Title: I am just a broken dream
Fandom: "Supernatural"/"Dark Angel" crossover
Disclaimer: not my characters; title from Dolly Parton.
Warnings: AU after season three for "Supernatural"; AU during season 1 for "Dark Angel"
Pairings: none stated
Point of view: third
Manticore recaptures Ben just after his twentieth birthday. They try their best to break him again, but he's not a scared kid anymore. He's not a kitten crying for his mama; he's a full-grown predator, and he has more than a mother executed for the simple crime of loving him.
Dad! he hollers with his mind, that link his uncle made between all three of them. Uncle Sam!
Yeah, Uncle Sam answers after a moment. We're on the way. Just hang tight and stay strong.
Ben watches the doctors and guards. He never makes a sound, not even a whimper. He's not their experiment 493 anymore.
Dad wraps around him like a warm blanket and says, Talk to me, kid. Don't think about them. They'll pay for this. Tell me a story.
So while the doctors cut him open, trying to see why he ran and why he killed those vampires, and while the doctors pump him full of drugs making everything murky, Ben tells Dad about the Blue Lady's beloved boy and the two knights who took him in and taught him to live.
But the drugs take effect, and he tries to hold onto Dad and Uncle Sam, and he's slipping, losing his grip.
The last thing he hears is Dad screaming his name.
Ben wakes to an explosion and the floor trembling beneath him. The first thing he notices is that he's still Ben, still remembers Dad and Uncle Sam and the past decade. The second is that his family is calling for him and he hears them both ways, with his mind and his ears.
"Dad!" he yells. Dad!
The door blows open and Dad stands there, eyes white as bone. Ben can't get up, too drugged still, so Dad strides to him and easily lifts him. As Dad carries him, Ben hears another explosion. It's so close he whimpers and Dad soothes him with I got you, kiddo. Ben focuses on Dad's heartbeat. His whole body hurts; he'd almost forgotten how deep Manticore's pain went, but now those memories are ripped wide open.
Uncle Sam meets them in the hallway, eyes shining like sunlight. "Get him out of here," Uncle Sam commands. "I'll meet you."
Dad gently tightens his grip on Ben as he asks, "What're you gonna do?"
Uncle Sam sounds calm, but there's a dangerous, cold undercurrent. "I'm going to destroy this place."
Dad nods. "Be careful, Sammy." He turns and hums something as he jogs out. Ben listens to the tune, feeling it bone-deep, and it lulls him into a half-sleep. He doesn't notice when Dad gets out or that no one at all confronts them.
Ben doesn't fully awaken until they're past Manticore's boundary and Dad carefully sets him in the car. "Dad?" he murmurs.
"Yeah, Benny?" Dad answers, cradling Ben's jaw with a soft touch of his calloused palm. Ben notices his eyes are back to hazel.
"I fuckin' hate that place," Ben tells him and Dad chuckles.
"Uncle Sam is tearin' those bastards apart," Dad says. "I got a few myself."
Dad backs away, gently but firmly closing the door, and Ben sits up as Dad hurries around the car. The fog is swiftly retreating, giving way to Ben's fury. He wants to go back and kill them all, rend and tear them, force them to feel the same pain he felt. That all their soldiers have felt.
They have, Uncle Sam tells him. They will.
Ben nods, content, and Dad starts the Impala.
Dad drives until long past sunset, until early the next morning, just a few minutes before dawn.
"I'm sorry I let them catch me," Ben says quietly. "I let you down."
"No, Ben," Dad replies firmly. "You didn't let me down. You got caught by people who knew your capabilities, after a tiring hunt. If anything, me and Sam failed you by not watching your back."
Ben shakes his head and starts, "No, I—" but Dad cuts him off. "You're a warrior, but you're also my son. My clone. I'm supposed to protect you, but those fuckers got their hands on you again. And that, Ben…" Dad sighs. "I don't know if can forgive myself for that."
Ben doesn't look at him. Dad pulls off onto a long driveway and they sit quietly as Dad coasts up to a rundown house. Without speaking, they make sure it's empty before Dad leads him to a bedroom.
"I'll see to the wards," Dad says. "Get some sleep."
Stretching out on the old mattress, Ben tries not to focus on the musty smell. People died here, and in his dreams, he sees their ghosts.
Ben doesn't wake up until Uncle Sam arrives and he stays in bed, slowly checking himself over. All the aches and pains are gone and he's not tired anymore. Uncle Sam and Dad are in the kitchen, and Dad sends Ben a bolt of warmth. Got some coffee in here, kiddo. Want some?
There's another heartbeat. Ben doesn't panic because no one could be here without Uncle Sam's permission, but Ben asks, Who's the new guy?
"Ben," Dad calls aloud. "There's someone you should meet."
He lies in bed for a few more minutes before padding to the kitchen. There's a stranger talking to Uncle Sam and he turns to face Ben.
"Oh," Ben whispers, looking into a breathing mirror.
Dad says, "Ben, meet the smartass. Smartass, meet Benny-boy."
Ben steps closer. Smartass holds himself at military rest, senses stretched to their fullest. He's breathing slowly and deeply, but Ben sees the panic rolling beneath his calm surface.
"Dean," Uncle Sam says. "We're not calling him Smartass."
Ben turns his attention to Uncle Sam. He seems happier, so whatever he did to Manticore was beautiful. Uncle Sam smiles, meeting his gaze, and his eyes flash golden. He lets Ben see a small part of what happened to Manticore, to all the doctors and guards he found.
Bobby and Ellen are taking charge, Dad says. They'll see who can be assimilated and who needs to be watched, out there in South Dakota.
That's a relief, so Ben focuses back on his clone. "Smart Alec," he suggests.
Sam nods. "That'll work."
"I used to be 493," Ben tells his clone. "But my mom named me Ben."
"494," his clone says. "I spent six months in Psy-Ops because of you."
"You're Alec now," Dad says. "If you want to be."
494 meets his eyes. Ben lets him look his full, and 494 slowly glances to Uncle Sam and Dad. They stand still, calmly waiting him out. He shudders and sighs. "Guess I'm Alec."
There's a lot Alec doesn't understand. Ben tries to be patient, because he's older and he grew up with Dad and Uncle Sam, and Alec isn't purposefully annoying him, most of the time.
But then sometimes, Alec says something or does something, and Ben just wants to hurt him. Alec can't beat him in a fight, but Ben can't beat him, either, and while Alec is so very clever with words, he still doesn't know Ben well enough to hurt him.
It'll get better, Dad says while Alec sulks at dinner. Ben takes comfort in the fact that Uncle Sam hasn't linked Alec up yet, that mind-to-mind connection is still Ben's alone. Give the smartass time, Benny. He's still new to family.
Dad takes Alec on his first hunt four months after Manticore falls. Alec returns with a werewolf kill under his belt and wide eyes. That night, he curls up next to Ben and whispers, "Tell me our story."
So Ben does, starting back with his eighth birthday and the father he met there. By dawn, he's gotten to the destruction of Manticore. Alec hasn't looked away Ben's eyes once.
Ben falls silent, waiting. Finally, Alec asks, "Do you wish I hadn't come?"
A few moments pass while Ben actually considers that. He had Dad and Uncle Sam to himself for ten years, their undivided attention. Besides each other, they loved him the most of anyone in the world.
"No," he says. "I'm glad you're here."
At breakfast, he asks Uncle Sam to link Alec up, too.