Disclaimer – I don't own them, I just borrowed them. Numb3rs, Supernatural and associated characters are the property of those that created them. No copyright infringement intended. No financial reward gained. All real organisations are used in a fictional sense. Anything you don't recognise is a product of my imagination.
"He's down?" Dean asked as he picked himself up.
"I think so." Seeing Dean moving in his peripheral vision Don didn't dare look away from Best but he could see enough to tell that Dean was checking on his brother.
Don kept his right hand and the piece of heavy metal up and ready as he carefully reached for the artery at the side of Best's neck. Feeling a steady pulse Don felt relieved, the lump of metal he'd thrown at the man's head could have killed him. The next step though was to be sure that Best was out cold so he pressed a finger hard into the pressure point at the angle of the man's jaw. Best didn't move. Allowing his improvised weapon to drop by his feet Don worked to pull the man around so he could get the arms behind the back ready for cuffing. Best's size and dead weight didn't make the job easy so it was a long few seconds before Don was pulling his cuffs free from their holder. Don moved with more speed as Best showed signs of recovery, the cuffs jangling.
"Don't bother with the cuffs."
Don froze momentarily after getting the first cuff on at the tone in the voice. After a deep breath he finished his task, closing the second cuff and twisting the lock before turning. He had expected Dean to try something and whilst he hadn't yet figured out how he was going to stop him, he certainly didn't need Best taking advantage of the situation once he recovered.
Stepping slightly away, out of the range of anything that Best might try Don looked over to see that Sam was free of his chains and sitting on the ground. More urgently he saw that Dean had somehow found his gun and as he watched Dean brought it up. Don wasn't quite sure who the weapon was aimed at, himself or the groggy prisoner, and he automatically cast a quick glance around the half of the room he could easily see looking for his primary gun but couldn't see it.
"He's under arrest," Don said clearly.
"He's mine." Dean's statement was full of menace.
Dean took an unsteady step closer, his earlier injuries exacerbated during the struggle. Despite his condition Dean had plenty of determination to hold his gun steady. "Get out of the way."
"No." Don blocked Dean's aim, the Winchester's intent clear enough. The gun shifted slightly in response so it wasn't pointed directly at him, more at the man he clearly wanted to kill. "I can't let you do this."
"You don't understand how this works, we look after our own. Sort out our own messes."
"So that's why you came to me, came to a fed, right?" Don argued, bluntly pointing out the major flaw in Dean's words. "You can't have it both ways."
"I can have it any way I want." Dean growled back. He jerked the gun sideways, further demand for the agent to step aside. It was ignored. "This is something I have to do."
"And this is what I have to do. He's under arrest, I'm taking him in. As my prisoner I have to protect him." He glanced back to see said prisoner staring back at him having recovered enough of his wits to follow the conversation. Don's lip curled, "Even if I don't like it."
"He's gonna die," Dean stated with absolute conviction. "He took Sam and cut him."
Don spared a quick look at the younger man. He couldn't clearly see the injuries from where he stood but there certainly was enough blood for what Dean said to be true. There was also a low bench near where Sam had been chained that held a number of knives and other objects that lead Don to the conclusion that Best had indeed started torturing his victim as part of his ritual.
"Yes. Yes, he is," Don finally agreed, "but not here and not by your hand. The state will take care of that after the trial."
"What trial? Not like Sam's gonna testify." Dean pointed out.
Whilst it would be ideal, a survivor on the stand was about the best testimony they could get, Don knew that wasn't going to be happening. They were going to be relying on forensic evidence but Don was confident they had more than enough of that, particularly now with Best in custody to test against, to ensure the right result. The serial killer wasn't going to be escaping his penalty.
"He's going to trial."
"Get out of the way." Dean ordered, taking another step closer.
The muzzle of the gun shifted deliberately. There wasn't any doubt now, it was aimed at him. There had been a number of times Dean that had pointed his weapon at him in the hours they'd been together, but this time was different, something that was more than clear by the tone in Dean's voice. Swallowing, he stood his ground. "You're going to kill me to get to him?"
Dean didn't answer but took another step closer.
"Is this going to be the way it is?" Don continued. He had to crack through Dean's single-minded resolve. "Everything you've told me 'til now has been a lie and everything in our files about you is true? Use me until you get what you want then kill me? You're no better than he is, a murderer."
