Big Happy Birthday to Phx and as thanks for all her help this year.
Hope you enjoy my darling.
Following an interview with The Great Raymondo, Stage Magician extraordinaire, Sam disappears, and Dean is left frantically searching for him.
Featuring Limp/Sammy in peril, and protective Dean.
Set season 1 before Hell House.
WARNING: BAD LANGUAGE.
Yeah, title is blatantly nicked from the film starring Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman. So sue me. You won't get very far...
Many thanks for the beta go to Devon99, Neata Sanderson and Sendintheclowns
"Uh, no thanks," Sam turned down the offer of peanut butter cookies and tried asking the same question once again. "When did you say you last saw your assistant?"
The Great Raymondo looked surprised. "I didn't."
And that seemed to be all that was forthcoming. Sam tried hard to swallow down his frustration.
"Witnesses claim she was last seen going into your dressing room." Please take the bait, please take the bait. "You invited her inside."
"If that's the case, Agent Mustaine, why are you asking me?"
Offering a cool and professional smile, Sam resisted the urge to tap his foot. "I'd just like to hear it from you, sir."
"In that case, I invited her inside my dressing room to discuss her contract renewal. She graciously turned it down. We shook hands. She left." The magician flipped back his long greasy fringe and folded his arms. "Simple as that."
"And she hadn't been back since? Not to collect her personal belongings?" Sam cast a quick eye over the room, noting the sparkling, sequined costumes, and high heeled shoes.
"Those belong to me," Raymondo coldly informed Sam, displaying genuine unfriendliness for the first time since the interview began. "I don't allow my assistants to wear their own costumes, you silly boy, goodness knows what dreadful designs some of these creatures would turn up in. And I won't be embarrassed on stage!"
No. You kinda do that so well yourself, huh? Sam had seen this guy's act, and frankly it sucked. Big time. If ever there was an award for the lamest act of the century, this guy would have won it hands down.
Dean, of course, had been keen to point it out in his usual distinct yet subtle manner, and so Sam had sent him off on a coffee run in case The Great Raymondo demonstrated an incredible talent for turning hunters into frogs, or something equally worrying.
It'd taken a belly full of pride for Sam to apologise on behalf of his tactless brother, but it was necessary just to get close to the magician. Getting him to answer a straightforward question, however, was proving more of a challenge. The guy was obviously on his guard and giving nothing away.
Not that he hadn't given away too much already. Sam had clocked the books on dark arts half hidden on a shelf at the back of the dressing room. He recognised at least one of them as highly dangerous, and felt certain this freak wasn't using it for anything good.
Clearing his throat, Sam continued. "According to The Magic Club records, Lucy Lavender," he bit back a grimace and barely avoided an eye roll: stage name "was your fourth assistant in as many months."
Raymondo gave a small wave, the kind Sam had seen in pictures of the Queen Mother.
"Young girls these days just don't last. They take off on flights of fancy, never to be seen again." The magician's blue eyes hardened a little and something in the way he said it set Sam's instincts jumping to high alert.
"Quite literally," Sam murmured aloud, not taking his eyes off the poor excuse for Harry Potter. According to his notes this guy wasn't much older than Dean, yet the way he stared, the way he moved, suggested differently.
The magician was dressed in the usual manner of tragically old fashioned stage performers everywhere. Bow tie, matching black cloak, complete with large black and white wand. Again, lame as hell.
"Are you sure you wouldn't like a cookie?"
And suddenly the magician was in Sam's face, eyes boring into his, mouth so close Sam could feel warm puffs of air on his skin. Oxygen seemed to be in real short supply, and though he desperately wanted to loosen his tie, Sam just couldn't seem to move.
How does he know my real name?
"Uh… I…" Sam blinked, feeling his world slowly fall away.
Dean sat at the coffee bar and sulked. Not only was he relegated to coffee boy but the real cute waitress he'd spotted here the day before wasn't around.
Stupid day off.
Not only that, but they'd run out of chocolate donuts and Dean was left with the ever boring low fat raspberry muffins. Not even blueberry, but fucking raspberry. Oh joy. Give it to me baby.
And he'd actually thought this was supposed be more fun than interviewing a lame assed magician so far out of his tree even the squirrels thought he was crazy.
