Disclaimer: If I owned Supernatural, I would drop out of college. I haven't. Therefore, I don't.
A/N: Set post AHBL2. Title and summary and inspiration from Styx's Renegade. Follows 'Rearview'. And yeah, I should actually finish that before posting this, but whatever.
Summary: The jig is up, the news is out. He's finally found them. Follows 'Rearview'
DOWN FROM THE GALLOWS
Victor let the phone slip triumphantly into its cradle, and snagged his notes. Parts for a 1967 Chevy Impala, cherry black, with a man fitting the description of the older Winchester brother bringing it in.
Tracking the serial-killing duo across America had been difficult, with no names on record and both of them keeping their heads low. Tracking their car was easier. Plates don't match. But then again, he was well aware that they weren't stupid.
One arm in his jacket, he slammed through the door of his office. "Hey, Shane!"
A head covered in orange waves poked up from behind stacks of computer print-outs. The computer-guru-turned-band-groupie grinned. "What, you got a lead?"
"I got better than that," Victor shrugged his suit jacket over the holsters, weighted with handguns under each arm, straightening his collar. "I got 'em."
"Call the team together," Henriksen ordered. "I want to be gone within the hour."
"Where to?" Excitement threaded the words, and Victor could see Shane twitching from across the room.
"New Britain, Connecticut."
"Huh." Tongue poking a bulge in his cheek, Shane rounded his desk. "They've steered clear of the cities, haven't they?"
Since St. Louis, the only time they've been seen is Milwaukee. And the gap between those appearances was months long. They didn't have time to waste. "Yeah." Victor nodded to him, one palm circling the chill doorknob. "I'm gonna go talk to Zini. Get Taylor and Rubins and tell them to pack the equipment, call ahead to New Britain's police for support. I want the Winchesters in custody yesterday."
Shane was already sweeping papers – evidence, data, references – into a folder, and Victor knew he'd be packing his equipment up next. "How long do we have?"
"Transmission gave out." Henriksen could taste victory, and let his grin show it.
Shane whistled. "Damn. On a classic like that -"
"They're going to be in town for at least three days, between waiting for parts and the repair, even if it's a rush job." Which they'll make damn sure it is.
"And you wanna see what they get up to," Shane settled the folder down, reaching to disconnect his laptop.
Just to collect a bit more evidence. "I want to know why they're there in the first place." Victor let the door swing shut, moving through the halls of the Hoover building toward the director's office.
Didn't wait, and barely knocked, before slamming in.
"This had better be good." Dark eyes in olive skin sparked hot enough to burn. Rose Zini, director of the Criminal Investigations branch of the FBI, glared at him over a pile of papers bigger than his head.
Shit. Henriksen tried a smile.
Zini's expression darkened. "What is it?"
Okay, hell with the niceties. "I got a solid lead on the Winchesters. I want to take a team out, gather some surveillance and bring them in."
"Where?" A hand stretched out for the notes he was carrying; Victor passed them off without a blink.
"New Britain, Connecticut."
Brown eyes scanned the pages for a short, silent moment. One brow lifted. "Your lead is car parts?" Skepticism zinged through the office.
"There about two dozen places in the US that regularly order parts for classic car restoration and repair," Victor shot back. Kept his eyes on hers, meeting the challenge there. "Of those, there are four that regularly place orders for parts for 1967 Chevy Impalas; Tony's Garage in Salt Lake City, Classic Restorations in LA, Singer Auto Salvage in some nothing town in South Dakota, and Johnny Wheels in Manhattan. This place -" he turned his head a little to read off the paper, "- Adam's Autos – isn't on either list."
"And most people who do their own restoration don't have a problem ordering parts to their permanent home address," Victor answered. Tucked his hands in his pockets, confident. Restoring or fixing a classic vehicle was a lot of things, but cheap wasn't one of them. "Also, I called the place. Got a pretty good description of the guy who brought her in. Caucasian male, around six foot, brown-on-green. Knew a hell of a lot about the problems with the car, gave strict instructions for what he wanted done."
Zini handed the notes back. "It's not a solid lead."
"It's a hell of a lot better than you're willing to admit." Victor kept his voice even. "It's good enough for us to check it out."
A sigh told him he'd won; Henriksen was smart enough to give no acknowledgment of the fact. Zini was already pulling fresh paperwork from one drawer, to authorize the field team, use of equipment, and travel expenses. "How long?"
