Warning: Violence, gore, language, slight sensual imagery—all that you'd expect from a Salvatore-Winchester Zombie-Fest.
Disclaimer: I do not own The Vampire Diaries or Supernatural. Written for fun, not profit.
Author's Notes: Setting for this story takes a little stretch of the imagination on the reader's part. For SPN, it's season 5, sometime before "Dark Side of the Moon" and after "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid"; for The Vampire Diaries, this is season 1, after Damon's discovered Katherine wasn't in the tomb (err, probably before "A Few Good Men"?) and sticks to canon ships. Despite that, these dates don't converse precisely (hard to do considering all the hiatus', CW), so let's just be content with saying it's mid February 2010 and that schools take weird holidays, much like my alum did, shall we?
Because it's me writing it, this story is all wonky—in other words, it's not chronological in all the scenes, so I put "NOW/THEN" dividers at the beginning of each part.
Story based on a prompt byxgirl2222 given to me at wishlist_ficover at Live Journal. (Where I'm known as Twisted_Slinky.
Total Wordcount: about 15.5k. (This story will be four parts long.)
Part 1 – Some Bad Juju
The mansion shook.
Eyes closed, breathing steady, pulse just slow enough that he could feel it throbbing in his clenched fingers: like this, if he stayed like this, he could pretend the sound beyond was coming from a party. It was the week of Mardi Gras, after all. In New Orleans. The French Quarter wasn't too far off, and the crowds, drunk on life and everything that came with it, were still mighty and roaring. At least, he hoped they were. There was always the possibility they were already dead, that this one little curse had spread into a plague over the whole celebrating city.
Hell, it was the Apocalypse. Anything could happen.
And, in the split second it took his brain to go from playing pretend to wishing for an end, he was back to reality. The comfortable numbness he'd been drowning in since Lucifer sprung his cage settled over Dean like a uniform. Time to clock in at work.
The sound wasn't coming from merrymakers gone wild. Wet groans, swallowed cries, vicious growls, and, mixed in with their voiceless chatter, the clatter of furniture being thrown aside, nails scraping at hard wood, flesh ripping off the bone: this was the noise of the dead. Or, better put, the undead.
The Winchesters had seen their fair share of zombies of all types, but this gathering of the dead was turning out to be the cherry on top of an already crappy sundae. Dean was not pleased. Not at all, and he wished he could work up the passion to take these monsters out the way he used to, without efficiency and with style. But he knew he'd move quickly instead, forgetting the humanity on their wasted faces.
The horde of zombies pushed against the double doors leading into the round, windowless room from where they'd massed at the wide foyer. The grain of the wood popped and the length of the boards whined, wanting to buckle. Dean only bent his knees further, pushing with all of his strength to keep the entryway closed.
"Really good doors," he commented, through his teeth. See, he told the world, he could still fake it when he wanted to. Screw Famine, screw 'em all. "Nice. Solid."
The poor sap stuck beside him chuckled. "They don't make them like they used to," he replied, and he didn't sound half so strained when he spoke.
Dean shot him a look, but he couldn't complain that the guy wasn't working hard enough. Frankly, Dean was still amazed the doors were staying shut by force alone. Where's that barricade I was promised? Screw barricades, too, because apparently the dude in the nice black suit was stronger than he looked. Dean figured he could hold the entry closed by will alone.
The party guest, one of the few who hadn't run screaming, smirked at the hunter, as if chiding him for his timing. Dean wasn't the type to notice the color of another man's eyes (unless they were black, red, or yellow), but Damon's were so electric blue, Dean half-expected them to be lighting a cross above a tacky Vegas chapel. And, that was without the now-abandoned black leather mask over his face, making the irises stand out like neon bulbs. The brow above one of those mischievous eyes was raised in question.
"Dean, right?" he mocked, right back. Then he snorted, amused. "You picked a swell party to crash, Dean."
A zombie's groan grew louder on the other side, as if in answer. Dean lost his footing a minute, then caught it again, letting out a breathy chuckle.
"Right back at you, man."
'Cause, sure, one cocky rich dude blended in with the next, but this guy, Damon, his group, had stood out at the party—even before the shit went down—like they weren't sure what they were doing there. Like they'd been forced inside, dressed in costume against their will. Like Sam had looked, and Dean had felt.