Still, the guy had seemed friendly enough, until Dean had been forced to sit through all three hours of his lame ass act. After that, Dean just couldn't contain himself.
Three hours of my life. Gone. Forever.
With his usual uncanny sense for Dean's fraying temper, Sam had sent him away on an errand, which wouldn't have been nearly so humiliating had there actually been chocolate donuts and the cute waitress hadn't taken the damn day off.
He had no idea why Sam was so keen to check this one out. As far as Dean could tell, if the guy was murdering his assistants, let the cops deal with it. This wasn't a job for the Winchesters.
A low buzz came from inside his jacket pocket and the caller ID on retrieval had Dean sighing with relief.
"Sam, at last, dude. You found anything out? I'm fucking bored!"
But there was nothing on the line, just an unnerving silence.
Dean frowned. "Sammy?"
What sounded like a long inwardly drawn breath came next, before someone answered. "Yeah. I found out it's not Raymondo."
It sure sounded like Sam, but the voice was almost breathless, slurred, as though he was being forced to speak. Something wasn't right.
"So what's your best guess, little bro?" Dean appeared calm and relaxed, sitting in the coffee house and talking on his cell. But, a closer inspection would have revealed white knuckles and a lightly clenched jaw.
"Uh…" again that breathless sound. "You'd better come meet me. I'm at The Magic Club."
Yep. Sam was in trouble all right.
"I can be there in ten minutes," Dean lowered his voice, hoping Sam would have time to answer him before whoever was holding him captive caught on. "You ok? Are you hurt?"
The line went dead.
"Well, you are most certainly a pretty one, aren't you? Sammy?"
Sam sat still, staring ahead, hands on knees, unable to do much else. So far he'd nearly suffocated three times, purely because the voice had told him to stop breathing. His diaphragm had reacted instantly to the command, his body slowly being starved of oxygen, eyes widening in panic, until the voice, laughing in amusement, had told him to breathe.
He remembered the phone held to his mouth, being instructed what to say, unable to stay quiet. And now his brother was about to walk into a trap.
Slowly, he obeyed. A tear spilled over his right eye lashes, and dripped down his face. He couldn't stop this, there was no way out, he felt so trapped. Dean was going to die and crying was about the only thing Sam had any control over.
It was similar in tone to the one his father had used on him whilst growing up. It hadn't worked then and it wouldn't work now. More tears cascaded down his cheeks, in a deliberate act of rebellion.
"I said, stop crying!"
Sam still didn't stop, not even when his captor wrapped something over his eyes and tied it behind his head.
"Why do you cry, child?"
But it was clear no answer was required because Sam tried to move his mouth, put his vocals chords to use, and failed.
A small laugh in his ear might have made him flinch if he'd been able to move.
"You really don't understand, do you, Sammy? I spotted you two straight off. So distinctive in your movements, so intent on your case… but then, that's hunters for you, right?"
Sam stood still as a statue, body awaiting commands.
Unable to resist, he did so. The walk seemed to take a while and his captor was content to jabber on about his dastardly plan, presumably figuring Sam wouldn't live long enough to repeat it.
"You know, if you'd just left me alone, you would have been fine. But no, you had to interfere," another soft laugh, "you and your brother. What did you think you were dealing with? A simple case of disappearances? Plain old ritualistic blood sacrifices?"
Sam felt his skin crawl when more hot breath ghosted over his neck.
"Turn right. Walk forward."
Sam felt his limbs beginning to shake as he tried to resist.
A low grating noise just ahead, like stone on stone, startled him.
Where's he taking me?
"Now you see, this is why. Think, boy. How do you think I manage to stay in business? Why do you think people keep on coming back, paying good money at the door, just to watch cheap, silly magic tricks that've been done to death?"
A long silence reigned whilst Sam's body kept on walking.
"Sit on the bench."
And even though he couldn't see the bench, his body obeyed anyhow.
"You're different to all my assistants, stronger, tougher." Those lips brushed his ear. "I feel you fighting me."
Sam felt another piece of cloth forced between his teeth and tied tightly round his head.
