This is my first fanfiction. I can continue the story if anyone is interested. I all ready have nine pages done. It just wouldn't leave me alone. I've taken some liberties with the character of Roy DeSoto. He's not married in this story or maybe he's divorced, I haven't decided yet.
The characters from Emergency, CHiPs and Supernatural are not mine. They are the property of the original writers and the studios involved. I simply borrow them on occasion.
I've dragged Emergency and CHiPs characters into the twenty first century. Hopefully they're believable.
ONE OF THOSE DAYS
The shift was passing quickly. Station 51 had been busier than usual because of the Santa Anna winds blowing over the tinder dry hills. There hadn't been any rain in a month. Further exasperating the situation, Roy DeSoto had a pounding headache that just wouldn't go away.
"Did you take anything?" Johnny Gage asked. He'd happened to notice his partner blinking and squinting against the bright sunlight.
"Yeah," was all Roy would say. They were speeding to their fourth call of the afternoon. A hiker had fallen off of Mulholland Drive. Who is stupid enough to hike there? Roy thought to himself. It's probably a tourist.
"It hasn't helped?" Johnny asked. Traffic was heavy. Roy had to weave around vehicles that stopped in the middle of the street, stunned by the siren and lights.
"Can you take any more?" He was concerned for his partner. Fireman/paramedic Roy DeSoto hadn't missed a day of work due to illness in probably 2 years. He just didn't get sick.
"Not if I want to do my job," Roy replied. He was trying desperately to keep his temper with his partner. After all, it wasn't his fault.
"Couldn't you get someone to cover for you?"
"No." He didn't feel up to going through the list of paramedics that were unavailable. He'd called every one of them himself.
"Okay, take a right. We're almost there."
Two CHP motors were sitting along the barriers at the top of a steep cliff. Both of the officers were standing at the broken barrier, looking down.
"We're going to need ropes," Roy stated as he pulled up as close to the cliff as he safely could.
"Hopefully we have enough on board," Johnny replied before he sprang out of the squad.
"He's about a hundred feet down," the older of the two officers informed them as they approached. Roy had dealt with the officers before and knew them by name. Jon Baker had been an officer for several years. By now he should have moved up the professional ladder but he preferred to stay on the streets. His partner Bruce Nelson had only been in the CHP for two years, still a relative rookie.
"How bad is he, Jon?" Roy asked. Not wanting to join the victim before he was ready, Roy cautiously looked over the edge. A wave of vertigo made him step back. Bile threatened and he had to swallow quickly to keep from emptying his stomach. The elder paramedic hoped it was a momentary lapse and would disappear once they got busy with the rescue.
"Don't know. He hasn't moved since we found him. Are you all right?" The experienced CHP officer had noticed how pale the paramedic had suddenly become.
"Yeah," Roy replied. Turning back to the truck, he helped Johnny pull the necessary supplies out of the various doors. He was scared. He couldn't remember the last time he'd felt this bad. If he'd had any other option, he would pull himself off this rescue. But, he couldn't leave Johnny to do it alone.
Quickly, they had two ropes secured to the squad's bumper and used them to repel down the unstable slope. Within a few feet, Roy was all ready losing strength, the rope slipping between his gloved figures. Damn it, he thought as he struggled to keep from falling. It was the last thing they needed at the moment.
After what felt like an eternity to the older paramedic, they reached the unconscious man. He was perched rather precariously on a narrow ledge. His black leather jacket and blue jeans were ripped in various spots, a testimony to his trip to the ledge. He was laying face down, his right arm under his body, his left one out beside him. A superficial inspection indicated that both of his legs were unbroken.
"Let's check his neck before we roll him over," Roy suggested. He was sweaty from the climb down and a bit shaky in the knees. Quickly, he kneeled down beside the man's head to perform the exam and to prevent his partner from seeing his degree of difficulty.
"I'll check for broken bones," Johnny replied. Carefully, he ran his hands over the man's legs, torso, and left arm. Thankfully there were no obvious breaks.
"Ready?" Roy asked. When he received a nod from Johnny, they each grabbed a limb and prepared to roll their charge. "On three. One, two, three."
The man was young, probably twenty six or seven. He had dark blond hair, cut short. When Roy opened his eye to check his pupillilary responses, he found that they were blue.
"Did you find anything?" Johnny asked. For the life of him he couldn't find anything but superficial cuts and bruises.
"No, I haven't his pupils equal and reactive. There is no obvious sign of head trauma, so why's he unconscious?" Roy replied. At that moment, the young man came awake with a jerk. He sat upright and began to scuttle away from the two paramedics.
"Hold on there," Johnny said catching hold of the man's nearest arm. If he was allowed to continue, the man would back right off the ledge. "We're here to help."
"I don't need your help," the man growled, as he tried to dislodge Roy and Johnny's grips on him.
"We'll let go if you stop moving. We're on a ledge on a cliff. If you go any farther, you'll fall off," Johnny explained, trying to calm their patient. For his part, Roy was just trying to hold on and not go over the edge himself.
For the first time, the young man looked around. As the situation became apparent, he stopped struggling and sat perfectly still. "Where the hell am I?" he asked.
"That's Mulholland Drive," Johnny informed him. He let go of the patient and pointed above them. Roy settled back on his haunches and studiously kept from looking down. The headache was still pounding but at least the vertigo went away when he looked at his two ledge mates.
"We need to get you back up top. Do you know how to mountain climb?" he asked.
"Yeah, but that's not the direction I want to go in," their patient stated. He was trying to get to his feet. Each paramedic grabbed hold and kept him down.
"Up's your only choice," Johnny stated.
"Are you both anchored?" the young man asked. He'd gone suddenly still. If Roy wasn't feeling so badly, he would have known to be wary.
"Yes, why do you ask?" Before Johnny had completed his question, the young man pulled them toward each other. Surprised, their grip loosened on his arms as they frantically tried to keep from smashing into each other. In a heartbeat the patient had gained his feet and was running hell bent along the narrow ledge as it wound its way across the cliff face.
"What the hell?" Johnny was on his feet trying to catch up in moments. Roy, his head spinning drunkenly, was much slower to recover. He was forced to close his eyes as he stood up, using the cliff wall as a guide. Still reeling, Roy opened his eyes, intent on following his partner when Jon landed beside him.
"Bruce is staying here with you, I'm going after Johnny," the older of the two CHP officers stated. He slipped the rope out of his harness and took off after Johnny and the patient. Licking dry lips, Roy closed his eyes and rested his forehead against a cool rock poking out of the cliff. It helped a bit.
The man was crazy. Of this Johnny was becoming convinced as he followed him. He had no apparent concern for his own personal safety as he careened down the cliff face. Loose stones scattered in his path but the patient never slowed down.
They were entering the tree line. The cliff was no long at a 50 degree angle, it had become less steep the further they travelled. It was also becoming less inhabited.
Someone pounded up behind him. Johnny assumed it was Roy. He was surprised, therefore, to find Jon quickly shortening the distance between them. If he hadn't been so out of breath, he would have asked about his partner. As it was it was all he could do to try to catch up with the crazed patient.
After what felt like an eternity of rock, dirt and tree roots, Johnny finally managed to tackle his query. In a jumble of limbs, the two men tumbled down the gentle slope and came to rest in a line of shrubs. "Stop running!" Johnny shouted as he extracted himself from the pile.
"I need to find my brother!" the man shouted, panting despite his best efforts not to. He struggled against Johnny's restraining hands.
"Is that what this is all about?" Jon demanded as he came up, also breathing heavy. "You could have told us that to begin with and prevented this whole jog."
"Where is he?" Johnny asked once he caught his breath enough to speak. The young man was frantic, still trying to scramble away from him. "Hold still."
"You wouldn't believe me if I told you," the man shot back. Dean Winchester was trying desperately to not injure the paramedic. He knew they thought they were helping but he needed to ditch the two men and get searching.
"Try me," Johnny responded. Between him and Jon, they hauled the young man to his feet and forced him to face them. There was something battle-hardened about the man that set Johnny's nerves on edge. Instantly, he was more wary and took a step back.
"What the hell," Dean said. He dropped his shoulders as if in defeat. Just as the men seemed to settle in for his story, he lashed out. Johnny got a round-house hit to his forehead. He dropped like a stone, stunned. Not stopping to see the results of his work, Dean sent a leg arching toward the CHP officer's knee in an attempt to incapacitate him.
Casually, Jon stepped back, out of range and pushed the man to the ground as he slipped on the gravel. His gun came out. "Tell us where your brother is."
Johnny carefully came to his feet and stood to the side while he watched the stand between the two men, he examined the large bump that was swelling up from where he'd been struck. Then he brushed absently at the grass and dirt that had accumulated on his blue uniform pants.
Defeated for the moment, Dean rolled over onto his bank and cautiously sat up. "We were looking into a case," he began. He was only going to say as much as he had to, otherwise they'd probably lock him up in a loony bin. Worry for his younger brother Sam made standing still nearly impossible.
"We'd followed the leads to this area. While we were searching last night we got separated."
"What are you, private detectives? And why were you searching at night?" Jon asked. There were holes in his story but he wasn't sure if he was lying or holding back.
"Ah," Dean hedged. "We're not P.I.'s and we didn't want the lead to go cold, dude."
"Wandering around in the dark around here is not a good idea." Johnny was marginally distracted, he was wondering where Roy was.
"Yeah, we knew that. We didn't have a choice."
"Do you have any ID and where was the last place you saw your brother?"Jon asked. He kept his service revolver trained on the man, just in case. "What's your name?"
"Ah," Dean was beginning to back pedal again. He needed to get away from these people. Sam was in the hands of the demon they were hunting. He needed to leave.
His patience evaporating, Jon pulled handcuffs out of his gun belt and moved to put them on Dean. Tensing, Dean was preparing to fight when a pain filled scream pierced the air.
"Sam!" Instantly, Dean was on his feet, pounding down the wooded slope in the direction of the voice. Jon made as if to follow but Johnny caught his arm as he flew past.
"He's back up the cliff with Bruce. He isn't feeling well. You go check on him and call for backup. I'm going to see what's going on." Jon paused long enough to see Johnny nod his head then he was gone, running after the patient.
Gritting his teeth, Johnny headed back the way he'd come. Concern for his partner quickened his steps as he scrambled up the trail. The trees came in handy to pull him along. "Damn, damn, damn," he muttered under his breath.
The sun was getting lower, making the shadows longer and deeper. When he reached the area he figured Roy and Bruce should be Johnny stopped dead. The only evidence of their having been there was the smashed biophone and a few sprinklings of something that looked suspiciously like blood. He glanced up the cliff face in search of the ropes he and Roy had repelled down on. They'd been cut three feet beyond his reach. Now he had no way of reaching help. "Damn, damn, damn," he swore under his breath feeling panic threatening to take over.
