Disclaimer – I don't own them, I just borrowed them. Numb3rs, Supernatural and associated characters are the property of those that created them. No copyright infringement intended. No financial reward gained. All real organisations are used in a fictional sense. Original characters and the storyline are mine however.
A/N: Written for Clue Challenge #4, October 2009, at hurt_don on LiveJournal. Prompts: Who? – Don. What? – Magic. Where? – Graveyard. Crossover with Supernatural from a Numb3rs POV. Third in a series following Unexplained and Explained.
Andrew Regan abandoned his car and vaulted the fence at the end of the drive. Cursing, Special Agent Don Eppes brought the SUV to a sliding halt and leapt out. Backup was far too many miles away and he had to chase after the offender alone, no way was he letting him get away again. Regan had proven to be especially slippery, disappearing a month ago after a foot chase involving not just his team of FBI agents but a group of LAPD officers and a K9 unit as well. They'd saturated the small area and after hearing some yelling found nothing except for the fugitive's clothes and a rather large dog that they'd flushed out of some bushes. The LAPD's supposedly well trained German shepherd had inexplicably broken its lead and bolted, yelping in distress, in the opposite direction. It had taken a full day to find the panicked animal and no one could explain why it had reacted the way it had.
Following Regan's lead he also vaulted the fence and with his weapon drawn cautiously made his way through the well trimmed bushes to find himself heading up a small rise. At the top of the rise he recognised where he was, a graveyard. The grave markers gleamed oddly bright in the light of the full moon before fading as another cloud moved across the sky. The night had been alternately bright and dull as the series of clouds rolled by. This time he felt almost relieved as the night darkened allowing the brief taint of otherworldliness to fade. Even so, an unexpected superstitious shiver still tingled its way down his spine. He found himself remembering that tonight was Halloween before he shook it off. There was nothing here that could hurt him, except for Regan and he was more than capable of dealing with him. Returning to his task he finally caught sight of his quarry ducking around a larger mausoleum.
Moving quickly down the slope he entered the rows of graves, edging carefully along and grateful for the cover offered by the large stone blocks. He reached the spot where he'd last seen Regan and stopped, listening carefully for more signs of movement. A grunt and a scrape pointed the way. The soft, well tended ground allowed him to move silently as he approached his quarry's location. Another groan followed by a louder cry of pain had him adjusting his path as Regan's exact position was marked.
He carefully rounded another mausoleum and found Regan standing in full view. The man's hands were clenched at his sides and his head was thrown back. Another odd groan was followed by his back arching as if he were in sheer agony. Everything suddenly brightened as the cloud obscuring the moon moved on, allowing its reflected light to fall upon the scene. The next cry of pain sounded more like a howl and Don found himself experiencing another shiver down his spine.
Raising his gun Don stepped forward. "FBI! Freeze, Regan." He was completely ignored, Regan crying out once again as his back arched a second time.
"F-B-I!" Don yelled more forcefully and it seemed this time he was heard. Regan turned and looked right at him. For a moment Don could have sworn the eyes were yellow but he wrote it off as a trick of the light. What happened next he could never remember clearly.
Something changed. Regan changed. There was light, there was dark, Regan was there and then he wasn't but he still was. As was something else. Don's vision twisted at the sight and he had to look away as his mind refused to process whatever it was that was happening right in front of him. He clamped down on the sharp instinctive reaction to run, to flee. This was no fight or flight reaction, it was pure flight, pure fear as the hairs on the back of his neck stood to attention. He'd never felt unreasoned fear before and it took all his effort to remain where he was, grip white-knuckled on his gun. Through sheer willpower and stubbornness he was able to force his head up, to turn to look at Regan, training finally winning out over fear.
Regan was gone. There was a trail of sorts though, even if it made no sense. A line of shredded cloth that could only have been Regan's clothing lead away, disappearing behind another line of larger gravestones. The odd sight helped the agent regain his control. If Regan wanted to strip naked and run then that was his problem. Don knew what to do with a running offender and wasn't going to fall for some insanity plea Regan might have been trying to pull.