"Three days, at this point. Shouldn't be longer than a week on the outside."
Her pen glided over the form, filling in names, dates and numbers with the ease of long familiarity. "And who's coming with you?"
"Shane Thomas, Cyber Division. Taylor Hirsch from the Lab Division and Kevin Rubins from Law Enforcement Services. Kevin's calling ahead to get New Britain's PD informed."
"Good," Zini grunted. The form got stamped, and extended for his signature. Gripping the pen, Victor scrawled his name hastily and slipped the paper into her Outbox for messaging to take for processing. "Get out of here," she ordered. "You've got ten days."
"Son of a bitch!"
Despite his anger, the look his brother was casting back at the garage was a mix of worried and mournful. It's not funny. They depended on the car for everything – transportation, storage. Still . . . Sam snickered.
Dean scowled, slamming a punch at his shoulder.
Sam ducked a little too late. Turning from the garage, he headed down sunny sidewalk that would eventually lead them to Broad Street. New Britain was the closest thing to a city they'd come to since Milwaukee, and he'd missed the bustle of people. Too bad we're here on a job. That the transmission had gone was just Winchester luck striking again.
"I don't like leaving her there. And I gotta call Bobby; get him to ship the parts here. It's gonna be days before she's running again." Dean sounded downright morose.
Her? Sam shook his head. Distract him now, or he'll be going on like this for hours. Rounding a corner into the heart of New Britain's Polish community, Sam started looking for a place to eat. "So. The case."
"We should probably talk to the stable owners first thing."
"If the police haven't already," his brother pointed out, eyes caught by an authentic sausage stand and the savory smells it was giving off, detectable fifteen feet away. Sam watched as the portly, white-bearded man behind it handed off a thick sausage, wrapped in fluffy bread and loaded with pickles, ketchup, mustard, and onions to a little girl with pigtails.
He wasn't surprised when Dean veered off toward the stand, digging in his wallet for bills with a grin. "You want one?"
Does smell good. A rumble from his stomach agreed. "Sure," Sam stuffed both hands in the pockets of his jeans. It was warm enough to go without a jacket, but the cloying heat of summer hadn't yet descended on this part of Connecticut.
"Dzień dobry," the old man offered as they got to the front of the line.
"Wzajemnie," Sam stumbled over the pronunciation, earning a baffled glance from his brother and a wide, yellow-toothed smile from the vendor. "Two, please." Caught the affront in green eyes, and amended the order. "Better make that three."
He watched, fascinated, as the man lined up the buns, rapidly slipping the sausages into each paper-wrapped bed of bread, expertly pouring the toppings on. Nearby, under one of the trees lining Broad Street, the little girl with the pigtails was perched on a bench next to a man who could only be her father. A giggle hit his ears as mustard spilled down the front of her dress.
Sam grabbed at the napkin dispenser as Dean exchanged money for food, giving the vendor a smile. Then he had to take two long steps to catch up to his brother, who had turned away with a genial nod. "Dude, give."
The fattest of the sausages was pushed his way; Dean bit into his with a delirious moan.
After the first spicy-delicious bite, Sam insisted on a bench and shoved half the napkins at his big brother. Oh my God. So good.
Wooden slats pressing against his back, legs stretched into the sidewalk, Sam listened to the muffled, happy grunts coming from his right. They ended up splitting the last sausage.
Stomach pleasantly full, he settled back in the shade with a sigh. "So."
Sam's nose wrinkled. Gross.
"Six homeless guys dead," his brother said, eyes moving lazily up and down the street, wiping the napkins over mouth and chin. "Reports from the hospital say they were run down."
"By horses," Sam pointed out. Details.
"In the middle of the night," Dean grumbled, tossing stained napkins at the trash. "In the middle of the city."
Sam lobbed his own balled-up napkins into the bin. "It's pretty friggin' weird."
"I'll say," his brother snorted. "New Britain's not exactly known for its equestrian centers."
Sam frowned, a thought tickling the back of his brain. A hot breeze combed sweaty locks back from his face. "You think it could be a Horseman?"
"It's not the Equinox or Solstice, is it?" Dean shook his head. "They ride three days before and after the celebration, cutting down the wicked, right? We'd have to find out more about the victims."
