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.
Spoilers - Numb3rs: nil. - Supernatural: nil.
A/N: This follows on from my fic "Alliance", making this the fifth in a crossover series which started with "Unexplained". This is not set in any particular season of either series.
The night was cold and dark, the sliver of the moon that should have been visible was hidden behind heavy clouds. The threat of more rain was heavy in the air making everything even darker and stiller than normal for the midnight hour.
Standing in the empty lot, his collar turned up against the cold, Don gave serious thought to walking away. No one knew he was here, he'd checked carefully for a tail on his way just in case. That was the problem, a cryptic message from an anonymous informant promising information on the Winchesters and he had come to the meet alone. The hard reality of the cold and the emptiness of where he was standing brought it home to him. It was a mistake, less than a week after Best's arrest and his latest encounter with the Winchesters was too soon for comfort.
Turning he made to retrace his steps to his SUV parked waiting at the curb but a scuff stopped him. He turned quickly and saw a figure emerging from the darkness into the faint wash from a distant streetlight. Blinking he backed up a step before stopping himself, he recognised that walk, this was no informant, it was Dean Winchester himself.
"Hello, Fed," Dean said as a corner of his mouth quirked up.
"What do you want?" Don demanded. He had hoped he would never see the man again. "You can't be here."
"You called me," Dean said back. He stopped a yard or so away and cocked his head to the side. A frown crossed his face as his eyes narrowed. "You did call me, right?"
"What?" Don started to ask when all hell broke loose.
Shadows sprang forward out of the edges of the darkness, man shaped shadows that rushed at them, weapons raised. Don recognised the shapes, the helmets and tactical gear as they moved forward into the dim light. As the shouting started he also recognised the three letters written across the vests.
Don looked back at Dean but the other man had already taken in the situation and reacted. Less than a heartbeat later Don felt the cold press of Dean's silver Colt under his chin. His hands quickly went up and out in an urgent gesture for the crowding FBI SWAT agents to stop.
It was the SWAT agents that now found themselves freezing at the hostage situation that had developed in the middle of their arrest.
"Put the gun down, Winchester," a woman demanded. "Look around you, you are surrounded."
Dean didn't immediately answer; instead he reached out with his spare hand and grabbed a fistful of Don's coat, pulling the agent towards him until they stood almost nose to nose.
Don swallowed at the hard glare directed at him from only a few inches, reading that Dean blamed him for the situation they now found themselves in. Now was not the time or the place to argue but he hoped that Dean could read his surprise and innocence. He risked a miniscule shake of his head in emphasis. The eyes narrowed slightly but other than that Dean didn't seem to react. The agent didn't resist as Dean shifted and pulled him around until he was held with a tight arm around his neck with the gun pressed firmly just below his ear. Now he could see the woman that had spoken and didn't recognise her.
The woman was wearing an outfit very similar to the SWAT agents, complete with tactical vest and helmet. She was also carrying a rifle that she now allowed to lower and hang from its strap across her shoulder. Negotiations worked best when the negotiator didn't point a weapon at the subject.
"Lady, better than you have tried," Dean finally said.
She stared back for a moment then her gaze flicked to the captive agent before responding. "Others perhaps, but not better."
Don got the impression her words sounded more confident than the female agent felt. She'd probably figured with a SWAT team on her side she had entered the encounter ahead on points only now to find those points had shifted to Dean Winchester.
Dean smirked, "Sure. Well, it's been nice and all but we're leaving."
"Let Agent Eppes go," The female agent demanded.
For an instant Don was a little surprised at that, she knew him even as he didn't know her. A moment later he realised she should know him as it seemed he'd been used as bait to lure the elder Winchester to this meeting. As Charlie had once told him his mind worked best under pressure and now a new thought came to the forefront - the Bureau knew his relationship with the Winchesters, particularly Dean, was more than he'd let on. Using him like this they had to know. As Dean spoke again Don pulled his thoughts back to the here and now.
Don reacted to the tug of Dean's arm around his shoulders and got his feet moving as Dean started to drag him backwards. Unable to move his head he was still able to see that Dean was heading back towards the darkness from which he'd emerged only a short time before. Don knew he would have had an escape route scouted.
The female agent shifted and her voice took on a slightly desperate note as her arrest deteriorated further. "We will not let you kidnap an agent."
"Lady, there's nothing you can do to stop me," Dean snapped back. "I'm taking him until I'm clear. You want him back you'll 'let' me leave."
