A/N: Essentially, this story is a fanfic of a fanfic. Based on CP Coulter's fantastic story "Dalton" (w w w . f a n f i c t i o n . n e t / s / 6 5 1 5 2 6 1 / 1 / D a l t o n), this will eventually be an anthology of unrelated short stories involving the Windsor boys, and quite possibly the rest of the Warblers, too. It will continue to be marked "complete," as each story is complete on its own.
The Adventures of the Windsor Boys
Title: Hunter, Hunted
Characters: Dwight Houston, Wes Hughes, David Sullivan, Blaine Anderson, Mister Tamerlane
Word Count: 2,460
Summary: "'And we got him to stop 'ghost hunting' at the old cathedral!' David supplied. '…how's the caretaker doing, by the way?'
'I don't know what kind of food coloring Dwight used, but as I understand that "brand" on Mr. Tamerlane's arm is still there!'" -Dalton, "Pilot: Windsor House"
The Old Cathedral, with its looming turrets and intricate architecture, had always been an imposing building. The first time Dwight saw it, he knew for a fact that it was possessed by an evil spirit; he suspected that the being was the ghost of either Percival March, the cathedral's first minister when the building was still being used as a church, or Lucifer de Bourges, a caretaker of the building who reportedly died on the premises. Having done his research both online and at Dalton's extensive library, he was convinced it was probably the latter. De Bourges, unfortunately, would probably be very difficult to exorcise.
Armed to the hilt with every tool of his trade, Dwight began the trek across Dalton's grounds on a foggy September morning not long after his enrolment. The atmosphere was just right for his brand of ghost hunting, the air crisp and the sun just rising over the roof of Windsor House in the East. None of the boarders would be awake yet, and the spirits would still be active in their nightly terror spree. He'd seen them from his window several nights before; an orb of silver light lazily floating across one of the upper windows of the East-most turret after midnight, no doubt causing mayhem of all kinds within the cathedral's walls. It was then that Dwight knew he would have to send the nasty haunt back to hell where it belonged— whether he himself was killed in the process, or not.
The light was gone from that window now, but Dwight's astute eyesight was not to be fooled that morning: he saw a flicker of movement, perhaps a shadow, in the uninhabited edifice's same window. Carefully, he ducked beneath the shrubbery that lined the old stone walls, his eyes trained on the window. When the movement had passed into another room, he made his move and slunk along the shadows to the back door, wedged partially open by a stake he had left there the day before in preparation.
Inside the cathedral's back hallways were dark, and after the large wooden door had been quietly closed and the stake stowed neatly at his belt Dwight had to pause in order for his eyes to adjust. He took great pride in being able to hide well, and behind a statue of a long-dead Saint was where he chose after only a moment's consideration. The building was silent, without even the creak of shifting wooden beams in the wind, and Dwight made his move and dashed through the winding corridors with speed that would surprise most of his schoolmates.
Fingering the pouch of rock salt in his pocket with one hand and gripping his spritzer of holy water with the other, he pressed his back against a wall and edged sideways up a winding staircase. At the top, he knew, was the East turret, where the ghost of Lucifer de Bourges would be waiting. The edge of each old wooden stair was less likely to creak under his weight, so he hugged the wall as he climbed, clutching at his weapons of choice.
Once he reached the top, Dwight hunched his shoulders and examined his surroundings. One door was ajar at the end of the hallway, and with a nod to himself and a deep breath of preparation, he crept toward it, soundless in his approach.
His fingers shook nervously as he pressed the door open wider, licking his lips as he spotted a figure hunched over a desk in the corner of the small room. Definitely de Bourges, Dwight thought, noting the lack of religious garb. He shifted his hand from his rock salt to his own homemade branding-ink, pulling open the cap off the Crayola marker he had injected it into for the purpose of easy usage with a soft pop!
The figure in the corner turned, startled by the noise, but Dwight was faster. He leaped across the room in a movement he had perfected after years of practice, whipping out his marker and grabbing the ghost by its— surprisingly warm— arm. Without hesitation, he shoved the demon against the wall (knocking a painting out of place) and branded it with a pentagram star on the forearm. He jumped back about two feet from the being and drew his holy water from its holster.