Dean's face flushed with even more anger as the words penetrated. "Won't kill you, but I will go through you."
That was something but really didn't change anything. "But you'll kill him, right? Murder a man in cuffs?"
Dean scowled as he stopped advancing.
"Hah, got you there, Dean-boy." Best interrupted from the floor. "This is some sort of code of yours isn't it? Gotta fight fair, right?"
Both Don and Dean looked down and unbeknownst to them, they shared the same expression, deeply felt contempt and disgust. "Shut up!" They both snapped at the same time.
"Dean?" A weak voice called after a wet sounding cough.
"Sammy?" Dean responded not glancing away from the agent or his target. "I'm right here, Sammy."
Don flicked his gaze away from Dean and saw Sam struggling to his feet, going down once before making it up.
"I know. Just have to finish this first."
Now that they'd been alerted to it both Dean and Don heard the approaching sirens.
"You have to get out of here," Don said.
Dean glanced back as Sam shuffled towards him but quickly returned his gaze to the prone man and the agent blocking his way. His left arm curled across his wounded side as his right tightened on his gun. "Get out of my way."
"No," Don repeated. If Dean wasn't worried for himself he should be worried about his brother. "You don't have time for this. Get Sam out of here."
"Dean, come on," Sam managed. He was sounding stronger as he found some sort of reserve of strength. He made it to Dean's side. "You can't kill him, if he dies here, now, the portal will open. We have to make sure the spell is properly shut down."
The expression on Dean's face showed that he hadn't thought of that. "All the working is done?"
Sam nodded. "He was just taking his time on the sacrifice. He dies, he takes my place. We don't need a fallen angel with everything else."
"No, we don't need that," Dean agreed as his younger brother echoed his earlier words. "But what he did-"
"He will pay for," Don finished. Dean was wavering, the threat of this spell or whatever seemed to have done the trick. Don had no idea whether it was true or not but it hardly mattered. A death here, particularly a death in custody, was not going to help anyone. Justice needed to be done for the murder victims and that could only happen through a trial. He had no doubt an execution would eventually follow. Until then Best would be secure and far from able to hurt other innocents.
"How much time we got?" Dean suddenly asked, lowering his gun and turning to help Sam.
About to answer Don realised that he should have been hearing calls over his radio if backup was close enough for him to hear their sirens, sirens that had now fallen silent before the potential target could determine their exact location. He touched his ear only to find the earbud had come dislodged during the fight. Putting it back in he heard various voices as agents organised to mount their raid.
He pressed his transmit button, "This is 3695. I have the offender in custody."
"Don?" Colby's voice responded. "What's your location?"
The agent didn't respond but instead spoke to Dean. "They're close, you need to go."
"Colby, I'm in the building with the red roof. Watch out for tripwires on the way in." Don radioed back. "Your location?"
"What side of the building are you in, the Pacific or the Atlantic?" Colby asked.
It was code, Colby was seeking confirmation of whether Don was under duress or not. For his part Don wasn't quite sure. He fixed Dean with a pointed look. "We good?"
Dean exchanged his own look with his brother, receiving a nod. "If we can make it out clean, we'll go."
It would have to do. "Colby, Pacific," He radioed, giving the all clear. "I have him down in the basement."
"Okay, Don. What's our best approach?"
"Come in through the south side of the building. I counted three tripwires but there could be worse traps on the other approaches." Don advised. It was all true but also gave the Winchesters their direction of escape, if they moved quickly.
"Roger that," Colby answered. "We're about two minutes away from action."
Don responded with a double click of his transmit button. "Two minutes, Dean."
Dean didn't waste any more time but started to help Sam away. He got to the end of the shelves before suddenly turning back, leaving Sam to hang onto the shelf. Don moved but wasn't quick enough to prevent the vicious kick Dean delivered to Best's back.
Dean dusted off his hands and backed away. "Now we're good."
"That's assault," Best complained as Dean rejoined Sam and they disappeared around the end of the shelves and started up the stairs.
"Didn't see a thing," Don snapped.
Best shifted so he moved in, shoving him back down with his foot and holding him down. The wait seemed interminable but eventually the SWAT team made it safely to the basement and took Best into custody, muscling him up the stairs.