Shaking off the residue of the last few moments Don gave chase. "Regan, freeze!"
The trail ended and he continued, moving cautiously and clearing each shadow before he moved on. He still wasn't sure if Regan was armed or not, although without clothing that should be easy enough to determine when he next laid eyes on the man. Moving around another grave marker he slowed further as the shadows deepened now that another cloud moved over the moon. A sudden new shiver ran down his spine but he resisted the urge to get out of the graveyard now! and wait for backup.
He nearly lost his composure at the low growl that sounded behind him. Breathing quick and hard as his heart threatened to leap from his chest he forced himself to turn slowly. His gun hand shook but he steadied it with his left as a darker shadow moved forward a foot or so and resolved into a large dog, one of the largest he'd ever seen. The silver tipped ears were laid back, the head was down below hunched shoulders and the tail was raised stiffly straight up and bristled. Even without the aid of moonlight the long, sharp teeth gleamed as the dog growled again, lips curled back. Don found himself locked into place as he stared into the unaccountably bright yellow eyes.
Another louder growl and Don realised that he'd forgotten to breathe. Forcing his lungs to work whatever spell he'd been under broke and was able to slowly slide one foot back, then the other. He needed to back off, clearly he'd stepped into the dog's territory and he needed to let it be. Regan be damned, he could pick up the offender's trail once he'd made his way safely around the dog. He made it one final step before the dog sprang.
Twisting away he quickly pulled the trigger, sending several rounds at the animal. Finding himself on the ground the agent moved quickly to regain his feet, understanding instinctively that lying on the ground was the very worst place he could be if he'd missed his target. The angry growl off to his right suggested that the dog was still very much in play, his shots must have gone wild. He backed away and the dog stalked after him. It gathered itself to spring again and Don didn't hesitate, firing repeatedly into the animal. This time he didn't miss but the dog didn't seem to notice, springing again and this time bringing the braced agent down. By standing and firing he'd made himself an easy, static target.
Desperately Don shoved his gun point blank against the chest of the dog as it stood over him, pulling the trigger until the dreaded moment a bare three shots later when the slide locked back and the weapon was empty. Still the dog didn't fall despite the hot blood that splashed against his hands from the wounds he'd delivered. There was no time to process this impossibility before the dog's growls changed to an even more threatening snarl as the lips pulled even further back away from the sharp teeth. The head suddenly lowered.
Operating on pure instinct, knowing that the dog's target was his exposed throat, he threw up his left forearm to block the lunge. There was pain and shock as the jaws closed around his arm. He found himself once more transfixed by the unearthly yellow eyes as the dog started to bite down, unable to bring his right hand up and club the animal over the head with his empty gun as his mind was screaming at him to do.
The gunshots were totally unexpected and more than welcome. He felt the dog jerk through its contact with his arm and its position straddling his body. The dog released his arm and turned, snarling in the direction of the shooter. Don read the meaning there, he was the dog's prey and it wasn't giving him up. The snarl suddenly changed tone, fading to a whine as more shots rang out. Now the dog yelped and reared up, howling in pain as more shots struck it. It snapped at its own flank and whined one last time before staggering away a few paces and collapsing.
Don was finally able to move, scrambling up and back until brought up by a large headstone while a figure calmly approached the dog and fired two rounds straight into the animal's skull. The dog finally lay still as the man stepped back. It took a few more moments before Don was sure enough to look away, seeking the stranger that had saved him with his opportune appearance.
His night of shocks was not over, it was Dean Winchester who calmly met his eyes. Don blinked, the fugitive was the last person he expected to see back in Los Angeles, let alone anywhere near him. Remembering that Dean rarely travelled alone he shifted his gaze and sure enough, standing a short distance away was Sam Winchester, Dean's younger brother. Both men were armed, Sam just now shoving his gun into his waistband before bending to pick up a bag at his feet. The agent turned back to the older Winchester automatically noting the gun held casually by his side just as the latest cloud moved aside and the bright moonlight returned.
