Author's Note: This is a sequel to my earlier fic "Remember the Name," though to understand this story, all you need to know is that Sam called Alaric looking for information about the Alpha Vampire since he was a hunter in vampire territory. While that fic was super short and self-contained, this story will be several chapters at least. It takes place mid-season 6 for Supernatural and mid-season 2 for The Vampire Diaries.
Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural or The Vampire Diaries.
Alaric was nursing a drink at a table at the Mystic Grill when the front door opened to admit two unfamiliar guys. The shorter of the two—though he still had to be over six feet tall—stepped into the restaurant ahead of his companion and scanned the room with a practiced eye; Alaric could just about trace his gaze as he looked for any immediate threats, noted exit routes, and cataloged each person in the room, though that didn't take long. The Grill was just about empty since it was near closing on a weeknight.
The man's gaze lingered on Damon, who was taking a sip of his drink at the bar, for a moment before continuing its sweep. If Damon noticed the extra scrutiny, he didn't show it. Alaric hadn't wanted any prying ears for the meeting he'd scheduled, but Damon was determined to get his own read on the infamous hunters before discussing the business that had brought them to Mystic Falls.
The second man stepped in behind the first, filling in the space behind the shorter man the way only a long-time partner could, clearly knowing exactly where the other was and being ready to move to compensate at the slightest change; though they weren't looking at each other, it almost seemed like there was a gravitational pull between them. His gaze followed his partner's, also scanning the room with an experienced eye. Standing in the doorway, both men held themselves with a quiet confidence that came from years of training—an easy grace that Alaric had never quite mastered and envied when he saw it, whether on these men, the Salvatore brothers, or other dangerous beings he'd come across.
With their initial scan complete, both of the newcomers' eyes locked on him, and Alaric raised his glass toward them in invitation. He knew without a doubt that these were the men he'd been waiting for. A brief glance passed between them before they headed for his table.
"Alaric Saltzman?" the second man asked, his voice sounding familiar from the phone.
"Guilty," Alaric answered. "Which makes you Sam and Dean Winchester," he added, nodding to the taller and shorter man respectively.
Dean's eyes narrowed and the air temperature dropped. His near growl was steeped in suspicion as he spoke. "We never gave a last name on the phone." Or at least his brother hadn't since he'd been the one Alaric had spoken with on both occasions they'd talked. "How'd you know?"
Alaric shook his head and put his glass down on the table with a clank. He crossed his arms against his chest and leaned back in his chair. "Doesn't take much to string a few clues together. Not when every hunter in this hemisphere knows your names, anyway."
For a beat, Alaric thought he'd miscalculated and his stomach dropped as Dean's face remained impassive, but then the dangerous cold surrounding him faded and his lips quirked up.
"Just this hemisphere?" he quipped, slipping into a chair across from Alaric. He waved his arm to get the bartender's attention. He pointed at Alaric's glass and held up one finger.
Sam rolled his eyes and sat down next to his brother. Though the table was wide, the brothers sat with their shoulders nearly touching; neither seemed to notice the proximity.
After that exchange, Alaric tried not to stare at the men in front of him but couldn't help himself. Looking at them—at the tired circles under their eyes, the various scars that were visible around their multiple layers of clothing hinting at countless ones unseen, the look in their eyes they both had of having seen too much—he couldn't help but believe much of the hype surrounding them. There were a lot of stories about the good and the evil, the lives and the deaths of these men that made them sound like everything from heavenly warriors to Satan incarnate; they were big league, yet here they were, sitting across from Alaric at a table in a small town Virginia restaurant because he'd asked for their help.
They were just men, Alaric knew, but there was just something about them that seemed a little larger than life; like they had seen it all and were still going forward anyway. And suddenly Alaric felt humbled to be sitting across from them and tried not to fidget.
Sam's eyes tracked the bartender's progress across the restaurant, and he waited to speak until the bartender had brought Dean's glass and left. "We were surprised to hear from you," he said.
Alaric grimaced mildly but nodded anyway, his words only briefly catching nervously in his throat. "I hadn't exactly planned on it. But like I said, something came up; seemed up your alley."
"And you need our help," Dean concluded, taking a gulp of his drink. When Alaric nodded once more, Dean went on. "Is it vamps? Mystic Falls is pretty much vamp central, isn't it?"
"Vampires can be traced to the founding of the town itself," Alaric replied, glancing briefly toward the bar. "The founder's council today is still tasked with protecting the town."
Though he could only see Damon's back, the tension in his shoulders said he was listening in. They'd agreed only to give as much information as they had to so they didn't seem to be hiding anything until they had a good measure of the Winchesters; they didn't need infamous hunters making problems for all the supes in town.
