Claire Appleton started to briskly walk down the street, her heels clicked hard on the sidewalk. It was only two blocks to Barney's, the bar that she had worked at for the past two years. It hadn't been the best job in the world but it made her just enough to pay the rent on her apartment, which was also not the best in the world, but for now, it was her home.
It wasn't as if she'd had any other choice anyway. After her parents had died in the car accident three years ago, she'd had to quit her course at the university. There was no time for education, if she hadn't gone into full-time employment, she would have probably wound up homeless by now.
Her parents had never had any money when they were alive, in fact, the debts that they had run up had meant, that upon their death, their house was seized to pay back the various banks that they had taken loans with. It had left herself and her twin brother no other option then to find somewhere else to live. Somewhere cheap.
But her brother Chris had skipped out after a few months after arriving here in downtown San Fransisco, leaving her completely alone to depend on herself. He'd always been a lazy bastard anyway, not willing to pull his weight, but that was no excuse for the trouble that he had ended up in. For the trouble that he had landed her in.
She remembered clearly how It had all started, when he began hanging out with the two morons who used to loiter outside the apartment building when they had first moved in. One of them went by a nickname, Shark, a tall, very skinny African-American. She had never found out his real name, but eventually, she had at least guessed the reason that he preferred to be named after a dangerous animal. As for the other one, Simon Jennings, a pale scruffy man who always wore baggy jeans, just scared the hell out of her, even before she had found out about the secret that he and Shark shared. The way he would stare at her with intense dark eyes, it almost felt like he was trying to burn a hole within her. And of course, and most importantly, it had been him who had turned her and Chris into what they were.
They had turned Chris first, that was just after he'd moved out of the apartment, but then, the three of them showed up one night, broke down the door, their fangs bared, and came after her. She had tried desperately to escape, had ran to the window planning to get out onto the fire escape, but the damn window was stuck. She'd cursed the landlord's name knowing that she had asked him to get it fixed since they day she had moved in, but of course, he'd made every excuse he could to put it off. If he had only gotten it done, she wouldn't have ended up like this.
So, she had become a rat in a trap. Simon pined her down and made the small bite at the back of her neck. He then bit into his own flesh and pressed the blood against her wound to infect her. She had been convinced at the instant that she had started to feel the pain surge through her, that it would end at any moment, but it didn't. Instead, Simon backed away, those eyes, those evil eyes glaring at her. And that is when they told her what she had become. What they had made her into. And that they would get her to join them.
Then they had simply laughed at her before running out of the apartment. Even though she had felt weak, she followed them out into the street. She didn't want to, but it was as if some new instinct had taken over her body and was telling her that she needed to go along with them, but by the time she had caught up, they were in an alley at the side of the building and she discovered that a teenage girl hadn't been as lucky as her.
Chris, Shark and Simon were stood over the body, blood covering their lips. Claire remembered screaming at the sight of the life lost to the monsters before her, left unable to understand what she was seeing, but feeling a sudden intolerable thirst well up inside her. She had felt the need to drink some blood too, but threw up behind a trash can as soon as she realised what her body was telling her to do.
The next thing she knew, she had found herself running back into the building and back up the stairs to her apartment. She stumbled carelessly in her new-found panic, and tripped over, her head smacking into the hard wood floor.
She had woken up in the morning right where she had fallen, left to figure out the magnitude of what had become of her, the weeks and the months that followed filled with research about vampires and desperate attempts to cope.
She hadn't seen them again since that night, but a feeling within her told her that it would only be a matter of time before they showed up again, wanting her to join them in their sick quest to live forever. But ever since the day they had done it, ever since she saw what Shark, Simon, and Chris had done to that poor girl in the alley that night, she had vowed that she would never let herself succumb to the thirst. She would never kill a human being and drink their blood. She would fight it, right to the end.