Desperate, the young paramedic spent a few frustrating minutes trying to reach the ropes. Finally, though, he had to admit defeat. He paused, looking across the valley to catch his breath. They really were out in the middle of nowhere. The station probably wouldn't look for them for another two hours. They were on their own until then.
He searched the immediate area for clues as to where Roy and Bruce went. Finding none, he headed back down the cliff to help Jon. At least he hoped he could find him. The day definitely didn't look to improve any time soon.
The fugitive was fast and motivated; Jon had to give him that as he tore through the dense underbrush and trees after him. Another scream filled the air somewhere ahead of them. It was all Jon could do to keep from snagging his feet as he pounded after Dean. The darkness that was descending wasn't helping either.
"Sam!" Dean called out. Ahead in the gloom, he thought he could make out a cave or some other structure. Since there was no other obvious shelter anywhere near, he headed for it. Another scream and Dean barely managed to keep himself from plunging blindly through the entrance to follow the voice. Ignoring the CHP officer coming up behind him, Dean paused at the side of the entryway to pull a flashlight and handgun out of his leather jacket. The flashlight switched on and in his left hand, the gun in his right, he slipped into the darkness.
Not entirely convinced that the man was sane, Jon could not deny the pain riddled screams. Pulling his service revolver out of its holster, he followed the younger man into the mine. "Hold up," he whispered loud enough for the man to hear him.
Irritated, Dean glanced over his shoulder at the officer before continuing to edge down the corridor. The mine had been unused for a long time but suspiciously there were no cobwebs or other signs of disuse. "Hey!" Jon managed to catch hold of his shoulder and spin him around. "I'm not going to stop you. I just need to know who to call to and what your plan is."
"I don't have a plan," Dean hissed, shaking the officer's hand off. "My name's Dean, my brother's Sam."
"Jon. Let's go find Sam."
"Baker!" Johnny was standing at the last place he'd seen the officer but there was no obvious sign of him. The darkness was nearly complete. He had trouble seeing more than a few feet in front of him. Out of his shirt pocket, he brought out the pen light he used to check patient's pupils. Holding it at shoulder height he began a systematic search. Before five minutes had passed he was hot on their trail.
Somewhere above him, the young paramedic thought he could hear the occasional vehicle pass by. There were also the sounds of the woods, birds, creaking branches, small creatures rustling around in the underbrush but otherwise there was no sound of civilization. Johnny found it vaguely disconcerting. It had been a long time since he'd been out of the city.
It took longer than he would have liked to locate the mine entrance. All the while there had been no indication of the other men, even the screams had subsided. His pen light was not as effective as he'd hoped as he sidled into the mine entrance. The hairs on the back of his neck stood up as he made his way along the main shaft. It was eerily quiet except for the occasional water drops in the distance. Lesser shafts branched off from the one he was following but each of them appeared to dead end or decrease in size beyond his ability to safely follow. It smelled of damp earth, stagnant water and droppings of some kind. Johnny wasn't sure he wanted to find out what animals would populate such a dark, damp location but he had to find Jon if he had any hope of locating Roy. Fear for his partner spurred him forward beyond the distance he felt safe.
A scream ripped through the shaft from somewhere ahead, freezing the paramedic in his tracks. The voice that had been in such deep pain had come from Roy. Suddenly, Johnny was sprinting down the shaft, desperate to reach his friend and co-worker. In the dark, he turned his ankle twice on unseen rocks. Rolling back to his feet, he continued closing the distance until he stumbled into a large chamber.
The shaft opened up to create a cavern. Large rocks dotted the area and a fire burned in a central pit. Feeling very exposed, Johnny scrambled over to the nearest boulder and crouched behind it to survey the rest of his surroundings. Off to his right Johnny spotted their patient and Jon huddled on the dirt floor. Both men were bound and gagged and appeared unconscious. Peering around the boulder to his left, the young paramedic spotted a young man sprawled on the ground. His hands were bound behind his back but otherwise he seemed unfettered. He also appeared to be unconscious, lying on his stomach, and his head turned away.
Something moved. Going perfectly still, Johnny waited, barely daring to breath. In the darkness beyond the fire, a white face floated toward the trio. Moments later, the face became more substantial as the dark body attached to it came into view. In its arms it carried a bundle. Johnny strained to see what was inside but all he could discern was dark blue pants and blond hair. That was all he needed to know to identify his partner. The white faced figure put his burden on the ground. As Johnny watched, Roy didn't move.
Anger and fear burned in the pit of his stomach. Throwing caution to the wind, Johnny began to pace around the boulder, intent on helping his friend. The figure leaned over Roy's unconscious body; white skeletal hands snaked out of the sleeves of his robe and came to rest on either side of Roy's head. Almost instantly, a scream was ripped from the older man and he struggled weakly to dislodge his attacker. Yet, he did not appear to be conscious.
As he covered the distance, Johnny became aware that the figure was chanting in a low voice, words that he didn't recognize. He did, however, recognize a rite when he saw one. Still writhing in agony, Roy continued to scream. The figure appeared to be losing substance Johnny could see objects through its body. Roy's face, contorted with pain, was white.
"Leave him alone!" Johnny shouted as he jumped forward to tackle the figure. It felt like he passed through a freezer then he collided with Roy, sending them both tumbling.
The figure rose and descended on Johnny as he tried to scramble to his feet. The deep cold that emanated from the creature was enough to cause Johnny's breath to frost. The young paramedic managed to scramble to his feet and face their attacker. All of his instincts were telling him to run while he still could but he wouldn't leave his partner to be further ravaged. At his feet Roy was sprawled like a rag doll, his face as white as a sheet and sweaty.
Anger boiled through him as Johnny watched the phantom drift toward him. Now that it wasn't feeding on Roy, it had taken on more of a solid appearance. Before it had completely covered the distance between them, Johnny struck out at its head. His fist connected solidly, temporarily stunning it while his first went completely numb. Johnny was desperately trying to come up with a new way to fight when the phantom turned and raced into the entrance at the back of the cave.
"Roy!" Instantly Johnny's attention turned to his partner. The older paramedic was cold to the touch and clammy. His pulse was rapid and shallow as was his respiration. Quickly, Johnny stripped off his jacket and put it over his friend before moving to check on the others.
His scissors made quick work of the rope that bound the tall young man lying a short distance away. Johnny could only assume that this must be the brother. Carefully he rolled the man onto his back so he could get a better look at his condition. There were bloody marks on either side of the boy's face like he'd been gripped on either side of the head. Just like Roy. Reaching into his pocket, Johnny pulled out his flashlight to check the boy's pupils. He pulled the right eyelid open and prepared to flash his pen light into it. The younger man's dark grey eye flashed red. Startled, Johnny jerked back nearly falling over in his haste. The boy seemed to be unconscious still but not sure of what else to do, Johnny tied him back up. Red eyes are never a good sign.
Satisfied that Sam was as secure as he was going to get at the moment, Johnny paced through the cave until he reached Dean, Jon and Bruce. Each had a bump that was swelling from where they were hit to render them unconscious but there were no other obvious injuries. Best of all, none of their eyes flashed when Johnny tested them with the flashlight.
As he was cutting Dean's bonds, the young man began to come around. Having already checked his eyes before releasing the man, Johnny sat back on his haunches and waited. The reaction was almost instantaneous. One moment Dean was groaning quietly, the next he was wide awake and trying to attain an upright position. "Where's Sam?" he demanded.
"Over there," Johnny replied, making a vague motion in the general direction. "But there's something not quite right about him." The last was said loudly because Dean was all ready headed off toward his brother.
"What do you mean?"Dean asked. He knelt down beside his brother, taking in the wounds with a glance. Fear settled into his stomach. Not waiting for the paramedic's answer, he quickly examined Sam.
"His eyes turned red," Johnny stated. The two CHP officers were okay so he went back to Roy. "We need to get them out of here."
Behind him, Johnny heard Dean swearing a blue streak. It he wasn't so concerned about his partner, he might have gone to find out why. Roy was unchanged from the last time he checked on him. His pulse and breathing were still rapid and shallow. Johnny desperately wished he had his kits with him so he could do something, anything for the older man.
A sound beside him caused Johnny to jump, and then he saw the tan uniforms of Bruce and Jon.
"What's going on?" Jon asked, absently rubbing the bump on his head. Bruce, looking a little stunned by it all, stood silently a few feet away. His blue eyes were trying to see every corner of the cavern at the same time.
"We need to get out of here. I don't know what that thing is but it hurt Roy. We need to get him to a hospital."
"A hospital's not going to help him or Sam," Dean growled from beside his brother.
"What are you talking about?" Johnny demanded. "He's in shock, he needs fluids and warmth."
"He's in shock, all right," Dean muttered to himself. He was getting tired of dealing with civilians. They just didn't have a clue of what happened in the real world. He didn't really expect the demon to come back, it had all ready done what it intended to but he did agree that they needed to get out of the cave. The supplies he was going to need were back on Mulholland Drive in the back of his '68 Impala.
By mutual consent the CHP officers helped Johnny and Dean carry Sam and Roy out of the cave. They were instantly warmer once they were out in the fresh air again. It felt like a weight had been lifted from Johnny's shoulders. If it wasn't for Roy's condition he'd be positively giddy.
It was very dark. Using the CHP officers' flashlights they slowly made their way back to the bank the paramedics had climbed down an hour or two before. By the time they'd stumbled through the undergrowth and reached the ledge all four men were tired and sweaty. Gently laying down their burdens, they paused to consider their next move.
"Boost me up," Bruce offered, being the smallest among them and therefore the lightest. "I'll be able to reach it and pull myself up."
"Here," Jon braced his back against the cliff wall, set his feet and made a cup out of his hands. In order for Bruce to reach them, though, he was forced to bend his knees for the shorter man. Once situated, Jon stood up, pushing Bruce up as he did.
"Got it!" Bruce said as Jon felt his weight leave his hands. "I'll climb up and call for help."
"It won't help," Dean said under his breath. The longer Sam stayed unconscious the better. He wanted to be set up before he came to. Glancing at the older paramedic in the erratic light of the flashlights, he knew that Roy was in the same position. Silently, he cursed himself for his ineptitude as he watched Bruce scale the cliff. He was supposed to take care of Sammy, not let him be possessed by demon spawn. The time it was taking to get out of here was driving him nuts.
After several minutes, Bruce finally reached the top of the cliff. He disappeared for a few minutes then one of the ropes was being pulled up.