"Don, you alright?" Colby asked as he saw his boss had undone the velcro straps on his vest and was rubbing a hand over his chest underneath it. He shone his flashlight over Don's vest and saw the damage. "You've been hit?"
"The vest caught it," Don answered. "I'll be fine. We need Forensics down here to get this processed."
"On their way." Colby went over to the chains and noted the fresh blood on the floor. "Where's the victim? Already killed and disposed of?"
Figuring that Best had no incentive to keep his mouth shut Don knew the truth was the only avenue he could take. "The victim was Sam Winchester. His brother was pulling him out when I got here."
"The Winchesters?" Colby repeated in surprise and no small degree of alarm. "They shot you?"
"No, that was Best. Dean actually helped me take Best down. But he still had his gun and I'd lost mine so I couldn't stop him taking Sam and escaping."
"I'll get an APB out for them and a medic in for you," the younger agent said reaching for his radio.
Two days later Best was locked down awaiting his trial and teams of agents were working on the paperwork tying the man to the series of murders, the attempted murder of the final victim and the attempted murder of an FBI agent.
Don was resting at home, taking some well earned days off. He'd survived a grilling from Wright over the involvement of the Winchesters and also his failure to locate his informant as he'd been ordered. Fortunately Wright didn't connect the two together, so as far as he was concerned he'd gotten off lightly. There had also been no questions about the mystery agent who'd been with him when he spoke to the store holder. It seemed that the capture of the serial killer was proving suitably distracting. How long that would last Don didn't know but he would take what he got.
Given that he'd had four official encounters with the Winchester brothers Don was now regarded as the best thing they had to an expert on the wanted men so he had meetings scheduled later in the week with agents from the Behavioural Science Unit who were flying in from Washington. His own skills as a profiler were being put to good use schooling himself in what information he could give based on the official contacts he'd had with the pair. Letting on that he'd spent almost a whole day with the older Winchester was not going to help him any. He wasn't looking forward to those interviews but he was confident he'd manage.
Interrupting his thoughts his cell rang, the caller ID coming up as blocked. There had been several such ID blocked calls, normal in his line of work, but none were the one he was waiting for. As he accepted the call he hoped this would be the one.
"Hello, Fed," Dean Winchester drawled. "You copping much heat?"
"I had to tell them you were there," Don said, "at the end anyway. You were getting Sam out and helped me take Best down."
There was a snort on the line as Dean digested the slant the agent put on the takedown, he saw things a little differently. "What'd they think of Sam and me getting away?"
"Since you had a gun and I didn't they understood that I couldn't stop you."
"See, told you it would work out," the other man said.
"What about the portal thing?" Don asked, feeling silly as he said it.
"Bobby came through with the lore and we got the spell shut down. It's safe now if someone dies there."
Having the abandoned building categorised as 'safe' for someone to die in was a strange one but given who he was dealing with it was par for the course. From his experimentation with religion he had some idea what a fallen angel was and had looked up the one Best had been trying to summon to find its very name meant 'violence'. It was a relief that whatever it was the Winchesters did, the fallen angel wasn't going to return to earth.
"How's Sam?" Whilst the younger Winchester had been mobile he'd still been seriously hurt. "You had him seen by that, er, witch?"
"Something like that." Dean laughed at Don's hesitant use of the word. He sobered and it was his turn to stumble over his words. "Sam's good. ... Look, I um, you know ... Damn it, I'm just gonna say it, alright? Thank-you. You need something from me, you call, okay?"
Calling in that marker was not something he was going to do anytime soon, he hoped, but he understood where Dean was coming from. Debts paid and owed. "I'm just glad we got Sam out and Best locked away where he belongs."
"As long as he stays there," Dean responded, his voice tight now with anger. The man had hurt his brother and Dean clearly wasn't going to let that go. "He gets out, you won't find the pieces."
"Be careful," Don found himself saying to the tone in his ear as Dean had already hung up. They operated far outside of any rule book that Don was comfortable with but his time with Dean had strengthened his burgeoning belief that at the end of the day the Winchesters were trying to do good, in their own way, in a very dangerous world that Don was more than happy to stay away from.
As to Dean's parting threat regarding Best if the man ever got out of custody? Don decided he could live with that.