It had become harder as time had past, to resist the urge, but, she had found out that she could sustain herself enough on animal blood. Luckily, there was a slaughterhouse not from from the apartment, so she would sneak in every few nights to feed. But as much as she needed an alternative way to control her 'condition', she could still easily vomit at the mere thought of it. But it was the only way to survive now, and survive she did. Somehow.
Every day, she maintained the same routine, working to keep her mind off what was happening to her, working to at least appear to be normal. How long she could keep up this facade however, was a question she tried to avoid asking herself, but knew that one day, she would have face what she was. But not yet. She wasn't ready yet. She was only twenty six for God's sake, but had been plunged into this fucked-up situation against her will, her humanity stripped from her cruelly without rhyme or reason.
At the moment, being only half-vampire, she could still manage to hold her head up high knowing that she hadn't committed the same brutal murders that Chris, Shark and Simon had been. How can Chris have let himself become a monster like that? How could he be so disgusting?
A suddenly cold snap of air caught on her skin breaking her away from her memories, and she shivered. She pulled her long black coat more snugly around herself and sighed, but it wouldn't be long until she was indoors now, in fact, Barney's was just around the next corner from where she was.
As she rounded the corner, she put on her bravest face and tried to shake off the bad memories, then reached for the door handle.
Dean Winchester chugged down the last of his beer as he noticed a rather beautiful specimen walk through the door. This bar was okay, except up until now, there had been a severe lack of girls, well at least none that he'd be in a rush to get to know. But this girl caught his attention.
Her long, straight black hair swayed slightly as she walked up to a staff door at the side of the bar, her slender figure accented by the long black coat, although Dean being Dean couldn't wait to see what was underneath. He sighed as she disappeared through the door, only to find himself perking up again when she re-appeared behind the bar a few moments later. Of course now, there was no coat, and he was pleased to see that she was very plentiful up top and was wearing a very sexy low cut top, with a lace trim. He liked women in lace. He smiled to himself, enjoying the view, that was until he felt someone purposefully tap his arm bringing him out of his reverie.
"Dean!" said his brother Sam who was starting to get irritated, "Have you been listening to a single word that I've said?"
Dean fought his manly urges and reluctantly turned his gaze on Sam, "What you say?" he asked stupidly, a weird grin still on his face.
Sam rolled his eyes. Dean was so easily distracted by a pretty girl. It wasn't like Sam didn't have a look himself every once in a while, but at least he could control himself whilst discussing a job, especially one that involved people being killed in the way that they were here in San Fransisco.
"The job Dean. We were supposed to be talking about the job."
"On yeah." Dean shrugged, "But y'know Sammy, theres no harm in doing a little sight seeing as well while we're here." he smirked, his eyes slipping back to look at the barmaid again.
"Dude! Can you just focus!" Sam snapped.
"Okay, okay! Don't get your panties in a bunch collage boy!" Dean huffed as he faced his brother again, his expression thankfully turning more serious, much to Sam's relief. "So what we got so far?"
"Well, the article I read said that the most of the deaths so far had occurred in this immediate area, 10 of which have taken place over the last month alone, one of those last night. The deaths have been increasing over the past couple of years, but of course, the police have never been able to find the culprits and have put it down to a serial killer."
"Yeah, because good old law enforcement don't know what we know about what's really out there."
"Anyway," Sam continued, "I'm guessing that the nest must be really close. That maybe they've been forced to move into a more populated area for some reason or another."
"Yeah, but Sam, where do we start? I mean, theres like hundreds of buildings around here, plenty of places for freaks to hide out."
"Well that's definitely a problem, but if their risking killing so many people in the same area, maybe they will slip up."
"Slip up? What are you, like amateur or somthin'?" Dean said sarcastically.
"Well y'know, maybe we'll get lucky."
Dean started to stand up, the smile from before re-appearing "Well, talking about maybe gettin' lucky..." with that, he made his way over to the bar.