Sam's eyebrows had gone up at that. "Interesting." It wasn't often a hunter came across a town with such blatant ties to and knowledge of the supernatural, after all.
"More like a pain in the ass," Dean retorted.
"Or a little of both," Alaric shrugged. Dean snorted and took another long gulp, finishing his drink. He signaled the bartender for another. Sam pursed his lips but said nothing. "But that's not exactly why I called you," Alaric added as the bartender brought Dean's second round.
"Then why?" Sam asked once they were alone again. There was something about him that made Alaric want to spill out his words as fast as possible, to trust him with everything he knew. It was a strange feeling to get from a complete stranger, yet Sam exuded calm empathy and trustworthiness that belied his rather demonic reputation.
"A new nest of vampires came into town about a week ago. That in itself isn't unusual, considering, well, you know," Alaric said, waving his hand around him. The Winchesters nodded. "But these vampires are different."
"Different?" Dean asked, leaning forward slightly. While Dean's tone didn't carry the same invitation to speak that Sam's did, there was a confidence to his bearing that made Alaric feel like he could tell him the truth and that he'd handle it. "What do you mean?"
"They're not like any vampires I've ever come across. And I've seen my fair share."
"The feeding style is all different, for one. The teeth, the bloodlust…it just doesn't match up with what I've seen." Alaric rolled his shoulders as he searched for the words. "There's just something off about these vampires."
"Because most vampires give you the warm and fuzzies, I'm sure," Dean drawled. Sam stepped on his foot hard under the table and Dean rolled his eyes but shut his mouth.
Alaric tried not to smile. He'd heard about their close—if not codependent—relationship and was reminded a bit of the Salvatores when looking at them. Huh.
"What do you mean about the teeth and bloodlust?" the younger Winchester asked after sparing a glare for his brother.
"These vampires seem to have an entire second set of teeth for feeding," Alaric said. "Every vampire I've come across in Mystic Falls simply has fangs." Sam frowned but waved him on to continue. "As for the bloodlust, there's no visible sign of it. The local vampires…they change when they want blood. In their faces," he explained, gesturing generally at his own face for effect.
"Huh," was all Sam said, though he looked thoughtful.
"Want to share with the class, Sammy?" Dean said after a long moment when it was clear Sam was lost in thought.
Sam blinked, his eyes coming back into focus. "What? Oh. It's just, the strange vampires you're describing sound like every vampire Dean and I have ever come across."
That took Alaric by surprise. "What?"
"Bobby Singer has a theory that there are different species of vampire," Sam went on, voice picking up strength as he spoke. Damon's posture had stiffened at the bar, Alaric noted with some interest. "The vamps that we've come across all have their origins from the Alpha Vampire."
Dean had gone slightly pale at that and Sam glanced his way, something flashing across his face so quickly Alaric couldn't make it out. Dean shook his head minutely and Sam bit his bottom lip, looking uncertain.
"The one you were hunting when you called me the first time," Alaric said in an effort to break up the awkward moment between the brothers.
Sam cleared his throat, schooled his features, and looked back to Alaric. "Yeah, that's the one."
"So, what's different about those vampires and the ones from Mystic Falls?"
"You said the origin of the town can be traced back to vampires?"
"That wouldn't happen to be the Originals you mentioned, would it?" Sam asked.
Alaric blinked. "Yes, actually."
Sam nodded, like a suspicion had been confirmed. "Then I think it's safe to say we have different species of vampire due to the origin of their creation."
Dean blinked and frowned at his brother. "What are you talking about?"
Sam smiled slightly. He seemed perfectly in his element, discussing the academic side of the occult. As a teacher, Alaric could relate and tried not to smile.
"I think the vampires in and around Mystic Falls must trace their origins back to these Originals, while the other vampires come from the Alpha. Two origins, therefore two species. Variations on a theme."
Alaric frowned, remembering back to that phone call months ago. "I thought you said the Alpha was the one to turn the Originals. Wouldn't they have their origins from him, then?"
Sam shook his head. "The more we dug, the less likely that scenario seemed. We never found the Alpha after talking to you, but we did find info about some attempts to create new supernatural species."
Dean's eyes widened slightly as recognition crossed his face. "Eve."
Sam inclined his head at his brother. "That's what I thought, too."
"Eve?" Alaric echoed uncomprehendingly.
"The Mother of All."
"Wicked bitch from Purgatory," Dean added, his grip tightening around his glass. "She's the one who made all the alphas."
Alaric blinked. Purgatory? They were saying it like it was an actual place…
"Eve might have tried to create a variation on her Alpha Vampire," Sam continued, pulling Alaric from his thoughts. "And that somehow led to the creation of the Original family."
"And two different species of vampire," Dean concluded. "Well isn't that peachy."