"Freeze, demonic scum!" he yelled, pointing the spray bottle at the shadow-hidden man and giving three quick spritzes. It was still too dark to make out facial figures, the light from the window slanted away from the ghost. Apparitions tended to stay away from direct light, anyway.
"What in God's name—?" a husky voice grumbled... a voice that Dwight recognised.
Dwight lowered his spritzer carefully as Mr. Tamerlane lit the gas lamp at his side and wiped holy water out of his eyes. Dwight blinked, staring at the lamp. So the floating light hadn't been a supernatural apparition at all, then...
"Explain yourself!" Mr. Tamerlane demanded, holding up the dim light to get a better look at Dwight's face.
"Uh..." Dwight froze and bit down on his lip. "You are no longer being possessed by supernatural beings?" he supplied after the moment's hesitation. "Congratulations!"
Mr. Tamerlane did not look as overjoyed as Dwight would have been, hearing the news.
"...roaming past curfew, breaking and entering, assault on a member of faculty, destruction of property—"
"What's going on?" Blaine asked, watching both of his best friends sitting on the floor and pressing their ears against the principal's door. He was holding a stack of papers in his arms, balancing them precariously against his hip.
"Shh!" Wes hissed, and then motioned for Blaine to join them on the floor.
Blaine rolled his eyes but did so, holding his paperwork carefully, just in time to hear Dwight indignantly demand, "Shouldn't he be in trouble for impersonating a demon? You can't just go around acting like a dark spirit! My actions were completely justified, if you take that into account."
David slapped a hand over his own mouth to squash what was probably going to be a giggle but came out as a quiet snort instead. Wes elbowed him gently and pressed a finger to his lips.
"Mr. Houston, please refrain from interrupting me," Dean Ramsey practically growled. The boys eavesdropping winced simultaneously. "Since this is your first official offence, Mr. Howard and I have agreed to give you a light punishment— twenty minutes detention after your last class every day for the rest of this week and campus arrest this coming weekend."
Dwight made a sound like he was going to protest, but Howard coughed deeply and was probably subtly shaking his head at the hunter to warn him not to. It would only provoke the already frazzled Dean (having to deal with the Brightman twins on a regular basis was starting to drive her up the wall) further, which would not be beneficial to his situation at all.
"I am issuing you a warning, Mr. Houston. Another similar offence will result in further discipline, and I will inform your parents of your behaviour."
Dwight sighed loudly. "Yes, Dean Ramsey," he mumbled, barely audible through the door.
The door knob began to turn and Wes and David jumped backwards immediately, leaning in towards each other as though they were privately talking and trying to generally look innocent. Blaine stood up slowly and, carefully balancing his papers against his side with one arm, raised his hand as though he were about to knock just as the door opened to reveal a red-faced Mr. Howard and meek looking Dwight Houston. The Dean sat primly at her desk, a wisp of her severely pulled-back red hair falling across her forehead, having been dislodged perhaps in her vehemence.
"Boys," Mr. Howard addressed them, glancing suspiciously at Wes and David. Their trying-to-look-surprised faces were awful and would have given them away if Howard hadn't been rather fond of them and overlooked it.
"Mr. Anderson, is there something I can do for you?" Dean Ramsey asked Blaine, straightening the things on her desk. Blaine put his hand down and nodded, stepping into her office.
"There is, actually, ma'am," he told her charmingly, striding across the room with confidence as he offered her the paperwork. "My scholarship applications for next semester are due next week, and I was hoping we could discuss the possibility of—"
Wes and David never heard what Blaine and the Dean were going to discuss the possibility of, because Mr. Howard pulled the door closed as he stepped away from it, cutting off Blaine's voice. He paused then and looked from one junior to the other, one eyebrow raised, but said nothing as he gave Dwight a pat on the shoulder and then turned to start walking down the opposite hallway.
"What did you do?" Wes demanded the moment Howard was out of sight. He and David each took one of Dwight's arms and led him in the general direction of Windsor.
"I was just ghost hunting at the old cathedral—" David groaned, but Dwight didn't even blink. "—and I may have accidently branded Mr. Tamerlane by mistake. I thought he was a demon."
Wes gave a quiet laugh, but stopped when David glared at him and adopted a stern face. "Dwight, you're still relatively new here, so you don't know all the unspoken rules yet, but... branding a faculty member is generally not something you should be doing. Ever."