"What's he doing?" Jon wondered out loud.
"We only carry the two ropes, he's probably tying them together so we can climb up too," Johnny suggested. He was crouching beside Roy, watching his vital signs for any changes. Damn, he wished the kid would hurry.
Several more minutes passed during which the second rope bounced and moved up but the beam from the CHP flashlight didn't reach to the top of the cliff. Finally the second rope bounced to the ground, two climbing harnesses attached to the end.
"Do you need the Stokes to get them up the cliff?" Jon asked, indicating Roy and Sam.
"That's what I'd like but we'd need more rope. Let's get this belt around Sam and we'll get Dean to walk him up," Johnny responded.
"Maybe we should send you and Roy up first," Jon stated. He cast a side-long glance at Dean, not trusting the man after his earlier escapades. "Roy seems to be in the worse shape."
Despite what the CHP officer was saying, Johnny caught his hidden meaning and had to agree with him. For his part, Dean seemed to be completely ignoring their conversation.
"Okay. We'll send the belts down again once we reach the top." As carefully as he could, Johnny got Roy into the belt before donning the other one himself. He sacrificed a section of the rope so that he could secure his partner to his back. Luckily, they were about the same height but Roy probably had a good twenty pounds on him.
With some help from Jon, Johnny began his ascent. The cliff face was made of loose dirt which slowed him down some, especially in the dark but by taking his time he made his way to the top. Just as he thought his arms were going to give out from the strain, Johnny felt a pair of hands catch hold of him and pull him the last foot or so to the top. Careful of his unconscious partner, Johnny allowed himself a few moments sprawled on the ground to catch his breath.
"The radios are all smashed," Bruce said. In the dark, Johnny could feel the CHP undoing the ropes in preparation of sending them back down. "There's no way for us to send for help."
Fear settled in the pit of Johnny's stomach. By now he would have expected dispatch to send someone out to look for them, particularly if they couldn't raise them on the radio. Trying to ignore the feeling of dread, Johnny took off his belt and then Roy's so that Bruce could send them back down. Once that was done, Johnny went to the squad to confirm what the CHP officer had told him. Sure enough, the radio in the cab had been smashed as had the Handi-Talki and the ones on the two bikes. Cursing he opened the panels on the squad so he could at least start treating Roy and then Sam once he got to the top. Someone had been in the panels as well. The equipment as scattered, as were most of the supplies. It appeared, however, that nothing had really been damaged.
By the time Bruce pulled Dean and Sam up Johnny had managed to get an IV going using his pen light and had wrapped Roy up in a blanket. His partner didn't appear to be any closer to bring conscious but at least his vital signs appeared stable.
Dean managed to get Sam on the ground near Roy. He'd had a particularly difficult time because Sam had a good four inches on Dean and probably 30 pounds. Gasping for breath, the elder Winchester struggled out of the harness then got the other one off Sam. He handed the belts to Bruce then made sure Sam was still securely tied.
Satisfied that Sam wasn't going anywhere, Dean put his leather jacket over him to keep him warm. His next immediate concern was transportation. It didn't take long to determine that the fire truck and the police bikes were out of commission. For the first time, Dean was thankful that his car was parked nearly half mile away in a turn out. "I'll be back," he told Johnny. That scene from 'Terminator' played through his mind.
"Where are you going?" Johnny asked. Walking around on the dark mountain highway was really not a good idea. Besides, he wanted to know where the strange man was at all times.
"My car's up the road. Hopefully they haven't trashed it too," Dean replied.
"Wait for Jon. Going alone is probably not a good idea."
"I can take care of myself," Dean growled. Not waiting for a response, he headed out up the road. Listening intently, he tried to cover the distance as fast as he could.
"Where'd he go?" Jon asked upon getting free of the harness and finding Johnny. Bruce was busy coiling up the rope, just in case they needed it again.
"Our vehicles are trashed, he's gone to see if his car's okay," Johnny replied. Upon seeing the look on the CHP officer's face, Johnny felt the need to defend his actions. "He didn't ask for permission and I was kind of busy at the time.
"Besides, his brother's still here, he's definitely coming back."
"I guess. How's Roy doing?" Jon asked to change the subject.
"He's about the same as before." Even with the fluids and blanket the older paramedic was not improving.
"So our vehicles are toast?" Bruce had all ready filled him in but Jon was feeling a little too useless. He didn't like it. The road was deserted. He hadn't seen or heard a single vehicle since before they'd reached the cliff face.
"Yeah, looks that way. Someone should have come looking for us by now, either the fire department or CHP or both. I don't like this."
Headlights panned around the curve of the road. The first ones they'd seen since getting up top. Bruce and Jon tried to wave the car down. A dark older car in great shape pulled up and Dean climbed out. He'd positioned the car so that the headlights lit up the scene.
"Anyone order a pizza?" he quipped as he went to his brother. Sam was showing signs of coming around. While he was gone Johnny had replaced the jacket with a full size blanket but he'd left Sam lying on his side to accommodate his tied hands.
"Very funny," Jon replied. "Can we all fit in here? Do you have a cell phone?" The CHP and fire department frowned on its members carrying their personal phones on the job. Right now, Jon hated that rule.
"Yeah, I do but there's no signal," Dean replied. "And, yes, we can all fit in here. Sam's sitting up front, the rest of you get into the back."
It took some work but eventually they all managed to shoehorn Jon, Bruce and Johnny into the back seat with Roy draped across their knees. They were lucky that Dean's car was older; otherwise one of them would be walking. As Dean fastened the seat belt around Sam, his younger brother came to.
It took him a moment or two to register what was going on. Blinking in the light of the instrument panel, Sam looked at his brother as he slide into the driver's seat. "What the hell, Dean. Why am I tied up?" he demanded, oblivious to the people in the back.
If he hadn't seen it himself, Dean would have sworn that it was his brother talking. "Shut up demon," he growled as he put the car in gear.
"Demon?! What're you talking about, it's Sammy" The voice, the eyes, everything screamed Sam but he knew better.
"You blew it right there, buddy. Sam hates to be called Sammy."
The passengers in the back remained quiet, each feeling like they'd fallen down the rabbit hole. Jon and Bruce exchanged a look, both raising their eyebrows in question but they remained silent. Johnny was too busy worrying about Roy to really care.
A wicked smile spread across Sam's face. "So, what're you doing to do now, big brother? You hurt me, you hurt him." The confidence in Sam/the demon's voice went a chill down Dean's back. He was right, this wasn't a usual case. Sam dying was not an option. Maybe he could use Roy as a guinea pig to try out different options. Mentally, he shook his head. The death of civilians was never an option. Ignoring the demon, Dean concentrated on his driving. He was taking them farther into the hills to a cabin he knew about.
"Where are we going?" Bruce piped up from the back seat. He'd been watching the route Dean was taking and knew that they were not headed to the nearest hospital.
"Some place safe," Dean responded. He'd hoped that they wouldn't notice, they still had nearly an hour to go.
"What?!" Johnny demanded. He'd just assumed that they were going to get help. He really didn't like Roy's colour and cold seemed to be emanating from his body. It was actually becoming uncomfortable to have him across his lap. "What do you mean, 'someplace safe'?"
"A hospital can't help them," Dean stated simply.
"Of course they can help." Johnny couldn't believe his ears. As crazy as this guy appeared to be, Johnny couldn't believe he would risk his brother's life.
"They may be able to keep them alive for a while but eventually their bodies will wear out. It may take a month or it may take a week. Depends on how strong willed they are." There was probably the longest speech he'd made to a stranger in a while but the longer he kept them talking the further from the city they went.
"What exactly is going on here?" Johnny demanded. He needed answers and this guy didn't seem too inclined to give them. It was really beginning to piss him off.
A deep sigh escaped from Dean. He'd been doing this for a long time and suddenly felt very tired. "Sam and your friend have been possessed," he stated simply.
Silence was the only response for about 30 seconds. "What the hell are you talking about?" Johnny exploded. "Roy had a headache and now he's sick. That's all there is to this."
"No, that's not all," Sam/the demon replied. The evil grin still plastered on his face, he began to turn his head around. And around. And around. Beyond the range any normal human neck could stretch.
Ice water coursed through the fireman and police officers' veins. It was just like in that movie except all the more disturbing and disgusting in real life. Johnny felt his world shift slightly to the right. Disbelieving, he looked down at his friend's slack face and felt fear take up permanent residence in his heart. He was going to wake up soon, right?
"Stop that!" Dean ordered. He knew if his brother's neck was allowed to stay like that for more than a few moments it could result in permanent brain damage.
Very slowly the demon brought Sam's head back to the right direction. "Dothat again and Ill salt your ass."
"No you won't," the demon responded, continuing to grin. "You wouldn't risk hurting your brother."
"Salt would hurt you more than it would Sam." Dean hated to get into a deep discussion with a demon. They loved to mess with your head but a glance in the rear view mirror and he knew that the guys in the back were verging on hysteria. Trying not to be obvious, Dean applied more pressure on the gas pedal. The sooner they got to the cabin the better.
"Oh," the demon said. "Little Sammy has the shining. That must really irritate you. Little Sammy is the younger, smarter, better looking brother. Why do you think he and your dad fought all the time, Dean? It's because your Daddy loved him best!"
"And how would you know that?" Dean wasn't really paying attention. He knew all of the buttons demons like to push. He knew how sensitive he was about anything that involved his dad and the way he died. Concentrating on his driving he let the demon continue to prattle on. In truth, it was kind of like having Sam around anyway.
"Why, big brother. I've talked to him. He curses your name every time he can. Luckily for you he only has the strength once or twice a week," the demon cackled to itself.
His jaw set, Dean gunned the engine. The sooner they got there the better. The yellow-eyed demon had intimated before that his dad was in hell. The very thought burned in his heart and mind. After a massive car accident that left Dean in a coma, his father had made a deal with the yellow-eyed demon; his soul and a powerful gun in exchange for Dean surviving. If the eldest Winchester had realized just how crippling the guilt would become for Dean he might have reconsidered.
In the back seat Johnny could feel Roy beginning to stir. At first he was greatly relieved. It was the first sign of life he'd shown since he collapsed in the cave. Then the relief was tempered by fear. Maybe he wasn't okay. What if his head starts turning? Johnny wasn't sure how he'd handle that if it did!
"Roy?" he asked quietly, trying to not interrupt the conversation going on in the front seat.
A soft moan escaped from Roy's lips as he struggled toward consciousness. He was cold and his head was pounding to a beat all of its own. He wasn't entirely sure what was going on. The last thing he remembered was trying to rescue the patient from the cliff. After that things got a bit fuzzy. "Johnny?" Roy asked his voice barely above a whisper. In the shifting shadows he wasn't too sure of his eyes.