"We need to talk about this," she started, taking a step forward before halting.
The gun was shoved harder against the skin under Don's ear forcing him to cock his head to one side to reduce the pressure. The female agent's confidence wavered even further as Dean steadily moved backwards as if there were no surrounding SWAT agents. His confidence suggested he had something more on his side than just an agent at gunpoint and that had her wondering if the birdlike jerkiness of her head as she tried to look around them was any indication. If he was in her position Don might have suspected a sniper but he'd never seen anything to indicate the Winchesters had operated that way.
"I'm not talking to you about anything," Dean growled. "Get your feds out of my way or I'll go through them."
Dean didn't stop moving, just continued to drag him steadily backwards towards the darkness. Don saw the female agent break, finally waving a hand ordering the surrounding agents to stand aside. Considering it was his neck on the line he was on one hand glad she did but on the other it left him with Dean to contend with if it went that far. Nothing further was said as Don was dragged past the final pair of SWAT agents and deeper into the shadows.
As they moved into the darkness and the SWAT agents remained behind in the parking lot Don had to allow that things looked like they were going to go that far. The glare the other man had levelled at him when the SWAT agents had made their appearance had been full of blame and menace and Don knew he was in serious danger if he remained in Dean's hands. His hand went to the gun still holstered at his hip but the grip around his neck tightened, as did the pressure of the gun once again.
"Uh, uh," Dean warned. "You and me are gonna have a little chat. Pull it out slowly then drop it."
Don tried to plant his feet and stop their backwards progress but Dean didn't allow that, tightening his grip and giving him a jerk to keep him moving. Bringing his left hand up Don grabbed a hold of Dean's forearm, the tightened arm dangerously close to applying pressure to his windpipe. He protested, "I didn't set this up."
"Sure," Dean said, his tone full of disbelief. "Your gun, drop it."
"You're clear. They can't see us now. Go and I'll give you time to get away." Don offered.
"Think I'm gonna trust you after that?" Dean said low and dangerously into the agent's ear.
"I've done it before," Don reminded him but was ignored.
"I'm not going to repeat myself."
Moving carefully even as Dean continued to drag him backwards Don drew his Glock then allowed it to fall to the ground with a wet clatter as it landed in a puddle.
"You carrying a back-up?"
"I find one I'm not gonna be happy," Dean warned.
"What, like you are now?" Don couldn't help snap back. At the warning jab he added, "I'm unarmed."
They'd only taken a few more steps before Don found himself spun around and shoved hard against something black and polished to within an inch of its life. Getting his hands up in time to take some of the impact he recognised what he was now leaning against, the Impala. He felt the hard point of the Colt's muzzle as it was pressed against his spine and held very still as Dean quickly searched him for the back-up gun he clearly felt the agent possessed. The pressure from the gun disappeared as Dean finished.
That was taking things too far and Don turned, "Not a good idea."
"Probably not, but when did I ever have a good idea?"
Don hesitated, not sure how to respond to what seemed almost to be a rhetorical question. Not waiting for an answer Dean just hauled the passenger door open and gave the agent a shove.
"You're clear, this is not smart." Don insisted as he made no move to enter the car. He might be semi-fine with helping the wanted man to escape by giving him a head start, but it was another thing altogether to get into the car.
"Get in or I'll put you in."
Having tried his luck in physical encounters in the past with the Winchester he knew the man would be able to make good on his threat without resorting to the gun still pointed at him. Knowing it for a mistake but not seeing any other option open to him Don climbed into the car.
"And don't think of trying anything," Dean warned as he closed the door behind the agent. After a cautious look back for any pursuing agents Dean moved around the front of the car, keeping his gun aimed through the windscreen.
Don kept his hands up in full view. He remembered other notes in the files, notes as to what Dean had done to anyone who had damaged his car. His situation was perilous enough without being responsible for Dean damaging his own car by shooting at him.
The Impala slowed to a stop.
Don recognised where they were and couldn't help the increasing sense of dread he felt. He looked to Dean intending to try once again to negotiate his way out of the situation he'd found himself in when the door was pulled open, hinges protesting. Turning quickly he recognised the younger Winchester as Sam reached in and grabbed at his upper arm. A moment later Don found himself stumbling away from the car, splashing through the puddle at the side of the lane and slipping on the wet grass.
He tried to pull his arm free but Sam's grip was firm. Not that it would have helped him much with Dean following close behind and both brothers holding their guns on him. Don looked around him trying to find something that he could use, knowing it for an exercise in futility.