Oh, right. "But it's not the right time of year," Sam muttered. Damn.
"Might as well check." Dean pushed up from the bench. Sam heard the crackle of vertebrae as his brother arched, stretching. One knee popped in sympathy as he stood. "Stable or morgue?"
Sam held out a fist, willing to negotiate. "Winner calls."
Brown spikes nodded. "Deal."
One, two, three – Shaking his fist the final time, Sam kept his fingers closed in the sign for 'rock'. And stared at the flat sheet of Dean's 'paper,' mouth open.
"'Always with the scissors,' huh?"
A groan pushed past his lips at the smirk curling over his brother's face.
"You take the stables," Dean rolled his shoulders. "I've got the morgue."
Realization hit Sam even as he agreed. Doesn't want me thinking about it. And for a few hours, he'd almost forgotten that his brother was a dead man walking, clock ticking down to D-Day. And I still don't know how to break the deal –
"Sam?" Worried green eyes were scanning his face.
Sam pulled his features into neutrality. "Yeah, I'll meet you back at the motel in a few hours?"
Concern faded, just a little, but the scrutiny didn't end. "Sure. Call me if anything comes up."
"You too," Sam nodded, stepping toward the curb. Need a cab. But he watched, out of the corner of his eye, as his brother headed down the street toward the city center and police station.
"I got him."
"Maintain distance," came the voice in her ear. "Follow, but be careful, Taylor."
"Got it," she murmured back, keeping her eyes trained on the figure that had just slipped out of Adam's Autos. Tall, handsome, and deadly, looking not much different from the mug shot she'd scanned in the surveillance van playing at being AC Installation for the apartment complex across the street.
Winchester took off down the sidewalk, gait relaxed and unhurried.
He doesn't know he's being followed. In all likelihood, he didn't know the FBI was there. But it only took one mistake. Be careful. Victor said the dad was a real paramilitary.
John Winchester's service record spoke for itself. His son's crimes attested to the fact that he'd taught them everything he knew.
Taylor kept a reasonable distance back. Shane was backing her up in the van, Kevin carrying concealed and shadowing them on the other side street.
Winchester was slipping a cell phone from one pocket.
"I'm getting closer," she murmured, knowing the mike would pick up her voice for Shane, Kev and Victor.
"Kev says watch it," Shane relayed. Behind her, the noise of the van's engine starting told her that Victor was behind the wheel and intending to follow.
She sped up a little as the older Winchester pressed a button and brought the phone to his ear. Carefully pointed the tiny microphone his way, hoping the signal was clear enough.
"No," she made out, getting close enough to overhear. "I talked to Justyna. Her brother was clean. No drugs, crime, nothing. Just an old guy living in a box on New Pearl Street. Any luck at the shelter?"
"I got it, Taylor, doing good."
Awesome. She wasn't thrilled about risking her life for nothing.
There was a long pause as the brother spoke. When he finally opened his mouth, Winchester radiated disbelief. "Oh, you gotta be kidding me."
Taylor fell back, just a little, pretending to fumble in her purse as he passed by a long, reflective window.
"Yeah, I know it fits. But come on, a polevik? Where the hell are we going to find a rooster here?"
What? Taylor frowned, adjusting the white leather purse strung over her shoulder. Okay, talking in code. But why would they do that if they thought they were alone? This is not good.
"I'll see you back at the motel then. Yeah, I got it. Gimme an hour."
The phone snapped shut, Winchester picking up the pace now that he had somewhere to be. As he rounded the corner she caught a glimpse of his face, and anger welled up. Real ladykillers, both of them. Too literally.
And steadily branching out, it seemed. In the two days since Victor had yanked the team together and flown them all north out of DC, they'd been whirled through the city, pinning down locations for the garage and all the cheap motels in the area, scanning local news for any sort of serial killing that would mark the Winchester brothers' arrival in town.
And eight homeless men dead sound close enough to serial murders for me.
Blonde ponytail bouncing against her neck, Taylor was careful to slide into groups of people, hiding herself from the occasional backward glances Winchester tossed over one shoulder. The city was always crowded, even more so with the beautiful summer weather drawing people out-of-doors. Fluttering foreign syllables were heavy on the air; the Polish community had laid claim to most of New Britain and nowhere was it more evident than Broad Street.