"Yeah," David agreed, "And if you do go 'ghost hunting,' don't get caught. That's practically our motto. Don't get caught."
"And never leave proof," Wes added, a smirk turning up the corners of his lips.
"Okay." Dwight nodded his understanding. "But what are we doing to do about De Bourges' ghost? He is haunting the old cathedral, and I don't want anyone to get hurt." He bit his already abnormally red lower lip, chewing on it thoughtfully.
David and Wes looked at each other and nodded; a silent agreement passed between the best friends. "We'll handle it," Wes promised the distraught young Windsor boy.
David nodded. "Definitely."
The next night, so late that Dalton's grounds were pitch black, two figures dressed in dark colours with their hoods pulled up raced across the campus, barely shadows against the dark night. When they reached the old cathedral they slowed their pace and then stopped in front of the large oak doors.
"Are you sure about this?" one of the figures hissed to the other, shivering slightly in the cool fall air.
"Absolutely. I read about it," the other assured his best friend, flicking his head so that a lock of black hair moved from out of his eyes. "Come on. Give it to me."
Looking around for witnesses, the first figure dropped his bag onto the grass and began to riffle through it, until he found what he was looking for. He passed the container to the second figure, who popped it open and began to draw a circle around himself with the purple jelly inside it.
"What if someone sees?" the first figure asked quickly. "And don't get than on yourself! Wes, that's dangerous!"
Wes rolled his eyes and wiped his fingers on the grass once the circle was complete. "Someone seeing is the whole point. Time?"
David looked at his watch, pressing the button on the side so that the face lit up. "Five minutes to three."
"Light it at exactly three o'clock. Dwight'll be watching for sure." David nodded. "And don't forget to wave your arms and stuff. You're sending me back to hell, remember? It has to be believable if we want Dwight to not get himself expelled."
"Look!" David hissed, pointing to the light that had turned on in the Windsor building. "Is that Dwight's room?"
"Light it!" Wes demanded. David fumbled with the lighter, but finally made a spark and lit the circle of flammable... stuff. Neither of them knew what it actually was, but if Drew said it would light on fire and burn without burning anything else, then it totally would.
David felt ridiculous as he began to wave his arms about, the dancing around the fire like a wild Indian or something as he pretended to be 'sending a demon back to hell.' Wes played his part well, gasping and clutching at his throat before falling to his knees within the burning circle. To an outside observer, he looked like he had disappeared, but he actually let himself out through a little spot he'd left blank at the back of the circle, out of the view of Windsor.
He smeared more jelly along the break to close the circle, yanking his hand back to avoid being burned as it caught fire.
"Do you think he saw?" Wes asked after David grabbed his bag. David shrugged in reply, and they booked it around the back of the cathedral, and then slunk along the shadows and into the back door of the dorm that they had left open for themselves.
The next morning Dwight met them at breakfast, looking bright-eyed and exuberant. He'd seen the burned circle outside the old building for himself after he'd woken up, perfectly round and just the right size.
"Which one of you did it?" he asked excitedly as he sat down opposite them. The noise of the dining hall would easily drown them out, so it wasn't like they could be overheard easily. Wes and David looked at each other.
"I have no idea what you're talking about," David said innocently, the better liar of the two. Wes suppressed a smile.
"Me, either," he said, but then winked at Dwight, unable to resist. He tilted his head briefly towards David and then shook his head, as though saying David didn't know.
Dwight grinned and winked exaggeratedly. "Right," he said, drawing out the word. "Bye guys!"
David groaned the minute Dwight was gone, running off to get in line for his own breakfast. "Why'd you make him think you did it? Now he's going to ask you to exorcise other stuff with him." Wes shrugged and snatched a piece of toast of David's plate, too lazy to get back in line for more of his own.
"He's so gullible. I couldn't help myself."
David rolled his eyes and bumped Wes' shoulder just as Blaine stumbled into the dining hall and plopped down across from them, looking refreshed and well-slept. "I'm so glad I have my own room now," he confided in them seriously. "I don't have to deal with you guys sneaking in and out all the time."
Wes and David laughed and high-fived each other. He really had no idea.