"Hey!" Johnny was watching his friend carefully, looking for anything out of character and of course for the red flash in his eyes. "How are you feeling?"
"Where are we?" Roy asked as he looked blurrily around the car interior. None of this was making sense. Dimly, he was becoming aware of a faint buzzing in the back of his mind. It was quickly lost in the pounding of his head.
"We're in a car." Johnny wasn't sure how much to tell the older paramedic. If anyone was going to have strange and unusual things happen to them it was Johnny. The fact that Roy was the one in trouble was an unusual occurrence.
"Where's the squad?" Roy suddenly became aware that he was lying on Johnny. A quick glance at his legs and he discovered Bruce and Jon. The dread in his mind migrated to his stomach. Something was not right.
"It was damaged," Johnny replied. Roy tried to sit up. He hated being vulnerable, but there wasn't enough room for him to go anywhere. Glancing at his arm, he discovered the catheter and IV. Without thinking, he pulled the catheter out and put pressure on the vein to stop the bleeding.
"What the hell is going on?" Roy demanded. His sense of humour had evaporated.
"You wouldn't believe me if I told you," Johnny responded. The car was pulling off the pavement onto a dirt road.
"Johnny," Roy began. He was used to his partner's hare brained schemes and minor obsessive compulsive behaviour but none of this felt right. If anything things felt progressively worse as his headache worsened. Unconsciously, he was aware that the buzzing was changing in intensity and pitch.
"We're almost there," Dean announced from the front. Once the car was stationary he was going to have to deal with the CHP officers. Somehow he doubted that they were going to appreciate everything that was about to happen.
"Almost where?" Roy's temper was beginning to rise. Johnny's schemes were one thing but when it involved two members of the CHP and two patients that bordered on professional misconduct.
"A cabin?" Johnny supplied helpfully. The chill emanating from his partner was becoming worse and from the small lines at the corners of Roy's eyes and his mouth the headache was still there.
"Is someone hurt here? Is there a fire?" Roy asked. "What are we doing here? Have you been in contact with HQ?"
The car was continuing down an isolated dirt road. Trees bordered it on both sides, making the elder paramedic slightly claustrophobic. Beyond the reach of the headlights the world was especially dark, adding to the sense of closeness.
"I tried to call in," Johnny tried to defend his actions."But the biophone, radios and HT were all smashed."
"How did that happen?"
"I don't know, Roy. It happened while we were on the rescue."
Unhappy, Roy lapsed into silence. He still had no idea what was going on. Giving in to his headache, he closed his eyes and decided to trust his partner until he knew the full story.
The rest of the trip to the cabin was relatively uneventful. Unable to goad Dean into a response, the demon had lapsed into a sullen silence. The CHP officers were exchanging whispered words and Johnny was busy watching over his friend. He'd replaced Roy's fingers with a bandage where he'd pulled the IV.
The headlights panned over the front of the isolated cabin as Dean pulled up to it. It looked like any other log cabin built at the same time. It had the low front porch, windows on either side of the door and home spun curtains.
"Right out of a Norman Rockwell painting," Dean muttered to himself as he climbed out of the car. Warily, he pulled the seat forward to let the CHP officers out. They seemed to be docile enough but he wasn't taking any chances. Lightly, his left hand was resting on the butt of the handgun stuck into the back of his pants.
Once the two were out, Dean reached in, caught Roy by the left arm and pulled him out as well. Johnny was behind him in a heartbeat.
"Now what?" Bruce asked. He was completely out of his element and his senior officer didn't seem to be in any better shape. When they'd been discussing alternatives they'd realized until they saw what this character had in mind they were out of options. Watching Sam turn his head all the way to the back was now like a surreal nightmare.
"I have no idea," Jon responded. He glanced at Sam, who was in the front seat, his hands still tied behind his back. The younger man was looking around curiously. There was no indication of the demon that he could see. But then, how would he know what to look for?
"Get him inside," Dean ordered, handing the stumbling paramedic off. He was going to need both hands free to get Sam out of the car. "Watch him."
Suddenly looking uncomfortable, Bruce and Jon caught hold of Roy and started toward the door. Johnny moved as if to follow when Dean placed a hand on his arm and stopped him. "I'm going to need some help with Sam."
"What kind of help?" Johnny asked suspiciously.
"He may try to escape." Dean didn't feel much like elaborating.
"What exactly do you have planned?"
"Well, I think you better be a little more forthcoming if you expect help from any of us." Tired of not knowing, Johnny was prepared to hold his ground.
Frustrated, Dean fought the need to punch the man. Taking a moment to calm his anger, he checked to make sure his brother was still secure. "Fine, I'll tell you but I'll warm you now that if you try to interfere I will stop you with any means necessary.
"My brother and your partner are possessed. They need to be exorcised before they lose their souls."
For the span of five heartbeats Johnny stared at him, emotions playing across his face as he digested what had just been told to him. Dean was beginning to think the man had completely shut down when he slowly nodded his head.
"Okay, "Johnny said, seeming to steel himself against what was to come. "Where do we start?"
"The first thing we've got to do is get Sam into the cabin."
As compliant as the demon was in the car, as soon as he was free of the metal confines he went crazy. Sam laundered himself at his brother. Half expecting it, Dean was able to plant himself enough to keep his feet. Before Sam could recover to try again Johnny caught hold of his tied hands and forced them up causing blinding but non-permanent pain to flash through his shoulders.
"Stop!" Sam gasped as he crumpled to his knees to relieve the pressure.
"No more funny business," Dean growled. With one of them on each arm they pulled Sam to his feet and forced him toward the cabin door.
"Why Dean," the demon said, that accursed smile back. "You've lost your sense of humour! Oh, that's right. You never had one to begin with. You always were the good little soldier."
Johnny was about to open his mouth to ask a question when he saw the scowl on Dean's face and quickly changed his mind. The door opened as they neared. The CHP officers had all ready managed to light a hurricane lamp so there was some light.
Somehow it was not a great improvement, Johnny thought to himself. Despite his hands being tied Sam still put up quite a fight requiring all four of them to restrain him. Dean let go long enough to drag a metal chair into the middle of the room then they man-handled the struggling Sam onto it.
"I need your handcuffs," the eldest Winchester boy said, holding his hands out. Wordlessly the CHP officers complied. Working quickly, Dean shackled his brother's wrists to the chair, cutting the ropes as necessary.
"Do you really think this is a good idea, Johnny?" Jon asked. He trusted the paramedic's judgement if he was willing to go along with it so would he. For now.
"No. But I think we'd better do what he says. How's Roy?" In the dim light of the lamp he could just make out his partner's form sprawled on the only bed along the east wall.
"So, you really think you can exorcise me? The last time Sammy had to do the Latin, you're barely literate," the demon hissed. Frustrated, he struggled against the handcuffs, sure that he should be able to snap them.
Ignoring the demon and the humans, Dean went out to the car, popped the trunk and rummaged through the contents. He knew the items that were necessary for an exorcism. All too often one of the Winchester men had had to perform this ritual. Never had Dean ever considered performing it on his brother but this would actually make the second time it's been necessary. The shining as they called it left Sam vulnerable to this kind of attack. Now that the yellow-eyed demon knew, it was going to happen more and more.
The items he'd need packed in a nylon bag, Dean paused, his hand on the trunk lid, preparing to close it and took a deep breath. Then another. Calmer, he closed the trunk and headed back in.
"Why is Roy so cold?" Johnny asked. He'd just checked on his partner and despite being covered he still felt ice cold.
"Because of the demon," Dean growled. He understood the civilians' confusion but he was getting really tired of all the questions. Keeping an eye on Sam, he began to set up for the ritual.
"You can't hold me here!" Sam/the demon bellowed. To emphasize its point, the demon thrust his hands up, shattering the handcuffs.
"Think again, dirt bag," Dean responded. As he did, he pointed at the ceiling.
Unbelieving the demon cast Sam's eyes upward. Clearly painted on the bare boards was a pentagram.
The demon screamed, its voice inhuman as it stormed around the inside of the circle. Their eyes big with fear and shock, the CHP officers and the fireman backed away from the scene.
"Here," Dean thrust his dad's journal into Johnny's hands. "Can you read Latin?"
"What?" It was very hard to concentrate with the demon raging a few short feet away.
"Can you read Latin?" Dean demanded. He could do this on his own but would take pretty much any help he could get.
"No," Johnny responded. He had to learn the name of the muscle groups when he was taking his paramedic training but that was the extent of his knowledge.
"I can," Jon stepped in. "I used to be an altar boy."
"Great." Dean handed him the journal. "Start reading from here. Keep reading it over and over until I tell you otherwise. Don't lose your place and make sure you pronounce each word properly."
Jon scanned the words to make sure he knew how to pronounce them before nodding his head in agreement.
"Go keep an eye on your partner. He's probably not going to appreciate any of this," Dean instructed Johnny.
Opening the nylon bag, Dean pulled out the candles, incense and holy water. "Are you ready?" he asked Jon who was standing nervously by. Desperately he hoped all of this was an elaborate hoax, the CHP officer nodded his head. "Start reading."
Time stopped. Or so it seemed to the observers in the room. Jon, his head down to keep from being distracted, was carefully reading the text Dean had given him. Dean had placed the candles and incense in the prescribed spots for the ritual and was now sprinkling Sam randomly with the holy water.
The screams and shrieks emanating from Sam increased in frequency and intensity. His face contorted as the demon's true face was forced to the surface. It made the hair on the back of Johnny's neck stand up on end. Even his native ancestry and his people's reliance on the spirit world hadn't prepared him for the scene playing out before him.
Beside him Roy moaned softly and showed signs of coming around. Ripping his eyes away from Dean and Sam, Johnny turned his attention to his partner. Roy appeared to be having a bad dream. His dark blond hair was plastered to his head with sweat, his face was contorted like Sam's and he was breathing heavily. Unsure whether he really wanted to wake him in case he really was like Sam, Johnny continued to watch him closely as the rest of the ceremony played out.
Watching his brother's skin boil where the holy water struck him was almost more than Dean could take. Quickly, he shoved his empathy for Sam deep in the recesses of his mind. This needed to be done. If he couldn't wrestle the demon loose the only other option was killing him. If it took Dean's last breath he was not going to let that happen.
Sweating profusely, despite the chill in the cabin air, Dean listened to Jon reciting the words. He repeated the ones he needed before sprinkling Sam with the holy water. The face of the demon was especially terrifying but Dean continued on, ice running through his veins.