The headstones that rose around them were dark and menacing, unlike the glowing ethereal quality they'd had the last time he was here. The only illumination came from the lights spaced far apart on poles mounted to one side of each of the various laneways. This was the graveyard where he'd followed Regan before his third encounter with the Winchesters. The scars on his left forearm ached and he remembered the pain as Sam had sliced his arm open before pouring a potion into the wound. Deep in recollection he stumbled at the remembered agony that had followed but managed to regain his footing. He forced his mind away from the memory, there was more than enough to worry about in the here and now.
"Dean, listen to me," Don tried, twisting his head around to appeal to the older brother.
Forced to keep moving at the pull on his arm Don said nothing further as they moved deeper into the graveyard. It was a good five minutes before they stopped. The feeling of dread intensified as Don saw what lay in front of him, a freshly dug grave. His adrenalin heightened vision showed him clean edges, way too neat for a manually dug hole but there were two shovels standing in the dirt on the other side.
As Sam released his arm and took a step back Don started to realise there had been more than one set-up this night. He turned and saw Dean closing up the last few paces. Analysing everything in a flash he moved quickly, taking what he figured to be his last chance. Diving to one side Don targeted Sam, if he could get the younger Winchester under his control he would control Dean.
Don got one hand on Sam's right wrist pushing the gun up and away and had the other hand balled into a fist and aimed at the younger man's head but just when he thought he was getting somewhere Sam shifted and Don found himself sprawled on the wet ground. With no time to waste Don sprang up, shoes slipping slightly in the mud and grabbed once again at the younger man. Hearing Dean's angry shout he managed to twist Sam around as a shield between himself and Dean. With Dean's Colt effectively out of the equation Don again tried for Sam's gun but the younger man was proving himself just as adept at hand to hand as his older brother and Don once again found himself flying.
This time as he landed the air was driven from his lungs by Dean landing on top of him. He bucked and twisted, jabbing his elbow backwards and getting a solid blow in but a second body landed on him and he could barely move. The serious injuries both brothers had received less than a week earlier should have given Don an edge but continuing to struggle he couldn't help but notice that both were moving as if they were completely healed. The brothers shifted and started to pull at his arms, forcing them behind his back.
Fighting for his life Don gave it everything he had but it wasn't enough. Gasping from the effort he found himself in short order lying face down with his arms trussed behind him. He started to roll to one side to use the only thing left to him, his legs, when he was grabbed and hauled up. Scrambling he tried to get his feet underneath him but the effort was wasted as he was shoved to his knees in the mud. A heavy hand descended on his shoulder and a hard point jabbed at the back of his head forcing him to stillness.
Taking some deep breaths Don tried to ignore the open grave in front of him. Whilst they had not exactly parted friends after Sam was rescued and he'd arrested Best he thought he'd reached at least an understanding with Dean. The set-up back at the meet was one thing but recognising this return to the graveyard as pre-meditation on the Winchesters' part Don had no idea how it had come to this. "Why?"
The heavy hand lifted from his shoulder but the gun remained pressed firmly against his head. In his peripheral vision he saw Sam backing away and knew it was Dean standing behind him.
"You know too much," Dean said. "We know they're going to interview you tomorrow."
Tomorrow was the scheduled interviews with the agents from the Behavioural Science Unit, flown in special from Washington to interview him about his encounters with the Winchesters. How the brothers knew that wasn't relevant, neither was whatever it was they thought he knew and were so desperate to protect. "I have it under control. They won't know the whole story."
"I've met them, they're good," Dean responded.
"I've had some of the same training. I know how to talk to them." Don tried to turn his head to see Dean but the gun jabbed forward and he stopped.
"No, I won't. I have to protect myself and the only way to do that is to protect you."
"I really wish it hadn't come to this, I kinda like you, Fed." Dean sounded regretful but the gun didn't shift from its firm position on the back of Don's head.
"You came to me when Sam was taken," Don reminded him desperately. He recalled their last conversation, "You owe me."
It was a long minute before Dean answered. "I know. But that doesn't change anythin'. I'm sorry."
The pressure left the back of his head and Don understood what that meant, Dean was stepping back so he wouldn't get splattered with blood when he fired. He looked down in the grave in front of him and knew he would be soon lying in its muddy depths and wondered how long it would be before his body was found.
A metallic click sounded behind him as the safety was disengaged and Don closed his eyes, drawing in his last breath...