Claire tried not to stare too much at the cute guy as he approached the bar. It wasn't as if there was much point in getting any ideas, she couldn't allow herself to get mixed up with that kind of thing anyway, in case someone found out the truth about her. Getting close to anyone would be a big mistake, even for one-nighters, which this guy looked like he'd probably go for. Guys this good looking wern't the type to get serious and settle down with anyone.
"Can I get two more beers please?" he said smiling as he reached her. He slapped down some dollar bills.
"Yeah sure." she answered stepping over to the cooler and removing two bottles. She opened the tops, then handed them to him.
"So would it be totally corny if I was to ask what a nice girl like you was doin' workin' in a dive like this?" he said.
Claire grinned, amused, "Look, I don't date customers, if that's what your getting at. Sorry."
"Well that's good seeing as this is the only time that I've ever been in here, and probably won't be comin' back. So I don't think I'm qualified to be called a customer." he smiled, "Names Dean by the way."
"Well Names Dean, I'm not interested." she took his money and went to the register to ring it up.
"How can you know you're not interested when you havn't even given me a chance yet?" Dean asked hopefully.
Claire met his eyes again. Damn him! His presence was starting to give her certain urges. Urges that she knew she would just have to keep on fighting. It was just a case of finding the right words to put him off without coming off as a total bitch. "Well thing is, if your not going to be coming by this way any more, that can only mean one thing, Dean. You'll make me feel like the luckiest gal alive tonight, but then in the morning, you'll take off leaving me feeling like a used whore." she said with humour.
"Not the way I do my lovin'." he said, still smiling in a very seductive way. His words were laced with temptation, reeling her in as every moment rolled by. "So anyway, you didn't tell me you're name."
"It's Claire, and did any one ever tell you that you are way too fast?" she was meaning to say this in a more stand-offish way, but the words came out more friendly then she'd intended.
"Yeah, well I figure life is waaay too short. You never know when your times gonna be up. Gotta make the most of it while we have chance, don't you think?"
This made Claire think about the fact that she actually had all the time in the world. After all, she was immortal now, the only up side of being a vampire, even half of one. But then again, what kind of life would it be if she had to hide away from every guy that she took a shine to? Lonely. That's what it would be like.
She hadn't realised that her expression had changed so dramatically while she had been mulling these thoughts over until Dean spoke up again.
"Claire? Are you okay?" he asked with a concerned tone.
"I'm fine." she lied. "Look, I have to get back to work or my boss will be on my back." this time her tone was harsh. She turned her back to Dean and began to busy herself by wiping down the counter under the line of optics.
"Well I guess that tells me then." she heard Dean mutter as he walked away.
This just wasn't fair. She liked him so much, but it wouldn't have been fair on him to take things any further. His life would be in danger around her, and she really didn't want him to wind up as her first kill.
Just then someone walked through the door and Claire looked up from the now over-clean surface to see who had entered. What she saw sent shivers of horror through her. It was Chris. He was looking through the crowd of customers, searching.
Nervously, she tried to make an exit from behind the bar, heading quickly towards the staff door hoping that he hadn't seen her. But just as she reached for the handle, she felt a hand grip her by the wrist tightly. She turned her head cautiously to meet Chris' eyes.
"I need to talk to you sis." he said in a strangely gentle voice.
"Please, you have to go." she whispered, "I can't have anything to do with you any more..."
"But I need your help. I want to change Claire. I hate what I've become."
"Don't you think that it's a little late?"
"At least give me a chance to explain myself."
"What's there to explain?" she quickly looked around to make sure that nobody was close enough to hear before she continued, "You've killed people. How can you expect me to listen to anything you have to say!"
"I want to be like you now...I don't wanna hurt anyone any more. You've managed to stop yourself...teach me how."
"How do I know I can trust you Chris? What you did...what those friends of yours did..."
"They're gone. Took off so we won't be bothered by them any more. It will be just you and me, like before."
"Please," he interrupted, "give me a chance."
