And then he felt it. A pit growing in his stomach. And apparently he wasn't the only one.
Morgan gave a frown, putting a hand to his stomach. Sam looked at him piercingly. "You feel that?" he asked the part-time hunter. Morgan nodded.
"I got a bad feeling," the cop answered, shaking his head. Sam nodded.
"You and me both," he said quietly. And then he walked out of the room. Morgan followed wordlessly.
Sam wasn't sure what he was following, just that he was on a trail that had no physical traces. Following the freaky signals in his head. Following his gut. He paused at a side corridor.
And then the lights began flickering.
He and Morgan shared a knowing look, and continued on their way, ignoring the strange looks of those they passed. It seemed everyone was feeling what they were feeling, all to various degrees. Most frowned as they felt it, something niggling at the back of their mind. Rare was it to find someone with enough knowledge to know something wasn't right when they felt that pit forming.
They didn't have far to go, Sam knew, when they bumped into Dean. He gave them both a questioning glance, and Sam nodded, knowing exactly what his older brother was asking. Yeah, they both felt it too.
Sam took the lead subconsciously, though Dean frowned as the younger man showed an uncanny knack for knowing where they were going. Morgan just shrugged at him when Dean shot him a glance.
Sam took three more turns before he paused, looking around. The corridor seemed strangely empty all of a sudden, and eerily quiet. Sam put a finger to his lips, motioning for silence. Dean rolled his eyes.
The younger man tiptoed on bare feet to a door about halfway down the corridor, pausing once more. All three listened intently, and then Morgan flinched back.
Dean wasn't far behind, hearing the disturbing sounds coming from the room. A strange, haunting cry, and whimpers, groans, of pain, of fear… of lust and satisfaction. Sam leaned back somewhat slower, but his eyes were no less horrified.
Then, gaze swinging from the other two men to the door, he put his hand on the handle, and, thoughtless of what might be behind the barrier, shoved the door open. He barrelled in, regardless of Dean's sudden cry of, "Sam!"
The younger man took two stumbling steps in before coming to a shocked halt. A black figure seemed to consume the very light of the room, one monstrous black shape that filled his sight. Sam gasped and the thing turned up to look at him. What looked like silver blood dripped from where its mouth should have been, shining too brightly against its shadowy form.
And then he looked down.
"Oh God!" Morgan cried, sounding sick and turning away. Sam couldn't, paralysed by what he was witnessing.
A girl lay under the shadow, stiff and tense, green eyes brimming with unshed tears of pain and fear. She was incredibly thin, bony, like she had been ill for a long time. But her eyes… Sam couldn't take his gaze from them, as he met that green-eyed stare, saw past the terror and the hurt, and found pleading in a form so simple that it shook him. She didn't want to die, and it was so plain it almost felt more real than anything else in the room.
He couldn't tear his gaze from hers, hypnotized by them so that he felt sleepy, his mind foggy. His surroundings all but disappeared, and he felt like he was floating on nothing and everything else was surreal. Everything but those green eyes begging him to save her.
The gut-wrenching cry pulled him from the distance he had fallen, and he looked around slowly, head feeling heavy now that he had torn his eyes from hers. And then he saw it. The black shadow coming at him.
A weight hit him and they both fell, Sam wincing as he landed on his injured shoulder. The shadow passed over them, and Sam watched it go, zooming past Morgan who flinched away. And then it imploded, pulling in on itself until it was gone.
Sam took a deep breath from where he was laying on the floor, suddenly feeling like he had sprinted miles. Dean got off of him, muttering under his breath, but Sam shook his head and ignored it, taking his brother's hand to get off the floor.
"What the hell was that?" Morgan spat from his spot leaning against the door. The cop looked confused. Dean shrugged, but Sam ignored that too. He looked to the bed.
And sighed. The girl's eyes were closed once more, her chest not moving. And the monitors were showing nothing. No sign of life. She was dead.
"We didn't get here soon enough," Sam said out loud, voice trembling. Dean caught it and came to stand by his side.
"Dammit," the older man whispered, looking around. "Come on, we should get out of here."
Sam had to be dragged away, missing the concerned look Dean gave him. He couldn't get the poor girl's eyes out of his head. She had been so absolutely terrified that it cut deep that he had failed her. That he hadn't saved her. She had been begging him, pleading with those eyes… and he had only stood there, doing nothing, paralysed by… he didn't know what. Something in his head had been screwing around.
"Sam, you okay?" Dean asked as they rounded a corner. The younger man didn't get a chance to answer, as a distressed scream filled the corridor. Sam flinched, and Dean began dragging him away again. They couldn't get caught up in this. Not yet. Though the chance of leaving Lafayette by nightfall was looking slim.