Overwhelmed, not knowing what else to do, Bruce snuck out of the cabin. In a heartbeat he was at the car and checking to see if it was locked. In his haste, Dean had left his pride and joy open. Slipping behind the steering wheel, Bruce reached underneath and pulled some wires loose. He doubted that hot wiring a car was an admirable skill in a CHP officer but it sure came in handy. Within seconds, Bruce was backing the car slowly away from the cabin, its headlights off. Once he figured he was far enough away to not be overheard and seen Bruce turned around, gunned the car and headed down the dirt road.
With a final scream, his head tilted as far back as it would go; the demon launched itself out of Sam's tortured body. Now nothing more than a dark cloud, the demon raced around inside the circle, looking for a way out. Shaking with fatigue, Dean caught up his shot gun. Aiming carefully so that he didn't accidently hit the slumped Sam, he fired. As the rock salt struck it, the demon disappaited and vanished completely.
In the deafening silence that followed Jon lifted his head and glanced around. "Is that it?" He asked.
"For this one," Dean replied. Carefully, he pulled his little brother to his feet and manoeuvred him onto the couch. For his part, Sam barely had the strength to open his eyes. Once he was on the bed he fell instantly asleep.
"Is it dead?" Johnny asked. Now that the ceremony was over Roy was resting more comfortably.
"Not likely." Dean paused by Roy's bed, uncovered him and began to pull him to his feet. The paramedic appeared to be unconscious or deeply asleep. "At best it's dead, at worse it's been sent back to hell for a little while."
"What are you doing?" Johnny asked. Before Dean had a chance to answer Roy pushed him. Taken unaware, Dean sprawled backward as Roy tried to make a break for the cabin door.
Scrambling to his feet, Dean brushed by Johnny on his way to intercept the running fireman. The scent of sulphur was thick in the air. Roy was stopped dead, however, by a tackle from Jon that sent them both tumbling to the floor. The coffee table shattered as they landed on it.
Suddenly Roy seemed to be all arms and legs as he desperately tried to break Jon's hold on him. Just as the CHP officer couldn't hold on any longer, Dean joined the melee and managed to pull the struggling fireman onto the metal chair. Breathing hard he produced another set of handcuffs and securely fastened a snarling Roy. Exhausted, he backed out of the circle.
"Where's Bruce?" Jon asked. He'd just noticed the disappearance of his subordinate.
"Maybe he couldn't handle it," Johnny suggested. He was hovering as close to Roy as he could get without breeching the circle of protection.
"He took your car," Jon added. In truth, he was surprised by the younger man's actions. He knew he was in a place beyond the realm of his usual world but he could not deny what he'd seen. A hospital was not going to help the firefighter. His partner was undoubtedly going to get help. Hopefully they could get this done before they arrived. From the looks of Dean, though, he wasn't sure the other man had enough energy to do the ritual again.
"Damn it!"Dean strode over to the window to confirm the absence of his car. His baby. His pride and joy. He knew that the keys for his car were in the pocket of his leather jacket. That meant the CHP officer had hotwired it. Groaning inwardly, Dean tried to push the thought of how much time and effort that was going to take to fix out of his mind. Quickly he calculated how much time they had before someone broke down the door. Not nearly enough.
A glance at the snarling Roy and Dean knew he had to try. He paused long enough to take a drink of water and swallow an energy bar or two. Reasonably revived, he offered the water bottle to Jon. "Are you ready to go again?" he asked.
"I've got the easy part," Jon responded. "The question is, are you ready?"
"As ready as I'll ever be," Dean answered. He replaced the half melted candles and incense with new ones and refilled the shaker with holy water. "Now."
The ritual progressed slowly. The demon was much more determined to remain within the fire fighter's body. It alternated between snarling and yelling obscenities at Dean and Jon and begging Johnny to stop it. That he was hurting him and Roy didn't know how much more he could take.
At one point Johnny nearly crossed the circle but Dean caught him at the last minute and pulled him back. "Watch the door. Let us know if anyone's coming," he growled before continuing the ritual.
Unnerved and scared for his friend, Johnny shuffled over to the front window. Peering out through the sheers, he tried to block out Roy's screams and pleading.
Outside the cabin, the forest was losing some of its gloom. Johnny checked his watch. The sun had risen nearly twenty minutes ago. In the tall trees, the sun wouldn't really be making itself known for several more minutes but at least it would make it harder for anyone to sneak up on them. Johnny hoped. Briefly the thought of how very pissed off Cap was going to be with him came to mind.
Johnny could only imagine the scenarios that had come to his boss's mind when they found the ruined squad. The jibes from Chett weren't going to be a lot of fun either. Somehow, though, Johnny doubted that either one of them would believe what really happened.
Gradually, Roy's screams lessened. Johnny wasn't sure if it was because the demon was losing its hold or if Roy was simply too exhausted to manage anything else. As much as he wanted to look, he didn't dare. Instead he concentrated all the harder on scanning the woods.
Dean had had to pause once so far to refill the holy water and was nearing the end of that amount. His voice hoarse, he continued to try to pull the demon out of the older firefighter. The CHP officer was having similar difficulties with his own voice but he didn't stop or mispronounce a single word.
Just as the last drops of holy water flowed out of the shaker, Roy bent his head back and the demon burst forth from his mouth. This one had a more solid appearance but it was completely black, about the size of a man with more of a bat shape. While Dean reached for the shot gun, it flew around the circle of protection every molecule of it searching for a way out.
Taking careful aim, Dean pulled the trigger. Two barrels of rock salt shredded the demon. Shrieking, it slowly vaporized.
Once it was completely gone, Dean stepped into the circle and unlocked the handcuffs. Unconscious, Roy began to slide out of the chair. Jon stepped in and between the two of them they carried the older man to the bed. It only took moments to settle him in then they each found a chair and collapsed into it.
"Is there anyone out there?" Dean asked. Without his Impala there wasn't anywhere for him to go. He couldn't carry Sam and he wasn't leaving without him.
"Not so far," Johnny replied. A sudden urge to look out the back overwhelmed him and he headed across the cabin. On the way, he paused long enough to check on his partner before reaching the back door. Not necessarily superstitious, Johnny was careful not to step within the circle, just in case. Maybe Bruce got lost, he thought as he scanned the forest at the back of the cabin.
"I'll keep an eye out front," Jon stated. Not really physically tired, he none the less was nearly mute, his voice was so hoarse. Cautiously he situated himself beside the window so that he could keep watch.
Faintly through the trees Jon could have sworn he heard a siren. Before he could be positive the sound vanished to be replaced by the tapping of a wood pecker.
"What happens when the fire department and CHP show up?" he asked. He didn't think there was a criminal code for performing an exorcism so he had no legal reason to detain the brothers.
"I get my car back," Dean responded with certainly.
"And after that?" Johnny prompted.
"Sam and I go on our merry way." They still had to deal with the demon but both of them needed to rest first. Besides, he wasn't telling these people that he had to kill something that would probably leave a body behind.
"Stay here," Jon said. As casually as he could manage, Jon stepped out of the front door and paced down the driveway. A moment ago he'd seen a flash of light reflected off metal. He didn't want anyone crashing through the cabin door with their guns blazing.
The gravel driveway curved twenty feet ahead to the right. Beyond that point it disappeared because of the dense stand of trees between the cabin and the rest of the road. His uniform boots crunching loudly on the gravel, Jon took several deep breaths. The smell of aspen trees, the occasional fir and the dense undergrowth was wonderful after the sweaty, fear filled confines of the cabin. It was definitely better than the asphalt he was used to riding his bike on.
The hair on the back of his neck stood straight up as Jon paced around the bend. Images of SWAT teams and riot squads bunched behind the tree trunks kept flashing through his mind. At any moment he half expected shots to ring out.
Two more strides and he cleared the bend. What he found was anticlimactic. The Impala was parked 10 yards away from him, behind that were Engine 51 and an ambulance. Bruce popped his head up from behind the car, looking a little sheepish with his revolver in his hand.
"Where's Firemen Gage and DeSoto?" the captain demanded as he climbed out of the cab of the fire engine. His face was dark with anger.
"In the cabin," Jon answered simply. Bruce had holstered his weapon and moved to join his partner.
"I'm sorry," he stated. "They seemed like the lesser of the two evils."
"You're probably right. Bring the vehicles." Not waiting for their response. Jon turned and headed back to the cabin.
"Is it over?" Bruce asked. He'd left the Impala to the firemen to drive. There were too many questions to be asked and Jon wasn't showing any inclination to climb on board the car.
"Yes," Jon answered.
As he rounded the corner he found Johnny standing on the porch, looking a little apprehensive.
"Are they okay?" Bruce continued.
"Seem to be." Behind them the vehicle tires crunched in the gravel. "What did you tell them?"
"That our units were damaged so we had to hitch a ride. I didn't mention anything about spirits but I had to make up some excuse. I said they'd been infected by something in the cave and needed medical attention." The marginally shorter officer had to take three steps for every two steps Jon took. By the time they reached the cabin door, he was slightly out of breath.
As soon as the engine began to stop Captain Stanley bound out of it and strode up to his junior paramedic. "What the hell's going on here?!" he demanded. When squad 51 hadn't reported in within 2 hours and they couldn't raise them on the radio, Captain Stanley had half the city of Los Angeles looking for them. His concern had only increased when the vandalized squad and the two motor bikes were found.
"Ah," Johnny responded, temporarily stunned by the fury in Stanley's eyes."It's kind of hard to explain."
"Where's Roy?" Captain Stanley knew that of the two paramedics Roy DeSoto was the more mature and reliable.
"He's in the cabin, Cap. He's going to need to go to the hospital." Johnny had to back pedal to get out of his captain's way. Warily, the two ambulance attendants were waiting until the all clear signal was given.
"What's been going on here?" Captain Stanley paused long enough to scan the interior of the cabin. His frown deepened when he spotted the pentagram on the ceiling.
"It's kind of hard to explain," Johnny repeated. Regaining his confidence, he slipped around his captain and strode to Roy's side. "But I deemed the treatment was necessary."
Captain Stanley peered over Johnny's shoulder at Roy's pale, sweaty face. Luckily most of the welts from the holy water were pretty much gone.
"Who are they?" he asked, indicating Sam and Dean. None of this was sitting well. If Roy were conscious he'd be demanding answers from him.
"They helped us after the squad was wrecked."
"Who trashed the squad?" He wasn't looking forward to filling out the mountains of paperwork that were going to be involved in getting a replacement.
"We don't know. We were on a rescue down the cliff at the time," Johnny responded.
"Who were you rescuing?" The log for all of this ought to be entertaining to read in nothing else came of this.