"You going to put that away?" Dean finally spoke, a touch of amusement in his voice.
Don finally got his mind into gear as Dean referred to the empty gun that he'd almost forgotten he was still holding in his hand. Dean would recognise that it was empty, the slide still locked back and barrel exposed. It didn't escape his notice that Dean hadn't yet put his own weapon away. His mind was still working slower than it should and he couldn't hide the hesitation as he tried to decide how to play this. The Winchester didn't move, allowing him time to think on what he was going to do. Dean had not yet threatened him nor had he ordered he disarm just simply suggested he put his gun away. There was also the fact that Dean had already had several opportunities both in the past and tonight to kill him, opportunities that he'd not taken. He had in fact shot the dog to protect him. Shifting his gaze from one brother to the other and back again he decided there was really only one option, reloading now might put him in more danger than simply holstering the empty weapon. Moving slowly he slid the empty gun into his holster just as it was, it would only take a moment to reload it if needed. He absently rubbed at his left arm.
"Dean," Sam's voice called urgently. "Blood."
There was no amusement in Dean's voice now as he stepped quickly closer peering at the agent's left arm. "Is any of that yours? Did it bite you?"
Don remembered the jaws closing over his left arm, he wasn't going to forget that in a hurry. But a dog bite wasn't important, what the Winchesters were doing here was, right along with what he was going to do about it. He may have read their complete files since they last met and have formed some doubts about the bureau's interpretation of their actions but they were still high on the list of most wanted. Yet here he was not making any move to arrest them as he should, Dean's naked gun not withstanding. "Yeah, but it's just a scratch. What are you doing here?"
"Damn." Dean muttered, ignoring the agent's question. He turned and shared a significant glance with his brother before looking the agent in the eye. "I know you're going to jump to the whole wrong conclusion about this but-"
As Dean moved Don realised he'd let the man get too close. For the second time that night he found himself trying to twist away only to fail. Dean closed the gap and with a solid shove knocked Don off his feet. Hitting the ground hard Don tried to scramble upwards but as he'd done last time in the warehouse Dean kicked his feet out from under him and he went back down. Fine, if Dean was going to keep knocking him down he'd stay down, Don decided. If he rolled quickly enough he should be able to put sufficient distance between himself and his attacker so he could get to his feet and to cover. There was plenty of that but he had to reach it first. He also desperately needed that moment he'd thought of so casually earlier to reload his gun if he were to have any chance. Unfortunately Dean wasn't going to give him that moment, moving in and getting a foot planted firmly on the agent's right arm stopped his roll before he'd got any sort of momentum up.
Curling his torso upwards and bringing his injured left arm across Don was going to try to grab at Dean's lower leg to unbalance and hopefully throw him off but was stopped by the muzzle of a gun inches from his eyes.
"Get your ass back down."
The growled order was one Don had heard before. He eased back and held still as Dean bent and pulled the empty Glock from its holster and tossed it aside. The foot shifted from his right arm to settle its heavy weight against his chest. With no vest this time he could feel the rough tread of Dean's boot as the man pressed down. Staring up past the muzzle of Dean's pearl handled .45 Don saw his attacker glance briefly in the direction of the younger Winchester before returning his stare to his captive.
"Get his belt."
"Sammy," Dean's voice took on a warning tone at his brother's question.
"Fine." The younger man moved forwards and Don felt him fumbling at his waist undoing his belt before pulling it free.
Dean's head then jerked south and Don felt Sam move down to his feet. With the threat of Dean's gun he fought the urge to kick out as Sam lifted his right ankle over his left and used his belt to tightly bind his ankles together. Clearly Dean remembered Don kicking at him last time. Hobbled he was completely at their mercy.