"Fascinating as this is," Alaric said after a moment, deciding this was way beyond his pay range, "it still doesn't change the reason I called you guys specifically."
"What do you mean?" Dean frowned.
Alaric swallowed and glanced toward the bar, but Damon was gone. He'd probably gone back to the Salvatore house to inform Stefan of what he'd just heard. Which meant it was time for Alaric to follow suit. "Knowing what these things are is good, sure, but there was something else about them."
"What is it?" Sam asked in that infuriatingly calm voice.
Alaric shrugged. "They were talking about following a certain scent." He glanced between the Winchesters. "Yours."
Elena opened the door to the Salvatore mansion as Alaric, followed by the Winchesters, headed up the porch steps. He supposed he shouldn't be surprised to see her here, though he hated seeing her this close to harm's way; since becoming not only their teacher, but a pseudo-parental figure through dating Jenna, he'd come to feel particularly protective of Elena and Jeremy.
"What are you doing here, Elena?" Alaric asked as she ushered them into the entryway.
"I wasn't planning to stay, but I was here with Stefan when Damon came back," she said, closing the door behind Sam. She looked almost comically tiny in comparison to the Winchesters. She glanced up at them before looking back at Alaric. "So this is them?"
Alaric nodded. Elena glanced back at the hunters.
"I'm Sam. This is my brother, Dean," Sam said, nodding toward his brother and holding out a hand to Elena. She took it and her petite hand was dwarfed in his.
"Elena." After letting go of Sam's hand, she nodded at Dean before looking back to Alaric. "Stefan and Damon are in the drawing room."
She turned down the hallway and Alaric beckoned the bemused Winchesters to follow. They were taking a lot on faith at this point, though it wasn't like they were exactly helpless if things turned sour for them. Between the two hunters and two vampires in the house, Alaric wasn't sure who he'd put his money on and he hadn't even seen the Winchesters in action yet.
When they entered the drawing room, they found Stefan sitting on the couch and Damon standing by the fireplace, which had a small blaze within. Dean's eyes narrowed at the sight of Damon, obviously recognizing him from the Grill and realizing he and his brother had had something pulled on them, but the vampire just smirked back.
Stefan rose as Elena went to his side. Alaric turned to the Winchesters. "This is Stefan Salvatore and his brother Damon." He glanced back at the vampires. "Guys, this is Sam and Dean Winchester."
"The famous hunters," Damon quipped from the fireside.
"So what exactly are we doing here?" Dean demanded, eyeing Damon irritably.
"When the vampires got to town, they reached out to Stefan and Damon here," Alaric answered.
"Why them?" Sam asked.
There was a moment of heavy silence before Stefan spoke. "Because we're vampires as well."
Stefan took a breath and extended his fangs. The hunters tensed and Alaric didn't blame them; it probably looked like they were being double-crossed. But Elena stepped in front of Stefan before they could make a move.
"Stefan and Damon were alive at the founding of Mystic Falls," she said. "This is their home more than anyone's."
"We don't want any trouble," Stefan added, retracting his fangs and putting his hands up placatingly.
"Speak for yourself, brother," Damon snorted.
Alaric glared at the snarky vampire and could feel Stefan's and Elena's glares as well. Damon sighed and relented. "Fine. No trouble here." He took a sip of the drink in his hand and nodded at the Winchesters. "What we want is those vampires out of our town. The sooner the better."
"And why should we believe you?" Dean demanded.
His hand looked like it was ready to draw what Alaric assumed was a gun at the small of his back even though he knew it wouldn't do him much good. There was just something comforting about having a weapon, even a useless one, in hand in a dangerous situation. Neither he nor Sam had relaxed a muscle.
"Because, like Elena said, Mystic Falls is our home," Stefan said, stepping up next to his girlfriend. "And we have enough problems on our plate already."
"Besides, if we wanted to kill you, you'd have been dead before entering the city limits," Damon added unhelpfully.
Dean clenched his jaw. "I really doubt that."
Damon wiggled his eyebrows at the hunter and Alaric would have smacked him were he in arm's reach.
Sam sighed and squeezed the bridge of his nose between a thumb and forefinger. Dean had opened his mouth, but his attention turned immediately to his brother at the movement. "Sam, you okay? It's not…" He trailed off, looking around the room suspiciously before returning his gaze to Sam.
Sam shook his head. "No, Dean. It's not the wall. Just a headache from the overflow of testosterone in the room."
"That's 'cause you're a girl, Samantha," Dean muttered but visibly relaxed after one final glare in Damon's direction.
Alaric had no idea what the "wall" was that Sam mentioned, but was amazed at how quickly he was able to defuse his brother with just a few words.