"Me," Dean volunteered. "Only I didn't need rescuing."
"Was he with you when the equipment was smashed?"
"Fine. Let's get Roy out of here," Captain Stanley ordered. "What about him?" With a flick of his gloved thumb, he indicated Sam, still sound asleep on the couch.
"He's just tired," Dean stepped in before Johnny had a chance to say anything. The last place either Winchester wanted to spend their time was in a hospital. Too many bad things happened there.
Johnny risked a glance at the older brother before agreeing with him. Being a paramedic, he would prefer to have Sam in a hospital so he could be rehydrated with IVs and checked over to make sure there was no permanent damage done. However, he knew instinctively that the brother had a great deal more experience at all this and so he left the decision up to Dean. "Yeah, he'll be fine after a few more hours of rest."
"Is that your professional opinion, Gage?" That fishy feeling had been intensifying the entire time he'd been inside the cabin. Stanley desperately wanted to believe Johnny. Past experience wouldn't let him, though.
"All right." Admitting defeat, Stanley gave the okay signal to Chet who'd been waiting in the doorway. Slipping outside, Chet signalled the ambulance attendants and stepped aside to give them room.
Within minutes, Roy was loaded onto the gurney, a blanket wrapped around him, and was on his way out the door. Johnny paused and looked at Dean, unsure of what to say.
"We'll be fine," Dean stated, not liking the possibility of a chick flick moment.
"Will you be here tonight?" Johnny wasn't sure why but he was suddenly concerned for them.
"If you ever need help." Johnny pulled out a business card from a small metal case in his belt. Usually they gave the cars to irate patients that demanded their information. "Give me a call."
"Thanks." To appease the paramedic, Dean slid the card into the pocket of his jacket.
"Gage!" the captain bellowed from outside.
Without saying another word, Johnny left. Bruce and Jon were sitting in the cab of the engine. The door to the ambulance remained open as they waited for the paramedic to climb aboard. Securely shutting the door behind him, Johnny settled onto the bench beside Roy and accepted the offered stethoscope. The ambulance attendant moved into the front passenger seat to give Johnny room to work.
With practiced ease, Johnny checked Roy's vital signs. All were high normal but still normal. His partner's continued unconsciousness made him nervous. Who knew what kind of damaged having a demon shoe-horned into your body could do. Dean didn't seem too worried, but he'd been through it before. For Johnny it was nerve-wracking. What kind of questions was the hospital going to ask? How was he going to explain all this in the report he was going to have to fill out? Feeling defeated, Johnny rested his hand on Roy's nearest arm and waited for the trip to end. He should have gotten on the radio and let Rampart know they were coming but he wanted to extra time to think.
"What happened?" That was the very first question Dr. Brackett barked as they were wheeling Roy into the emergency department of Rampart General Hospital.
"We were on a rescue," Johnny hedged. He was no closer to coming up with a plausible explanation. "His vital signs are high normal with no signs of physical trauma but he hasn't woken up."
"What was going on just before he lost consciousness?" Dr. Brackett had guided the gurney into exam 2 and waited for Johnny and the ambulance attendants to get into position so they could transfer Roy onto the exam table.
In moments of being placed on the table, Dixie had stripped Roy down to his underwear and put a sheet over him. Seeing the elder paramedic like this really threw her. She'd seen Johnny on this very same bed a couple of times, but never Roy.
"You haven't answered my question, John," Bracket reminded him.
For a brief moment Johnny again considered making up a story but under the intense blue-eyed gaze of the head doctor he just couldn't. In seconds the entire story poured out of him. When he got to the part about performing the exorcism Dr. Brackett's face darkened in anger but he remained silent until the young paramedic wound down to a stop.
"Are you serious?"
Now that it was all over, Johnny was a little ashamed of his participation in the whole event. Not looking up, he nodded his head yes. Muttering under his breath about hare-brained schemes, Dr. Brackett turned back to Roy. The attendants had exited the room with their gurney leaving Johnny alone with Dixie and Dr. Brackett. Quickly the doctor checked Roy's vitals.
"Let's start an IV. D5W, slow drip, and get some blood for labs. I want a complete work up," he instructed his nurse. Roy's skin was cold and clammy but otherwise he was not exhibiting any real symptoms of disease or injury. Judging from what Johnny had described, he would have expected some shock but even that didn't explain his lack of consciousness.
With practiced ease, Dixie had the IV set up, the catheter inserted and the liquid flowing in a few minutes. She'd paused to extract a small quantity of Roy's blood so she could send it to the lab before hooking up the IV. She loved Johnny to death but she didn't envy his current position. Dr. Brackett could be very hard headed and judgemental at times, especially when his hackles were raised, like now. Silently, she slipped out of the room to take the blood to the lab.
"I can't believe you let this happen," Dr. Brackett finally said. He was very concerned about Roy. There was no telling what kind of damage had been done during the bizarre ceremony Johnny had described.
"You had to be there, Doc. I didn't believe any of it either until I saw that guy's head turn to the back," Johnny tried to defend himself.
"That was just a trick of the light. It was dark out when it happened." Thanks to his training, Dr. Brackett knew that it was anatomically impossible for the human head to turn that far without resulting in death.
"There were street lights. I saw what I saw, Dr. Brackett. Officers Baker and Nelson witnessed it all too."
"All right, all right." Kelly Bracket held up a hand to forestall any further explanations. He was not in the mood to fight with the younger man. He did, however, make a mental note to track down the two officers and get their side of this.
"What's taking those labs?" To distract himself, he stalked over to the phone, punched in the number for the lab and spent a few moments growling at the tech who answered.
Ignoring the raging doctor, Johnny moved over to stand beside Roy. His partner suddenly looked so small and vulnerable. Johnny hated it. Absently, he pulled the sheet up until it rested just below Roy's chin. "Well, buddy, I sure hope you come out of this," he said quietly. He hoped that Roy could still hear him. "If you don't I'll have to break in a new partner."
"He may look bad, John," Dr. Brackett began, finally feeling sorry for the younger man's experiences. He knew the type of friendship the two men shared, always needling each other about having to train a new partner if anything happened to either of them. Otherwise he might have taken offense at the last statement. "But so far the labs are coming back clean. Whatever's going on doesn't appear to be physical in nature."
"Somehow that's not very comforting."
When the rest of the lab results came back clear, Dr. Bracket had Roy moved up to a private room. Still mystified, he went down to his office and began to do research. For his part, Johnny sat beside Roy for several hours but there was no change in his condition.
"Why don't you go home and get some rest, Johnny?" Dixie startled the young paramedic awake by placing a hand on his shoulder. "We'll let you know if anything changes."
Groggy, Johnny ran his hands over his face before checking his watch. It had been three days and they were no closer to finding out what was wrong with Roy. Johnny had been by his side the entire time. Dixie had to bring meals in to him, otherwise Johnny would have starved. "Thanks, Dixie. I've got to go to the station, pick up my car and change. After that I'll be on my cell."
With one last glance at his sleeping partner, Johnny left. It felt like he was abandoning Roy. But he was grubby beyond belief and starting to smell badly. He wasn't doing either of them any good this way.
It felt kind of strange taking a taxi to Station 51 but without the squad he didn't have much choice. The other members of station 51 had spent most of their off hours at the hospital in the waiting rooms but today A shift was on. Paying the driver, he climbed out and trudge up the driveway toward the side door. Inside he found a brand new squad sitting beside Engine 51.
"Hey, Johnny, you look like crap." The voice was Chet's. As always, he loved to state the obvious.
"The hospital has been keeping us posted on Roy's condition," Mike Stoker stated. The other firemen, including the two paramedics who'd been called in to cover for Roy and Johnny crowded into the garage from the common room.
"There hasn't been any change. Look, guys, I know you're concerned but I just need to take a shower, get changed and go home." He really wasn't in the mood to be subjected to an inquisition.
"You're going to have to fill out your shift report, John," Captain Stanley reminded him. At the exhausted pallor that spread over the younger man's face he relented. "Write it out long-hand and type it up next time you're in.
"Speaking of which, Battalion has instructed me to take you and Roy off the rotation for the next six days. After that we'll have to see. Go home, get some rest."
It felt like it had been years since he'd last seen his apartment. Johnny slipped out of his jacket, tossed it over the nearest chair and headed for the kitchen.
Thank God for leftovers, he thought as he ravenously finished the pizza he'd ordered 5 nights ago followed by the chicken from the day before that. Washing it all down with a beer, he moved into the living room and sprawled on the couch. For a brief moment he considered reaching for the TV remote but he was asleep before the thought could reach his muscles.
What's thatJohnny thought groggily.
Damn. Sitting bolt upright in the couch, he managed to get his cell phone off of his belt before it stopped ringing.
"Yeah?" he croaked into the mouthpiece. Normally an early riser, he felt like he was moving through a vat of molasses.
"Fireman Gage?" the voice was very familiar. "Dean. I need to ask you one question. Has your partner woken up yet?"
"No," Johnny replied as he tried to overcome his surprise. "The hospital would have called if he had."
"Neither has Sam. We need to deal with the main demon. The ones we exorcised weren't the ones in control."
"You said that it was over." Johnny was hoping desperately that he was still asleep and this was a bad dream. He though he was done with demon hunting.
"I was wrong."
"What do you want?"
"I need your help." It was nearly killing the eldest Winchester brother to admit that he couldn't do this on his own.
"I need to check on Roy at the hospital before I agree to anything."
"Fine. Do you have my number?"
A quick check of the display on his cell and Johnny read the number back just in case.
"Call me when you're ready."
The trip to the hospital seemed to take forever. For some reason the LA traffic seemed so much worse than usual. Then it took a few more minutes to find a parking spot for his Jeep.
"How is he?" The first staff member Johnny'd run into was Dixie.
"No change, Johnny. At least you look a bit better," she replied.
"What is Dr. Brackett planning for treatment?" They continued to talk as they made their way through the crowded corridor toward Roy's private room.
"If there's no change by early evening he's going in for surgery to have a feeding tube put in. The IV's will only hold him for so long." The concern in the head nurse's voice belayed the nonchalant expression on her 40 something face.
"He's still no closer to finding out what's wrong, is he?" A feeding tube was a last ditch remedy. It meant that they were preparing Roy for life as a vegetable. Fear began once again to gnaw at Johnny's stomach.
Opening the door to let Johnny into the room, Dixie simply shook her head no. As the paramedic slipped by her, she squeezed his nearest arm and left.
The door closed quietly behind him as Johnny paced over to the small figure on the bed. His heart in his throat, he looked down at the pale face of his partner. Roy looked to be sleeping peacefully but the pale colour and sweatiness of his skin belayed that illusion. Reaching out, he touched Roy's right shoulder. Under his fingers it felt like Roy was trembling slightly.
