A/N: It's LamiaJade's birthday and I debated what to give her, but a thousand years ago when The Legacy first came out she was one of the very first people to request a signed copy and has been a cheering section for Galen and Rob since then. So, I hope you don't mind that it's Galen and Rob, not Sam and Dean...
The soft cough of a raven in distress tugged at Galen's awareness. He groaned and tried to focus but he couldn't. Something was wrong, dark cold buzzed through his body, numbing his hands and feet and pulsing in time with the dark scar left in his chest, the remaining wound left by the Old One when it tore itself free of him several years before. There was a brush on his face, then then a poke. He didn't care.
That was when music started playing. He recognized it. A guitar riff, playing then repeating. It stopped. There was a pause, then it started again, the same piece of music. It meant something, so did that persistent distressed sound from the raven. But what?
Three Hours Before
People were disappearing in the vast expanse of Point Defiance Park. The seven hundred acre park was mostly old growth forest, and large portions of it were still wild even though the park was part of Tacoma. A friend on the police force had called Galen and asked if he would be willing to go see what was going on. Alex Preston was close friends with Mike Silva and Mike had introduced him to Galen. Since then the cop called Galen now and then when something "a little off" happened.
After they closed the shop, Galen and Rob headed out to the park. Dera and Dor met them at the large picnic area in at the apex of the "point". It was the area four of the five people had disappeared from, and Rob thought it would be the best place to start.
"It has nothing to do with the fact you have been saving stale bread for the racoons, would it?" Galen asked as he parked.
"I don't know what you're talking about," Rob said with a grin as he hopped out and carried three loaves of bread behind a tree. "It's some samples Becci got, high protein, high energy."
Dera made a disgusted sound from a branch over Galen's head. "Ravens might have liked it."
"I saved you some." Galen laughed.
"Dor and I will head south, you go north, we'll meet back here two hours?" Rob said, coming to stand beside him and watch as the racoons appeared out from under the bushes to eat the bread, their eyes focused on the ravens. "Don't start again," Rob growled.
"Rob, we don't know what it is, and with the bond muted..."
"It is probably just a serial killer," Rob snapped. Galen looked at his brother in shock for a moment then started laughing. Rob's frown melted and he started laughing as well. "Okay, maybe not just but you know what I mean. A person."
"Yeah. I know. Okay, back here in two hours." Galen handed Rob his swords, watching as Rob buckled on the baldric for his massive bastard sword on his back. Galen slid the scabbard for his falcata on his belt and smiled. "Call if you need me."
Galen watched Rob set off down the path, Dor winging above his head. He worried less knowing the raven was with his brother. Of course, he also hoped that if something serious happened whatever it was would be enough to alert him through the bond. He sighed and followed Rob down the path, staying on the right fork where he knew Rob had gone left. Even though his Gift of Sight was almost non-existent, Rob took it in stride. Once of these days his brother's calm would drive Galen nuts, he just knew it.
There was an eagle somewhere overhead, Galen could here its whistling call from his left. A squirrel was dropping cones from a fir tree, the sound of their fall rustling through their trees. He opened up his Gift "feeling" the forest around him, trying to get an idea of what they were dealing with. A dark whisper pulled him off the main path and he followed it without thinking, moving along a game trail.
His phone buzzed with Rob's text tone. "Anything?"
"Following something," he texted back. "I turned off at the game trail by the broken cedar." They ran at the Point regularly and he knew that Rob would recognize the landmark.
"What is it?"
"Not sure, it feels dark."
"Okay. Dera is on his way. I'll be there in twenty. Stay put."
"Yeah." Galen slid the phone closed. Rob was right. He scouted around the area as he waited.
Something at the edge of a fallen tree caught his eye. It was oddly colored, tucked at the edge of an anthill. It must have come from some place else, but when he bent closer to get a better look he recognized it immediately. Human metatarsal, it showed signs of gnawing, small teeth had done damage to the small bone. He was reaching for his phone when something hit him, a piercing pain in his left shoulder. He looked, there was nothing there, but he was falling, the ground hard when he hit it.
He opened his mouth to call out to Dor, but his vocal cords refused to respond. When he closed his eyes to use the Healing, it didn't respond, instead a dark pain started beating in his head, pulsing through his bones. The darkness was getting worse, he had to move. He tried to get an arm under him, but his body wouldn't respond
The guitar music was playing again. Galen tried to focus on it, it was something to hold on to, something to keep him there. Time was running out. And running out fast. The guitar kept playing, then suddenly there was tugging at his clothing. The music stopped abruptly.
"Galen?" his brother sounded panicked.
"Carck," Dor answered in his harsh voice.
"We're coming. Don't leave him, keep calling, we'll find you."
Galen was vaguely away or Dor's calls interspersed with a gentle cough of distressed encouragement. The fact he couldn't "hear" the raven was beginning to terrify him. Whatever was there had taken part of his Gift along with his life. He didn't have long. Rob wasn't going to find him in time. He felt what little was left slipping away.
"Galen!" Rob shouted frantically. "Galen!"
He wanted to answer, he couldn't.
"What's going on? I..." Rob grunted in pain. "No!"
Galen was dimly aware when Rob grabbed him under the arms and started dragging him through the forest, he vaguely felt the passage of the ground under his body.
"Sorry about the blackberries," Rob said ruefully. The ravens were calling above them when Rob stopped. "Galen?"
The darkness was ebbing away, flowing away into the earth. Galen called up the healing, letting the light flow through his body, chasing the last of black pulse away. He opened his eyes.
"Thank gods," Rob breathed.
Galen looked up, he was back on the main path, the broken cedar soaring over his head, Dor and Dera were sitting beside Rob, heads cocked to the side looking concerned. Dor mumbled softly, touching his beak to Galen's hand. He tried to sit up, Rob slid his hand behind him to help him sit up, the physical contact was enough to let the bond hum a little stronger than usual. "You dragged me out here?"
"It got you," Galen said, sensing the black wound in Rob. He turned and looked at his brother. Placing his hand over the spot, he focused the healing into it and pulled the darkness away.
"It did, it hit you faster I think, I had time to drag you away." Rob stood and helped Galen up.
"What is it?"
"I'm not sure, we'll call Alex and tell him to block off this part of the park until we can find out how to get rid of it. It's something that feeds on life force."
"But people disappeared," Galen said, feeling a slow as he stumbled on the path. Rob steadied him and looked at him, Galen knew he was drawing on what little Sight he had left.
"But if it just took life force..." Galen felt stupid.
Rob smiled worriedly. "Yes, it killed them."
Galen frowned, then the answered dawned on him when he heard a crow caw and Dor answer it with an annoyed grumbled. "The forest just took care of the bodies."
"Nature, conveniently self cleaning," Rob said with a smile. Dera made a funny noise from over head where the ravens were flying. "Yes, we appreciate it."
Galen glanced back towards where the darkness lurked, shuddering. It had been a closer call than it should have been. Rob squeezed his shoulders, knowing his thought even without the full force of the bond.
"I want Thai food," Galen said.
"Sounds good," Rob agreed. "And yes, we'll get one meat dish for you two." He laughed as the ravens flew ahead, dancing through branches. "I think we'll get take out though, and head home."
"Yeah. It's a plan."