Sam looked up at Alaric then. He looked tired in that world weary sort of way. "Sorry. It's just… Well, we don't have the best track record in trusting the supernatural."
Dean snorted bitterly. "You could say that again." He had edged closer to his brother, like he would be ready to catch Sam if he suddenly fell. Sam glanced in his direction, noticing the shift but not commenting.
"Things have just gone bad when we've gone down that road," he continued instead.
"Apocalyptically bad." Sam failed to hide a flinch and Dean immediately looked sorry for having said it, but he didn't take it back.
"We're not looking to buy a condo," Damon said with an eye roll. "Trust or not, these vampires are in town and we just want them gone."
"So why don't you do it yourselves?" Dean demanded, sparing another brief glance for Sam.
He was definitely worried about something going on with Sam, though hell if Alaric knew what it could be. He was going to have to do some research of his own when this was over.
"Because, like I said, these vampires seem to know you," Alaric broke in.
"They said they'd been trying to track your scent," Stefan added. "But that something had changed."
Sam and Dean exchanged a look at that, and it seemed to Alaric like an entire conversation took place in the matter of moments. Finally the moment ended and Sam looked back to the room at large.
"Once a vampires—well, once this species of vampire, anyway—gets your scent, they get it for life," he said.
"And we've wasted plenty of vamps in our time," Dean added. His voice was grim but there was a measure of pride in it as well. Stefan shifted slightly, seeming to have noticed the same thing.
"So these guys could be any number of vampires," Alaric concluded.
Dean nodded and shoved his hands into his pockets. "A vamp that got away somehow, the mate of some vamp we took out looking for revenge, some idiots looking to make a name for themselves… I dunno what to tell you. Until they show their ugly mugs, we won't know for sure."
Damon coughed, but Sam spoke over him. "What I can't figure out is why they thought you'd be able to help. We've never been to Mystic Falls."
That was something Alaric was confused about as well. His only contact with the Winchesters had been over the phone a few months ago—a call that hadn't lasted five minutes. He'd never expected to hear from them again. And Damon and Stefan claimed to have never crossed paths with the Winchesters either, so it made no sense.
"Well, whatever the reason, there isn't much we can do about it tonight," Alaric said with a shrug.
"We could always go looking for the sons of bitches," Dean said, turning to Alaric. "You have any idea where they might hide out?"
But it was Stefan who spoke. "Vampires were among the original founders of the town," he said. "There are countless places around the town and in the surrounding areas to lay low in. You'd never be able to search them all."
"Not without letting them know you were onto them, anyway," Damon added helpfully.
"They're right," Elena said as she linked her arm through Stefan's in a show of solidarity. "The best thing to do is get some rest and face it again tomorrow."
"Look, we don't want anyone getting hurt because of us," Sam said with a frown. "The sooner we can deal with this, the better."
"No one's been hurt yet," Alaric replied. "They seem pretty set on their goal."
"That doesn't mean they won't hunt."
"That's why we'll be out tonight," Stefan said. "Damon and I will keep an eye out."
"We will?" Damon blinked. At the chorus of glares directed at him, he backed off. "Fine, we will. Not like we need to sleep or anything so human," he sneered in Dean's direction.
Sam elbowed Dean in the ribs before his brother could respond in kind. For whatever reason, the two older brothers had taken an immediate disliking to each other. "Fine. We're staying at the Mystic Inn. Room 117. You have our number, right Alaric?"
"Great. We'll be in touch," the younger Winchester said, steering his brother out of the room.
Alaric followed them out of the room and into the hallway. "I'm sorry about Damon," he said as they reached the front door. "He's pretty much a dick until you get to know him. Then he's, well, still mostly a dick, but manageable."
Sam gave Alaric a wan smile. "No, we get it. He doesn't like new vampires encroaching on his turf, and then you bring in hunters who kill his kind professionally to take care of it when he's used to being the big bad, right?" His smile widened marginally at Alaric's nod. "We know the type. It's okay. The sooner we get this taken care of, the sooner we'll be out of your hair and he can forget we were ever here."
Alaric huffed a laugh and gave a quick wave as the Winchesters headed for the classic Chevy they'd driven into town. He'd never say it aloud, but he was pretty sure Damon was also having some car envy to boot. Once the car had pulled out of the driveway, Alaric shut the door and headed back inside, ready to give his vampire friend a smack upside the head.
She watched as the black Impala pulled out of the Salvatores' driveway and headed back into town and smiled to herself. She knew tracking their phone calls would eventually lead to gold if their scents wouldn't after all these years. She followed the car's progress to the Mystic Inn and made note of the room number the boys dragged their stuff into before dissolving back into the night. Things were going to get interesting now that she'd finally found them after years of unsuccessful hunting.