It was when they turned off the main road and onto smaller streets that tracking him got tricky. Several times Kevin kept up with him from the opposite side of the street while she lagged, not wanting to be noticed.
When Winchester ducked into a pet store, though, she had to walk straight on by.
"Just go around the corner, we'll pick you up." Victor was now on live feed as well. Intense as he could be, his voice still grounded her. "Kevin'll take over from here. Good job, Taylor."
"I should hang back," she argued, voice low. "Find out what he's after, when he gets out."
A moment of silence as she counted off heartbeats.
"Fine," Victor sighed.
Stifling her grin, Taylor slipped into the Hallmark next door, pretending to peruse the cards in the window while keeping one eye on the street. Fifteen minutes later Winchester, black t-shirt stark against the colorful crowds, stalked by with a white bag in one hand.
She gave it another five minutes, and then replaced the card.
The pet store was part of a large chain, supplying the prospective animal-owner with everything ranging from parakeets to ferrets to geckoes. Hedgehogs curled into prickly balls behind glass as she passed straight to the register. "Excuse me," Taylor smiled.
The kid behind the counter eyed her – five foot three, blonde hair, curvy and dressed like a teen – and apparently liked what he saw. "Can I help you, Miss?"
"I hope so," she smiled, leaning forward a little. Bare arms folded on the countertop, close enough to make him flush underneath long, greasy hair dyed goth-black. Time to play dumb blonde. "You see, my cousin came to visit us this weekend. And he's always pulling these awful pranks on me and my sister – one time, he switched the Spam with cat food – it was awful!" Taylor wrinkled her nose up, and pulled a horrified, despondent face.
The kid nodded uncertainly, but blue eyes were still trained on her.
"Nice one," Shane laughed in her ear.
"And I saw him leave here just now and I know he's up to something again. I was hoping you could tell me what he bought, so I'd know before he tried to feed it to us or something."
"The guy who just left?" the kid clarified.
She had him. Hook, line and sinker. "Yeah," blonde hair bounced as she nodded, trying not to lay it on too thick. "Black shirt, tall, brown hair."
"Oh, yeah," and the nod was accompanied now by a masculine grin. Oh, my knight in shining armor. Taylor resisted the urge to snicker. "Yeah, you were right to be worried, Miss. He bought a toad."
"Oh, eeeewwww," she squealed, all little-girl disgust and batting eyelashes even as "A toad? What the hell?" beamed into her ear. "Thank you so much," she gushed. "I have to call my sister and let her know she was right. Listen, if he comes back, please don't tell him I was here? I don't want him to know I'm on to him."
The kid grinned past a smattering of acne, nodding his head. "Of course not, Miss. I wouldn't tip him off or nothing."
Taylor smiled. "Thank you." Might as well give him a little incentive. Quick as a wink, she pressed across the counter and gave him a little lingering kiss on the cheek.
"Well played," Shane snickered over the wire. "Taylor Hirsch, FBI Agent, and pet store checkout-boy heartthrob."
Waving and fumbling in her purse through the glass door, Taylor muttered, "I deserve an Oscar for that one."
"Yes, you do." Shane was still grinning, she could hear it.
Out on the street, she directed sandaled feet to where she'd last seen Winchester. "You owe me dinner. I want wine and crème brûlèe."
"Prime stakeout food."
Ugh, she hated stakeouts. Dodging a few giggling teens, Taylor stalked down the sidewalk, eyes searching for the surveillance van. "How's it going?"
"Kevin's got him, down on Garth Street. Nearest motel is the White Oak Inn."
If she cut down this block and then took Locust to Arch, she should be able to follow it down to the Inn. I hope. "I'll meet you there," she told Shane, knowing Victor was on the line with Kevin. No matter how much those two sparked against one another, they did brilliant work, pushing one another to do their best.
"Just let me know if you get lost."
The next turn put her within sight of Arch Street, and Taylor felt secure enough in her own sense of direction to snark back, "You better have my crème brûlèe waiting."
A low chuckle filtered through the earpiece.
Fifteen minutes of fast walking and shortcuts meant that she was leaning against a deli across the street when Winchester rounded the corner and walked through the motel's parking lot, disappearing behind a door numbered 17. Kevin sidled up to her, both of them ducking out of sight of the White Oak Inn as the curtains shifted in the window to Winchester's room.
Victor's voice, thrumming with satisfaction, was relayed to them all. "Got 'em."