"Dean?" Johnny had heard the phone click when it had been answered but no one had said anything.
"Just making sure it was you," Dean finally answered.
"I need your help," Johnny wasn't in the mood for niceties.
"That's my line."
"They plan on putting a feeding tube in Roy. That's invasive surgery that he doesn't need."
"Once we kill the lead demon he should wake up. Surgery shouldn't be a problem."
"I'm not willing to take that chance."
"Do you have any sort of plan here, dude?" Dean asked. He hated being anywhere that was so closely monitored as this hospital. Not all of the authorities had understood why certain demons or other supernatural beings had to be dispelled or killed. He wasn't necessarily on the FBI's most wanted list but he also wasn't exactly unknown to them either.
"Not necessarily." Johnny couldn't believe he was even considering kidnapping his friend. If anything happened to Roy as a result of him taking him out of the hospital, he was never going to be able to forgive himself. "Stay here."
"Why?" that didn't really seem like the best plan.
"I'm known here. If I'm found picking up supplies it won't cause as much suspicion as if you do it." Johnny glanced out the door and then left.
Uncomfortable in the room, Dean hated hospitals, he paced the entire time John was gone. Occasionally he'd steal a glance at the still form of Roy but otherwise ignored the unconscious fireman. An eternity later, the door opened and Johnny pushed a gurney into the room.
"Wouldn't a wheel chair have been less obvious?" Dean asked.
"This way we don't have to tie him in and we can hide his face. Roy's too well known to try to slip him out any other way. Here," Johnny threw a scrub top at Dean. "Help me get him dressed. I'm not taking Roy out of here in a hospital gown."
"I don't dress guys." Dean's borderline homophobia was showing through. The only guy he'd ever helped dress was his brother, starting when he was a year and a half old.
"You fight demons without blinking an eye but you're afraid of touching an unconscious man??" Johnny couldn't believe what he was hearing.
Grumbling, Dean pulled the covers off Roy, rolled him over to untie the gown and pulled it off. Johnny pulled the scrub pants up over his legs and underwear before disconnecting the IV so Dean could get the shirt over his head and arms. Gently, they moved Roy from the bed to the gurney then flipped him onto his stomach. Johnny braced his head with pillows so that he didn't suffocate, and then he pulled a sheet and a blanket over him. Lastly, he reconnected the IV and slipped the bag under the blanket.
"I'm parked by the freight elevators. I'll leave first and lead the way. Just don't get too close."
"Whatever you say." This seemed pretty hare-brained but he didn't have any other ideas. He did stop long enough to put the pillows under the blankets on the bed so it looked occupied.
As soon as he opened the door, Johnny knew his goose was cooked. Dixie was standing right in his way, a tray in her hand that she appeared to be intent on taking inside Roy's room. His heart plummeted to somewhere around his knees.
"Hi, Johnny," she said, an easy smile playing across her features.
"Ah, hi, Dix." Johnny was trying to keep her from seeing inside but from the dismayed expression that had replaced the smile, he'd been unsuccessful.
"John Gage. What do you think you're doing?!"
Quickly, Johnny pulled her into the room. "I can explain," he began. Dean stood his ground, loose scrubs pulled over top of his street clothes so he blended in better.
"You'd better start," she said, taking in the bed and the gurney.
"I know what's wrong and how to make Roy better. It may take longer than the few hours we have until Dr. Brackett wants to perform the surgery. If I'm successful, he won't need it." Not one to make a lot of sense when he was nervous, he hoped desperately that Dixie could decipher what he'd said.
"What's wrong with him?" Dixie wanted to know. If this had been anyone but Johnny Gage she would have called security by now.
"Ah." Feeling silly, Johnny glanced at Dean for moral support. All he got was an impassive look. "We got the demon out of him but not the leader. Once we deal with it Roy should be fine."
"What do you mean 'deal with it'?" Dixie moved over to the gurney and did a quick check of the blond man's vital signs.
"We'll salt it, send it back to hell," Dean filled in. Civilians tended to get upset when words like 'kill' came into conversations.
"What do you mean 'salt it'?" Dixie was beginning to think she should be calling security even if it was Johnny.
"Dixie," Johnny jumped in before Dean could say what was on his mind. From the look on his face, it wasn't good. "Please. Trust me. Roy'll never wake up otherwise."
The desperation in Johnny's brown eyes was enough to convince her. Taking a deep breath she steeled herself for what was to come. "I could lose my job for this," she muttered as she pulled Roy's blanket down and, with help from Johnny, rolled the elder paramedic onto his back.
"Not if he recovers," Johnny assured her. Once Roy was resettled, he pulled the blanket back up.
"This had better work, Johnny. If it were anyone but Roy I would have you committed to the psych ward. Be the orderly, follow me." Still muttering quietly to herself, Dixie led Johnny out of the room and held the door open so Dean could get the gurney through.
"Thank you, Dixie," Johnny said quietly as he passed her.
"I'm taking this patient down to x-ray," Nurse McCall called to the nurses' station. The nurse on duty didn't even look up; she just nodded her head and kept entering data onto the computer keyboard.
In the elevator the three of them stood around the gurney in silence. Other people tried to board only to find that there wasn't enough room.
As the doors opened on the main floor, Johnny held the door open while Dixie and Dean wheeled Roy out. "Where to?" Dixie asked.
"I'm near the freight elevator."
It took a little planning but between the three of them they got Roy situated in the back seat of Johnny's Jeep. "Good luck," Dixie said. Without a backward glance she pushed the gurney back toward the hospital.
"I'll bring my car around," Dean said. "He should be fine in the motel room with Sam."
Luckily Sam and Dean tended to stay at the seedier motels so two men carrying an unconscious man into a room really didn't raise any eyebrows. The room was a little dark and dingy but Johnny figured it really wouldn't matter much to Roy. Once he was situated on the other bed, Johnny checked both men's vital signs. Both were in stable condition but Dean was showing signs of early dehydration. Quickly, he put in an IV. That done, he and Dean moved over to the small kitchen set a few steps away. On the table was an open laptop.
"Do you know what you're doing?" Johnny asked, running a hand through his dark hair nervously. He had a lot riding on this working, including his career and his best friend's life.
"Piece of cake." Dean's confident tone didn't quite make it up to his hazel eyes. In the dim light Johnny didn't notice.
"Where do we start?"
"Back at the cave. It may still be there, if not, we'll track it from there."
"When do we start?"
The trip back to the curve on Mulholland Drive was made in silence, each man trapped in their own worlds of worry. Rather than risk falling down the cliff face again, Dean drove around until he found access to the area they wanted and parked at the bottom. The sun was only two hours from setting. The winter day was warmer than usual so neither man needed more than the jackets they wore.
Throwing the car into park, Dean pulled the keys out of the newly fixed ignition and climbed out of the car. Without a word, he headed to the trunk and popped it. As Johnny came around to join him, Dean lifted up the trunk covering to reveal hidden storage underneath. Inside were several forms of weapons, lights, climbing gear and other items the young fireman didn't recognize. Dread seeped into his gut.
"Here." Dean thrust a handgun and a shotgun into Johnny's hands. "You do know how to use those, don't you?"
"Just point and shoot, right?" Johnny didn't really like the other man's condescending attitude. While growing up on the reserve Johnny had used his fair share of fire arms to shoot gophers and the occasional coyote. It had been a while but the mechanics were still the same.
"Smart ass," Dean muttered under his breath. He took a handgun and shotgun for himself, extra ammo and anything else he thought they might use were stashed in a nylon backpack. Lastly, he handed Johnny a flashlight and took one himself before he shut the trunk.
The trek up to the cave was a lot harder than the trek down had been. Scrambling among the trees and underbrush, the two men scaled the steep incline. By the time they reached the plateau where the cave was both had to stop to catch their breath.
The plateau looked different in daylight but the cave entrance was unmistakeable. Dean led the way. The two men entered the darkness beyond. After the bright sunlight even with the flashlights it took a moment or two for their eyes to adjust.
Systematically, they searched each branch off the main entrance. Some of them dead ended within a few yards, others twisted and turned and required quite a bit of time to explore. The sun had long since set when they reached the main cave.
The flashlight beam created eerie looking shadows that set Johnny's nerves on edge. A thorough search didn't come up with any demons. Wordlessly, they headed down the entrance to the right of the one they'd exited from. Dean marked the entrance that they'd come out of to make sure they didn't get lost.
"This is going to take forever," Johnny said. This was the third branch off of the main chamber. It seemed to last for a long time as it slowly descended into the bowls of the cliff. "Sam and Roy don't have any time to waste."
"Sssshhh!" Dean agreed whole-heartedly with the fireman's frustration. All Sam had had since being possessed was some soup broth that he'd managed to dribble into his mouth. He was scared. The thought of losing his little brother was almost more than he could bear. Swallowing bile, he concentrated harder.
Dimly somewhere ahead the experienced hunter could just make out a shuffling sound. Motioning Johnny on with a wave of his hand, Dean continued. The cave floor was getting rockier and wetter. Moisture was collecting on the ceiling. The further they went the water drops turned into stalactites and stalagmites. The corridor was widening every few yards and they had to climb over a few of the larger formations.
Just ahead, beyond a bend in the corridor, Dean heard the sound again. As much as he wanted to turn the flashlights off, they made them perfect targets; Dean knew they'd be in the dark without them. Slowing, he carefully made his way over the next formation and began to inch around the curve.
In the blink of an eye, Dean felt a powerful pressure on his chest then he was flying sideways into the corridor wall. As he made contact with the hard surface, all his breath rushed out of his body, leaving him stunned. Johnny didn't even have a chance to react before the demon was on him. It struck him across the face with enough force to stun an elephant.
Johnny's head snapped to the side, his lip and nose spurting blood as the young firefighter struggled to remain conscious. He didn't even feel it as his body slumped against the opposite wall.
An inhumane shriek rent the air. Shaking his head to clear the cobwebs, Johnny forced his protesting body into a kneeling position. His right hand searched the waist band of his jeans for the handgun. The world had been reduced to pitch black. Angered by the lights, the demon had shattered both of the flashlights. Just as the gun barrel cleared his clothes, Johnny felt a presence in front of him. Pain unlike anything he'd ever experienced before exploded through his brain.
Ten seconds after hitting the wall, Dean was up again. Off to his left he could make out the sounds of Johnny's struggles with the demon. Cursing under his breath, he felt around in the dark until he found the backpack. Blindly he searched the bag until he found what he needed. A snap and a shake and the corridor was dimly illuminated with a harsh yellow light. The light sticks weren't great but at least it let him distinguish between Johnny and the demon.