Claire was lost for words. Even though Chris had murdered innocent people, looking into his eyes right now she could almost see the brother that he had been before all of their troubles had begun."
"Can we go somewhere private and talk about this?" he begged.
Though she still wasn't entirely sure wether it was a good idea or nor, she found herself nodding in agreement.
"Outside." she ordered, leading him through the door.
They walked silently through the back, past the small kitchen and outside to an enclosure where the trash cans were kept.
"Can you forgive me?" Chris asked eventually.
"How can I, Chris? You and your dumb ass friends turn me into this....this thing, then you go off drinking people's blood!"
"But its so much fun Claire." said a voice from the shadows.
Claire turned to see Simon and Shark step out from behind the trash, smirking at her.
"What the hell is this? Chris? she turned to face her brother again, only to discover that his expression had changed from that of the brother she'd just spoken to inside, into the monster that he really was now. She tried to duck past him, but he shoved her up against the wall.
"I'm sorry I had to do this Claire, but if you'd joined us when you had the chance..." Chris said.
"I knew I shouldn't have trusted you!" she yelled, her whole body shaking.
Simon and Shark were getting closer now, she was trapped.
"Please don't do this..." she begged desperately, the tears starting to fall quickly from her eyes.
"We have to do this Claire," Simon said, "If you won't be one of us, then we will have to kill you."
"So what now?" Dean asked as they left the bar and headed towards the Impala.
"Guess we go back to the motel, do some more research." Sam answered.
"Great!" said Dean sarcastically.
Just then, they heard a loud scream.
Instinctively, they ran in the direction that they had heard it which led them to a fenced off area next to where the Impala was parked up at the back of the building. Peering through a gap, they saw Claire from the bar surrounded by three guys, all of which had fangs and were about to attack her. "Well what do y'know. Guess we found our vamps after all, Sammy." Dean whispered.
"Dean, we need the machetes from the car."
"You go get them while I distract them." with that, Dean kicked at the fence and a section fell away, splinters showering off of it, whilst Sam went to the Impala and opened up the trunk.
The three vampires turned upon hearing that they had company, and turned their attention on Dean. They snarled and crept forwards in a stance ready to pounce across to him.
"Eating out fellas?" Dean asked sarcastically.
"Looks like we are, yes!" Shark said looking at him hungrily.
"Well, sorry to be the one to tell you this, but this hunter ain't on the menu tonight."
Suddenly Sam was at his side, handing him one of the two machetes that he had grabbed from the car.
Without delay, they ran towards the vampires, the moonlight glinting off the silver blades.
The vampires showed fear at the sight of the weapons and started to back away, but Chris tripped over a crate, stumbled and fell to the ground. Simon and Shark quickly climbed the fence at the other side of the enclosure, flinging themselves over.
"I'll go after them, you take care of him!" Sam shouted and ran to the fence climbing over it himself.
Dean held the machete confidently over Chris and was about to swing it at his neck when Claire cried out, "No, don't! Hes my brother!"
Distracted by this information, Dean turned his head to look at her. It gave Chris the chance he needed to get away. He shot to his feet and ran out into the street through the broken fence.
Dean sprinted after him, but as soon as he stepped out to the other side, he'd already gone. He ran a little way up the street, but couldn't find him.
"Damn it!" he shouted in frustration.
"Dean!" came the sound of Sam's voice from behind him. He turned to see his brother running in his direction.
"You okay Sam?"
"Yeah," Sam said breathlessly as he caught up to him, "But I don't know where they went to. They'd already took off before I got over the fence."
"Yeah and I lost the clumsy one."
"Lost him? How? He was right in front of you Dean."
"Yeah well the girl managed to take me by surprise. Turns out that it was her brother. I was about to gank him but she called out for me to stop. When I turned to look at her, he made a run for it."
"Her brother?" Sam asked in astonishment.
"Yeah well they say you can't pick your relatives."
"You know what Dean, this could actually be good news. She might know how to find them."