Slumped in the room's rickety chair, his brother scowled at the caged crow. It fluttered black feathers, cawing irritably. "I really hope this works."
You're not the only one. "It stinks," Dean said flatly. Whetstone and knife moved in soothing counterpoint, keeping his hands busy. They had to wait until sundown before finding a ditch to deposit their offering in.
Sam glared from under shaggy bangs, but it was half-hearted. "It's a rooster."
Almost in response to being mentioned, an irritated squawk-cluck vibrated up from the closed wicker basket Sam had deposited in the bathroom's tub. In Sam's defense, his little brother had tried to keep the mess and smell minimal, but the rooster didn't seem to want to cooperate.
"Right. So we leave the rooster, the toad, two eggs and a crow in the basket in a ditch at dusk when no one's watching, and the polevik will be appeased?"
Sam was flipping through notes he'd taken from speaking with the stable owners. "That's the legend."
The eggs were currently set out on the counter, wrapped in dirty laundry to keep them warm; the developing chicks inside were still alive, probably, but would be suffering from being out of the incubator by the time midnight came.
"Where did you get that thing, anyway?" Dean's knife pointed toward the dark bird whose cage was fighting with Sam's laptop for dominance of the small table by the room's only window.
"Konrad pointed me to the local wise-woman," Sam sighed. They'd gotten to be on friendly terms with the older man who ran the sausage-stand on Broad Street over the last two days. "Zoja Sadowski, over on Emmons Place. I told her we thought it was a polevik, and she found the crow. The Jagodas, who own Sunrise Stables, gave me the rooster."
That must have been a fun cab ride. One that they were going to reenact very soon. Dean settled back against the headboard of his bed, flipping the knife away. Checked the hands on his watch. Fifteen minutes until sundown. "Find a place?"
"Yeah, I think so." Blue-green scanned the laptop's screen, blinking before his brother looked up. "There's a few older roads out to the east not far from the stable where the night watchman died. I think they'll probably have ditches that will work. It's a better bet than a storm drain, anyway."
Shifting against the lumpy mattress, Dean winced. Rolled off with the creak of protesting springs, to where the Impala's entire arsenal was laid out over his own bed. Having the car in the garage meant emptying her out, so there were shovels in a corner and the wooden box from the house in Lawrence carefully settled alongside Sam's duffel. It held all the important papers they had that weren't fake IDs – the acceptances from Stanford and MIT, and their pardons.
His favorite gun slid easily into his hand, magazine full. Two knives, and another gun. Just in case. "Get ready," he advised Sam.
Behind him, the laptop clicked shut. "I'll call the cab. You get the stuff?"
Dean groaned. Of course they couldn't just load everything into the large wicker basket imprisoning the rooster; the toad and eggs would be crushed before they got there, and the crow and rooster would kill one another. "Dude. So not cool."
Already on the line with the cab company, Sam just smirked.
Dean rubbed a hand over his face, then opened the bathroom door. And fought the urge to gag. Dammit!
"C'mon, man, cab'll be here in five."
Green eyes scowled at the rooster's basket, wicker shaking as the bird moved inside. Real funny, Sam. "Ugh." Dean hefted the smelly collection of sticks and bird, keeping it as far from his body as possible. At least we don't have to load all this crap into the Impala. One booted foot kicked the door shut behind him. "You set?"
Sam was packing the rest of their arsenal away, out of easy sight. The nod told him Sam had a gun and two knives on him.
Dean settled the cage on the floor by the door, ignoring the indignant bird-noises issuing from the inside. The crow went alongside, and the two eggs were nestled carefully in the bag with the toad's box, ready for the ride.
Cloth sailed his way; he snagged the shirt before it hit the ground, nodding to Sam. Warm enough to go without, but it would hide nicely the gun tucked at his back. "You're sure it's a polevik?"
"Night guard at the stables had a habit of visiting the pub before work, drinking too much, and falling asleep on the job," Sam recited, zipping the duffle closed. "He was murdered at the stable. Since then, homeless guys have been run down every night and killed. Coroner's report showed trauma – broken bones, marks – the size and shape of horses' hoof-prints."
The weapons bag hit thin carpet that once was white; long arms tucked it securely under Sam's bed.
"Okay, okay, jeez. But if this doesn't work – you're washing the Impala. For a month."