The demon had Johnny by the head, trying to wedge one of its children into his mind. Without hesitation, Dean unloaded both barrels of the shotgun into it. Shrieking, it pulled Johnny in front of it as a shield while maintaining its grip on his head.
Levering the empty shells out of the rifle, Dean replaced them and closed the breech. Ignoring Johnny's proximity, the rock salt could hurt like hell but it wouldn't cause any permanent damage to the fireman. He shot again.
The noise of the shotgun in the confines of the corridor was deafening. For several seconds it drowned out the cries of the demon. Injured and angry, it hurled Johnny's limp body at Dean as it tried to escape up the corridor. Dean dropped the shotgun, side stepped Johnny as he landed and went after the demon. The handgun barking with each step he took.
Now on the run, Dean released the empty clip of the handgun, pocketed it and shoved a fresh one home. Cocking it, he continued to shoot at the ever disappearing demon. Just as it seemed to vanish completely, they reached the main chamber. Breathless, Dean used the light stick to search the vaulted ceiling for any sign of the demon. Nothing.
Defeated, he placed his hands on his knees. The light was clutched in his left hand, the gun is his right while he took stock and tried to catch his breath. Oh, Sam, he thought. Blinking unwanted tears from his eyes he stood up.
And was sent sailing one hundred feet to land on his left side. Gasping against the pain, Dean clawed his way back to his feet. The glo-stick skittered ten feet away from his outstretched hand but Dean had managed to keep the handgun. Lying on his back, he braced it with both hands and started shooting.
The demon shrieked as bullets tore through its form. Desperate to escape, it headed for the ceiling trying to blend in with the darkness. This thing has too many hit points, Dean thought as the gun clicked empty. Down to his last clip, he reloaded. The demon had vanished.
"Damn it," he swore. Gingerly, he climbed to his feet and paced over to the glo-stick. As he bent down to retrieve it, the demon appeared directly in front of him. One skeletal hand shot out and grabbed Dean around the neck. Within seconds Dean's feet were no longer touching the ground as the demon grew in size. Struggling against the glacial grip, Dean raised the handgun.
The demon's face was hidden by a hood. Inside the black depths,the elder Winchester thought he heard echoes of hell. Distant screams and moans. Shots rang out as Dean squeezed the trigger. The demon caught hold of the gun, wrenching it from his grip and tossed it. A strange cackling issued from the hood as Dean's vision began to dim and his struggles weaken.
Everything that had seemed so important just a few moments ago suddenly didn't seem to matter. Images of Dean's father and his mother floated behind his closed eyelids. The last thing he saw was his brother's face as he'd last seen him.
A shot rang out.
Dean was jerked as the demon reacted. Startled, it loosened its grip on his throat as a second shot boomed. The demon shrieked as it dropped Dean like a sack of potatoes. It faced the new threat.
A third shot spun the demon around. Out from the folds of darkness appeared a glint of light. A fourth shot and the glint became a gold medallion hung on a gold chain around its neck.
It couldn't be that easy, Johnny thought to himself as he took careful aim. The medallion shattered as the hollow point bullet struck it and exploded. The cave filled with black flame. Instinctively Johnny fell to the ground as it raged for several seconds. Amid the flames multiple voices screamed and shrieked making Dean and Johnny's splitting headaches so much worse.
It seemed to last forever. Johnny wasn't sure he could take any more. The demon's touch had left him feeling like his brain was on fire and now the sounds of its death sent stabbing pains through his eardrums. Screwing his eyes shut, he stuck his fingers in his ears and tried not to pass out.
Through the roaring in his ears as his starved brain demanded oxygen Dean marvelled that they were still alive. The fire and the screams were secondary and felt like they were a long way away. Slowly he rolled onto his back, ignoring his protesting ribs and watched as the flames petered out. With a final gasp, it was gone.
The only sound in the cave was the two men's ragged breathing. Neither of them was immediately able to move. Finally Johnny forced his knees under him and stood up. The glo-stick was just barely lit but he knew where the demon had dropped Dean and headed toward him. His mouth felt like dust but at least his head was no longer pounding and his ears appeared to be recovering as well.
Johnny just managed to keep from collapsing beside the other man as his trembling legs nearly gave out. He wasn't sure if it was relief or a reaction to the pain his body had endured. Shaking his head a little, he decided he didn't really care.
"Are you all right?" he asked as the last light from the glo-stick vanished.
"Yeah." Dean had to pause and lick his dry lips before continuing. "Good shot."
"Maybe I should have been a cop."
In his trek in the dark, Johnny had found both Dean's shotgun and his backpack so once Dean reached his feet they were ready to leave. Another glo-stick lighting their way, Johnny picked up Dean's gun on his way by then he followed the other man out to the fresh air beyond the cave. He was sure than Dean was injured but he showed no indication of letting Johnny examine him.
Outside of the cave, Dean rummaged in the backpack and brought out a canteen. He took a couple of hearty swallows then handed it over to the young fireman.
"Is it really over?" Johnny asked as he handed the half full canteen back.
"We'll see." Without another word, Dean began the descent to where the Impala was parked. It wasn't a lot of fun. Dean figured he had at least one bruised rib from his fall but he'd been through a lot worse. What he really wanted was to see Sam. When they reached the car, the sun had risen in the east.
The trip back to the motel took less time than it should have. Johnny was thankful that they hadn't been stopped for speeding. As the car pulled into the spot in front of the motel room Johnny's heart was in his throat. It was all he could do to keep from bowling the slow moving Dean over in his haste to get in to check on Roy.
Opening the door, Dean was terribly disappointed to find both men sound asleep. Giving in to his pain, he moved over to the nearest chair and sat down heavily on it. What had he missed? Why hadn't it worked?
Thoughts swimming through his mind, Johnny wanted nothing more than to curl up in a dark corner and die. Instead, he walked over to Roy's bed and began to take his pulse. Concentrating on his watch while he timed the heart beats he didn't initially notice movement beyond his hand.
"Where are we?" Roy asked, his voice little more than a whisper. Bewildered, he was blinking his eyes quickly while taking in their surroundings.
Johnny's heart seemed to stop. Slowly, he looked at his partner's face. "Roy?" he asked stupidly. He'd been waiting for this moment for so long he didn't believe that it was happening.
"Who else were you expecting?" Roy asked. He tried to sit up only to find that he was a lot weaker than he remembered being. What was going on? Why were they in this crappy motel room? Who were the other people in the room?
"Here." Johnny went to the sink, filled up a glass and came back. With a little help Roy downed it in a few moments. He couldn't ever remember being this thirsty. "How do you feel?"
"Wiped out," Roy admitted. The water had revived him somewhat but he still felt like he'd been sick for a week.
"Dean?" Sam had woken up. He had no idea who these two guys were and it freaked him out. No matter how old he got, Sam's first response was to look for his brother upon waking.
"Hey, Sammy." Dean tried to appear nonchalant. His knees were weak from relief as he took four steps to reach his kid brother's side. "Good to see you."
The last thing Sam remembered was the demon attacking him. He looked around the motel room and felt more than a little lost. "What's going on?" he asked, nodding his head toward the two firemen.
"I'll explain later." Dean turned to Johnny. "Maybe you should take him to the hospital and get him checked out."
"Aren't you the guy we were trying to rescue off the side of the cliff?" Roy had finally figured out where he'd seen Dean before.
"Come on, partner. Dixie and Dr. Brackett will be waiting for you at Rampart."
"Why am I wearing scrubs?" None of this was making sense. Johnny didn't seem too worried but somehow that only made him more nervous.
"I'll fill you in on the way."
Roy safely bundled in the front seat of his Jeep, Johnny stood by the driver's door and turned to Dean. The elder Winchester was leaning against the motel room's door jam.
"Thank you," he said. At a loss for words to explain how much all of this had meant to him, Johnny fell back to the old standards.
"Don't ever try that alone," Dean warned. He and Sam would be gone five minutes after the firemen left. He wasn't taking any chances that he'd been recognized and reported to the authorities. Sam could rest in the car. It wouldn't be the first time.
Johnny felt the need to say something further but he sensed that it wouldn't be appreciated. With a final nod he climbed behind the wheel, started the engine and backed up.
"Why do I feel so strange?" Roy asked as they sped down the freeway.
"You wouldn't believe me if I told you," Johnny replied. He wasn't sure how much detail he was willing to get into with his partner. Roy all ready thought he was some kind of nut most days. Glancing at his friend, Roy decided not to push it for now. He was just too tired to care. In a heartbeat he was sound asleep, his forehead resting against the cool window.
It unnerved Johnny when Roy fell asleep. He was afraid he wasn't going to wake up again. Then he noticed Roy's vastly improved colour and that he wasn't sweating. No, this time he was just sleeping. Relieved, he concentrated on his driving for the long trip to Rampart.
Despite Roy's grumbling, Johnny loaded him into a wheel chair and rolled him into the emergency entrance. As they made their way through the crowded corridors, Roy realized he may never know exactly what happened and that he was okay with that. All he really cared about was getting back to one hundred percent so he could get back to work.
"Roy?!" Dixie wasn't sure which of the conflicting emotions she should feel. Relief, definitely. Dr. Brackett had nearly had a cranial haemorrhage when she told him what she'd allowed to happen. Mingled with that was joy that Roy seemed to be all right. Also flashing through her mind was wonder at his quick recovery as well as suspicion about what Johnny had done.
"Hi,Dixie," Roy replied, a lop-sided grin on his tired face.
Dr. Brackett strode up to them, his face dark with anger. "If you do anything like that again, Gage, I'll report you to the police."
"Hopefully, Dr. Bracket, that won't be a problem." Johnny wheeled Roy into exam two.
A battery of tests later and Johnny was pushing Roy toward his Jeep. Other than being tired, hungry and thirsty there wasn't anything wrong with the senior paramedic that a few days rest wouldn't cure.
"Dr. Brackett was really angry with you," he stated as they rolled across the parking lot.
"Well, I kind of kidnapped you and Dixie helped."
"Why did you kidnap me? Why was I in the hospital to begin with?"
"It's a long story Roy. Maybe someday when we're old and grey I might actually tell you the whole thing."
"Fine. Just take me home, okay? All I want right now is my own bed."
Grinning, Johnny reminded himself to call station 51 and let them know Roy was okay. As well he was going to have to try to write a report on all this. Battalion was never going to believe it but that was okay. Roy was going to be fine after a few days rest, nothing else really mattered. Still grinning, Johnny continued across the parking lot, humming off key.