They made their way back to Claire, who they found huddled up on the ground sobbing.
"Hey Claire," said Dean softly, "You alright?"
Claire looked up at him. Her eyes were red and still full of fright, black smudges of mascara streaked down her cheeks.
"Its gonna be okay, I promise." Dean said when she didn't answer. He crouched down beside her and put a hand on her right shoulder in an attempt to comfort her.
"I...I should have let you kill him, shouldn't I?" she sniffed.
Dean sighed heavily, "Yeah. Won't be doin' anyone any favours if he keeps this up."
"Look Claire," Sam added sympathetically, "Your brother is a vampire. We can't let him, or the other two live. They have to be stopped."
"Who are you two anyway?" she asked them.
"We er, hunt things like your brother." Dean answered.
"We came to San Fransisco after reading about an increasing amount of murders. All of the victims were found completely drained of blood." Sam added.
"They were going to kill me too." Claire admitted, a fresh stream of tears trickling from her eyes.
"Then you need to help us." Sam said.
"How the hell can I help?" she asked defeated.
"Well for a start, you need to tell us if you know where your brother and his two buddies, er live, so to speak." Dean said.
"I...I don't know..." she trailed off. She then regarded Dean with a different expression, "I'm sorry for the way I spoke to you earlier. If I'd known that you were going to save my life tonight..."
"Hey, I've got thick skin. As long as you are alright, that's all that matters." he smiled looking deeply into her eyes. She accepted his attention this time and looked longingly back. Maybe it was the shock of what had just happened to her that was stopping her from putting her guard back up.
After a few moments, Sam let out an awkward cough to get their attention. Reluctantly Dean turned to look up at his brother. "Er Dean, maybe we should take Claire home and discuss all of this there instead."
"Yeah. That's a good idea." Dean agreed. He then stood up and offered his hand to Claire. She took it and let him pull her to her feet.
"I should go tell my boss I'm going." Claire said looking at the back door, "I'll say I'm not feeling well or something."
"Want me to come with you?" Dean offered.
Claire smiled as she wiped her face with the back of her hand, "No, it's okay. Its better if I do it alone, otherwise he might think I'm just blowing off my shift to hang out with you." she realised that she was still holding his hand and forced herself to let go.
"Good point." Dean said. "Once your done, meet us outside by my Chevy."
"Okay." with that, she made her way through the back door, and Sam and Dean made their way back out of the gap in the fence and walked over to the Impala.
"You really like her, don't you?" Sam asked before opening the passenger door, looking at Dean across the top of the car.
Dean paused, a guilty expression on his face, "I guess." he said trying to keep his tone non-committal, but Sam didn't buy it.
"Look. She was just attacked, maybe you should just, y'know, take it easy."
Dean shrugged it off, "Sammy, I always take it easy."
Sam rolled his eyes at his brother trying to understand why he couldn't take these things a little more seriously. "We'll have to kill her brother Dean. That's gonna mess her up and make things a little awkward."
"That ain't her brother any more Sammy. It may look like him, but even Claire realises that hes something else now. And when the time comes, we will get past it."
"We?" Sam asked incredulously, "What is this? Some love at first sight thing?"
"Don't talk bull Sam." Dean snapped in retaliation, though his heart was telling him that his brother was right. Somehow he'd fallen for Claire and felt an overwhelming need to love and protect her. He couldn't explain why he felt like this, it had never happened to him before.
He was saved from further questioning by Sam as they saw Claire walk out of the bar door, her coat wrapped around her.
Sam got into the car as she approached Dean, "Thank you for all of this." she said to him sweetly.
Dean smiled at her, "My pleasure." she looked so venerable standing there like she was, that he so badly wished that he could take her into his arms right now and hold her tightly.
He watched her get into the back seat before opening his own door and sitting himself behind the wheel. He quickly glanced at Sam but he was staring out of his window quietly. Returning his gaze towards the road, he turned his key in the ignition, started the car and drove off.