His brother's calm didn't waver. "It'll work."
"And that's our ride."
Green eyes glared balefully at the rooster's basket. "Let's get this over with."
"What the hell are they doing?"
Shane directed the long-range camera, switched over to nightvision, to zoom and focus. And . . . yes! Leaning over his shoulder, Victor tapped the fingers of one hand restlessly against the tiny metal table edging out from under the equipment bolted to the sides of the surveillance van.
Knee-deep in a ditch, he could see the two brothers struggling with the basket, cages and box they'd carted out of the motel and into a cab. Wonder how much they had to pay the cabbie to get him to shut up and drive?
"Beats me." And what the hell's a polevik
When they'd left their room for food in a diner two blocks away, Shane and Kevin had jimmied their way in to set bugs and hidden cameras throughout. But the conversation they'd gathered so far made zero sense.
Man, I hate going after the crazies. Everyone was so much twitchier when the perps were psycho. No one knew which way they'd jump, and nuts didn't automatically translate to stupid, more the pity.
"Can we get any sound?"
Shane tweaked three different dials, coaxing his babies, but . . . Not at this range. "Too far," he explained, shaking long orange strands back from his face. "Too much interference." A plague's worth of crickets between van and ditch, gumming up any chance to pick something up. "Looks like they're done."
Victor's eyes were fixed on the duo climbing onto the road and turning back down the way they'd come. "They're walking back?"
Shane shrugged. "It was what, fifteen minutes by cab, forty-miles-an-hour max? That's an hour by foot, just about."
"Unless they get up to something in the meantime."
All the victims had been killed at night.
"Well, then, it's a good thing I slipped trackers into all the clothes I can find, isn't it?" Smug confidence warmed his blood; Shane flipped the switch to bring up another monitor – this one GPS, and sure enough –
"One of 'em," Shane nodded at the soft, blinking yellow dot on the screen. In the corner of the screen vibrated a cadre of the small dots, still at rest in the empty motel room of the White Oak Inn. Fingers flew, parsing signals and shutting them away, one by one, until the only one left was the dot drifting slowly down the deserted road they were parked on. "That's the older Winchester. Dean." The dangerous one.
Not that the younger brother wasn't equally as dangerous – his size ensured that. But Sam seemed to be more the planner, the mind behind their killings and odd ventures like this one.
Victor shifted back then; Shane heard the shuffling as he settled in for a long wait. "Call Kevin and Taylor. Let them know it's going to be awhile."
His cell flipped open, speed-dial at the ready. "Sure thing, Vic."
It was almost one in the morning before they made it back to the motel. Sam trudged in last, kicking free of sludge-encrusted boots. At least most of it came off when we were walking.
"Go get cleaned up," his brother ordered.
Dean might have been the one to land on his ass in the ditch, startled when the crow burst out of its cage in a mad bid for freedom, but Sam hadn't slept the night before. Too tired to argue. Dean was already wiggling free of damp jeans.
Sam kept his trip to the bathroom short, and came out to find the window gloriously wide and bugs gathering eagerly on the lampshades. "Gotta shut'n'salt it," he mumbled. Dean had already stowed their gear away, pulling out clean clothes while he waited for the shower.
"Just trying to get the smell out," was the tired answer. "Turn the A/C on, yeah?"
Sam was digging out the salt as the bathroom door shut, double-checking the locks on the door and window and being careful to keep the lines he drew thick and unbroken. Ever since the Devil's Gate and Wyoming, demons had been popping up everywhere. Even though this job was totally unrelated, they were near a city center and well-known to Hell's denizens. Better safe than possessed.
He only noticed the sound of the shower once it stopped, the air conditioner's low hmmmm generating enough white noise to lull him to sleep beneath the motel's scratchy sheets. A moment later, the glow behind his closed eyelids snapped into darkness as Dean hit the lights. "Night," he mumbled.
A creak as his brother settled onto the other bed, sheets shifting against one another. "Go to sleep, Sam."
How much coffee has he had?
How much coffee has he had?
Six AM, and Kevin was switching over with Shane for surveillance. Henriksen looked like he hadn't slept, jazzed up on caffeine and twitching in the tiny metal chair bolted to the van floor in front of rows of monitors. In shades of gray, two forms slept on separate beds, shifting every so often. "Any movement?"