"You'll be harder to control, but the rewards will last longer, I'm sure. Ya see, I have a nice, easy life here. I don't have to work too hard, and most people who come here are easy to influence, unlike you and your darling brother of course. The Magic Club survives on the magic alone, attracting the same rich crowds back night after night. None of them care, so long as the wine and beer flows nicely, and by the time they've sobered up the morning after, no one remembers how stupid it was, how easy it was to see through the smoke and mirrors… and they give me so much in return."
Sam was thinking furiously, putting two and two together and hopefully coming up with four. The way it all sounded, the assistants had been the main power boost for some kind of glamour spell during each performance, until they ran out of juice and… disappeared. Sam had a few theories of his own about that, and wouldn't mind betting a good search of the basement would dig up the emaciated remains of four girls, prematurely aged, and, probably, as the final part of each sacrifice, drained of blood. The assistants had most likely lived their last few weeks of life under the total control of the Great Raymondo, much like Sam was now, and his heart ached for the poor kids. The background of each girl was basically the same. No home, no one to miss them, no one to look for them.
Except the last one. Raymondo had made a big mistake with the last girl; the disappearance of the senator's runaway daughter had thrown up a big red, blinding flag, and she'd last been seen working here in this club as Raymondo's assistant. Of course, without a body the police had drawn a blank, and no doubt a little of the glamour spell had been employed because the police never disturbed The Magic Club again.
But that wasn't all. The audience clearly had a part to play in all this, without even knowing it. Raymondo was taking just a little life force from his audience at each performance, just enough to keep him on top form, perhaps to make his assistants last longer between each set…
"Yes, you were too tough for the glamour spell, Sammy, but…" the magician tutted loudly, "the eyes sure worked on you huh? For just long enough maybe."
So, some form of hypnosis. A very powerful form.
Sam's body obeyed. Cold metal surrounded his throat, wrists and ankles, effectively anchoring him to the bench. Sam's breathing picked up, panting out through his nose, and he managed to move a thumb. Raymondo's control was slowly wearing off but it wasn't going to help him now.
"Your brother's going to be fun to lure in; I certainly look forward to that. Then I'll have both of you for my needs. Though I must warn you." A hand brushed almost tenderly over his cheek. "He makes one wrong move, tries to escape or set you free, and you die." He patted Sam's shoulder. "Have fun, my sweet Sammy."
A grating noise over head startled him then a strange pressure built in his ears, like he was being covered…
The blindfold was ripped off just in time for Sam to see a glass case descending, covering him from head to toe, his nose almost pressed up against the top.
Several loud thunks by his head and feet made him jump, but a weird sucking noise round the edges of the glass had him panicking.
Air tight. I can't get out.
He stared up at the slightly distorted figured of his captor, eyes wide with fear.
Sam struggled against the metal bonds, panting through his nose, desperately trying to suck in more air.
Not enough... can't get enough air...
The case was merely an inch or so from his eyeballs and Sam could see his breath fogging up the glass. The metal at his neck, pinning him to the bench, seemed to grow tighter, restricting his wind pipe; the more he struggled, the worse it became, the walls of the case closing in, sealing him in forever.
Somewhere in the recesses of his mind a small voice of reason piped up.
Gotta calm down.
You're having a panic attack.
Breathe. Just breathe.
It was the same voice he used to hear before a major test at school, and it always sounded like Dean. That low, soft voice that would also filter through his nightmares as a child, holding him close and keeping him safe.
As always it had the desired effect.
It wasn't until Sam closed his eyes and forced himself to remain still that he noticed the cool breeze against his left ear. Pulse slowing, breathing falling back under control, he opened his eyes and let them slide to the left; a hole with a tube attached, around three inches in diameter, was allowing him to breathe, though the flow of air was sluggish and stale.
Sam could already feel himself drifting off. There was just enough air to keep him alive, but not enough to keep him fully conscious. His eyelids drooped, still watching the smiling figure of The Great Raymondo standing over him, and smirking at his plight.
Well here goes another adventure for our favourite boys.
This one has another 3 chapters to go so don't forget to tell me what you think, and I'll send out the Sammy hugs, but this time with Sammy kisses...
Soft eye gazing and tongues included for those with the best reviews!
( sniggers... oh you naughty people! You do so tickle me)