Dean pushed Sam down on the bed, taking the chair as Sam seemed to regain enough composure to sit down, taking a slight hold on his shoulder. Dean mentally winced as he realized he had tackled Sam so he fell on that shoulder.
"Sam?" Dean asked, leaning forward. His little brother looked at him. "You okay?" he asked again.
Sam nodded, then shook his head. "We couldn't help her, Dean."
Dean sighed, looking up at Morgan. The cop nodded, getting the picture and excusing himself.
"Sam," Dean began as he heard the cop's footsteps retreat. "You've said it yourself, we're not going to save everyone. It didn't help that we only just stumbled on it."
Sam nodded, easing back in the bed. "I know. It's just… she was so scared. The way she looked at me, like I was the only thing that could possibly save her, as if nothing else was there…" He trailed off before he got too emotional. But Dean frowned.
"Sam, what are you talking about?" he demanded, standing up. "How could she have been looking at you?"
Sam shot him a look, eyebrows high, as if Dean had said something terrible. "You're kidding me right? Didn't you see her eyes?"
Dean's jaw dropped. "Her eyes?" he repeated. "How could I? Her eyes were closed, Sam."
Sam looked like something large and solid hit him. "No they weren't," he insisted. "I saw them, she had green eyes… she was scared, Dean. Terrified. Hurting."
Dean shook his head. "Sam, her eyes were closed. I swear, they were."
"And I swear they were open!" the younger hunter snapped. "I'm not delusional, Dean. I saw them, open."
A chill ran through Dean. "Are you sure?"
Once more Sam didn't get a chance to answer, didn't get a chance to ask whether Dean was talking about his sanity or not. A knock at the door made them both jump, and Doctor Ellis entered, looking between the brothers and obviously uncomfortable, as if he knew he had entered something that was meant to be private.
"Uh, hi," the doctor greeted, eyeing Dean as the hunter sat down in the chair. Sam smiled at him.
"Hey, doc. What can we do for you? Or you about to crush my hopes?" he asked, actually joking, feeling that rush he did every time he thought about finally getting out of the hospital.
And then that rush died as Ellis frowned, clearly about to impart some news that was not so good. Sam wasn't the only one to catch it either, thinking maybe Ellis wasn't about to joke about it.
"What's the matter?" Dean demanded of Ellis, pulling his knuckle away from his mouth where it had been resting. The doctor sighed.
"I ran the blood I took this morning," the man told them both, giving each a stare. Sam nodded, but didn't interrupt. "And it came back showing some… irregularities."
"What irregularities?" Sam asked in a flat voice. His heart was thumping and his gut was sinking. He really didn't want to hear this. Especially when Ellis sighed again.
"That's the thing," the doctor began. "I'm not sure. I'd like to run some more, just to make sure it's nothing dangerous. But we're not sure what it is…"
"Which means…" Dean began. Sam finished the sentence for him, leaning back in the bed with a huff.
"Which means you want me to stay longer," Sam summed up, staring at Ellis. "Right?"
The man nodded, though he was not happy about it. "Sorry. I know how much you want to leave. It's just, after what Mahone did… we don't want to take any chances with you."
Sam frowned. "It's been a week," he pointed out. "Do you really think it could be something from that?"
Ellis paused, weighing his words. And then he sighed once more. "I'll be straight with you, Sam. I don't, not really. But," and at this he looked at Dean as well. "But I don't want to take chances."
Sam sagged slightly, but nodded. "Fine. I'll stay." He shared a look with Dean. "It's not like we're going anywhere, anyway."
He ignored Dean's pointed stare and Ellis' confusion, and laid down. He was feeling a little tired anyway.
Ellis seemed to sense it, muttering something to Dean before leaving. Dean stayed for a few minutes, but stood up when it became obvious Sam wasn't interested in a conversation. He mumbled something about going to check some stuff out before he left the room.
Sam sighed and rolled onto his back, wincing slightly as his shoulder disagreed with the movement. He put his other hand behind his head.
He didn't mind about staying another night, not really. It would give them a chance to hang around the hospital a while longer. Actually, it was a blessing in disguise. Any supernatural events in this hospital would have been hard to investigate considering most of the staff knew him or Dean, and knew they weren't CDC or cops or anything like that. And he desperately wanted to investigate that girl with the green eyes.
Because whatever Dean said, he had seen those eyes open. And if Dean hadn't, Sam was guessing that meant only one thing.
Something psychic was afoot.