"Sam had a nightmare, around two," Victor shook his head. "Both of them were up for fifteen minutes, neither left the room."
People like that get nightmares? Kevin snorted. About what? That was a new one for him.
He didn't try to move toward the front of the van – at six-three and two hundred sixty pounds, the last thing Kevin wanted to do was squeeze himself in and not be able to get out in a hurry. Instead, he brought the warm cup close to his face, inhaling coffee fumes with contentment. Smells sooo good.
For long moments the two of them sat in silence. It was about half an hour later before there was deliberate movement on any of the screens. Victor hissed a breath between his teeth. "And big brother's awake."
Watching Winchester get up and dressed was boring until Kevin noted the knife that went into his boot and the gun slipped at his back. That's some intense hardware for breakfast. Which was apparently his goal; the cameras hidden on the van's exterior tracked him as he crossed from the White Oak Inn's parking lot to the deli across the way, disappearing inside. He was out less than ten minutes later with a bag and two cups of coffee, plus a paper tucked under one arm.
Kevin kept his eyes on the room. "The other one's up." Interested, he watched as Sam Winchester found the hastily-scribbled note his brother had left, the visible wariness receding with the discovery, and yanked on some clothing. Victor kept tabs on the older brother, but the two goals intersected soon enough as the motel door opened.
"Sammy, we've got a problem."
Oh, shit. Kevin tensed. No telling what that could mean. At least the audio's clear. He double-checked to make sure they were recording. Just in case.
Sam Winchester looked up, hands working shoelaces. "What's wrong?"
Newspaper hit crumpled sheets, but Kevin couldn't make out the headline from this camera angle. "The offering didn't work."
Long fingers reached for the paper, the younger brother's attention on the front page. Disbelief came over the speakers, loud and clear. "No, we did everything right. It must have."
"Yeah, well, there's another homeless guy in the morgue, so something went wrong." Frustration laced the older Winchester's voice.
Kevin felt his forehead crinkle. What the hell? Someone else had died? But they'd been tracking these two since yesterday afternoon, early. They sure as hell didn't do it.
Then who did? whispered the voice of skepticism that lived in his brain.
"Maybe it's not a polevik," the older suggested.
"Yeah, I know. So what the hell happened?"
The younger brother ran a hand through bed-messy hair. "I don't know. The offering is supposed to be left in a ditch, with no one watching. We got the offering, left it in a ditch -"
"So someone was watching," the older interrupted, voice eerily cold. "Only question is, who?"
"We've been made," Henriksen said tightly. Kevin was already ripping his cell phone out, calling Taylor and Shane. "I'm calling the PD. We're going in, now."
Over a conversation that pulled their two absent teammates from bed and into clothes and Kevlar, Kevin caught a glimpse of the monitors – and the brothers moving to their duffels, packing things away. Shit!
Victor snapped his phone closed. "New Britain PD will be here in three, no sirens."
"I don't think we have that much time," Kevin jerked his head at the monitors, where the brothers were moving around the room, gathering their things and digging through clothes.
Bang! Bang! Bang!
Muted curses spilled from Henriksen at the sound of a fist impacting with the van's back door. "That had better be Shane, or I swear -"
An orange head shoved through the gap as the doors opened. "Let's do this thing!" the techie yelped.
Oh God. Blue eyes shifted to the heavens, seeking patience. Kevin lowered his gaze to the short, skinny man, who gulped.
"Get in here. Now," Henriksen thundered, somehow managing to keep his voice from carrying any further than the van itself.
Kevin raised a brow. Neat trick. Controlling and book-bound as the older agent could be, there was no denying the man's skills, and that his intensity was enough to power the toughest investigations and the best teams.
"Check your gear," Henriksen ordered. "We're going in. Now."
A/N2: Evil as it is for me to put this up before I finished the next chapter of Rearview, I had no choice. This fic blindsided me, tackling me and pinning me with threats of bodily harm until I wrote and finished it. Facts: New Britain, CT does have a significant Polish population, which I decided would fit after I settled on the polevik as my monster-of-choice. Yay to Sol for details on the small-town-city! Wikipedia was obligingly sparse on details, allowing me the freedom to do as I pleased with this baddie. Translations of the Polish in order of appearance, with much thanks to Majka because I don't know Polish:
Dzień dobry– Good day / hello
Wzajemnie– Same to you