Dean ventured a glance out at the room, ignoring the streaks of blood across the floor, where bodies had been dragged away, the spray of gray gore across the decorative tables where a hit had went home. It was empty of life; shattered glasses, toppled appetizer platters, and forgotten masks the lone reminders of the masquerade. The rounded walls of the room were painted an olive green and even higher where the already high ceiling arched up to a hanging chandelier and allowed for the curving staircase leading to the second floor. Display cases, mahogany with glass fronts, stood to either side of the main doors, framing the closed exits left and right leading to the dining hall and the—what had Sam called the sitting room?—the parlor. Friggin' rich people.
Dean could give a shit about the "overall aesthetic appeal" of the architecture, though. He was more concerned with what was in the remaining, unbroken display cases. And on who wasn't running down the stairs to help them.
"Where the hell's your brother?" Dean finally snapped.
"Well, since no one here has ever seen a horror movie, ever, I'm guessing he's upstairs, where the guests ran. Still trying to save the innocents with your brother, I'd imagine." Damon narrowed his gaze. "Or was that your boyfriend?"
"Ha, frickin', ha," Dean bit. His trick shoulder was throbbing with the strain, but he held it back his grimace, trying for levity. "Older or younger?"
"I feel very close to you right now." Damon rolled the back of his head against the door, as if he were simply lounging against it instead of holding back superhuman evil, and something about the movement left the sarcasm dripping all that much thicker. He tapped the knuckles of his free hand against the wood. "Think you can hold this on your own? I'm just dying to check out that weapons display. Barely had a chance to look at the sword collection before the stinks arrived."
At Dean's are-you-fucking-kidding-me expression, Damon's smirk returned. "I'm joking, of course," he amended, with a miniscule headshake, though it was absent of any sincerity. "Jesus, all the bones lying around and not a one of them is funny." He rolled his eyes.
Dean snorted then nodded at the door. Zombies were trying to tear the flesh from their bones—was their really a better time to share History Channel factoids? "There's an 1840 Calvary Saber in the display to the right. Mint. But, it's not as impressive as the rest of the collection."
"Huh." Damon cocked his head, considering it. "The 1840 was based on the French saber. Far more useful than an 1833 dragoon, I suppose—that model was more likely to break your wrist than aid you in close combat."
"Well, you saw it first. I insist."
The set of doors to the left rattled against the antique chairs holding them in place. The horde, it appeared, had broken through the other entry to the parlor.
The two men shared a glance, and for a moment, Dean wondered how another individual could look as numb as he felt. He shrugged it off. If blue-eyes made it through the night, suspicion could wait until morning. There was other shit to kill until then.
"You know, when it comes down to it," Dean noted, "I prefer firepower over elegance."
The chair's legs snapped and the undead flooded the display room.
Two Days Earlier
Elena pulled Jenna's car into the Salvatores' drive, sat back in her seat, and simply breathed. Still, her body refused to unwind completely, which, of course, was the reason for her visit in the first place. It wasn't fair, what she was doing. She was completely aware of how not-fair ditching the world was, especially for her family, her friends. But, God, another minute with everything piling higher…
The tap on her door stirred her from the moment. Stefan was standing there, staring at her through the driver's side window as if he wasn't quite sure of what to make of her appearance. She rolled the window down and forced a teasing smile onto her face.
"Fancy meeting you here."
"Is there a reason we're not going into the house?" he asked, trying to grin back. The expression was too strained to succeed. Elena could tell he was worried by her refusal to leave the car, but she only shrugged in reply.
"You got my message," she said, noticing the duffel bag swung over his shoulder.
"Yes. I did, Elena." His heavy brow wrinkled in concern. "You asked me to pack an overnight bag and be ready to leave. Am I supposed to know what's going on right now? Is something wrong?"
Elena shook her head. "Nope and nope," she chirped. "Hop in."
He slowly walked around to the passenger's side and hesitated as the door before he tossed his bag in the back. "Because you'd tell me if there was something wrong?" he asked as he slid inside.
Elena shut her eyes but couldn't manage to shut out the world. She opened them again with a sigh and turned to face him. "Everything is wrong. And everything is not wrong, even though it should definitely be wrong… I realize that makes absolutely no sense. Which is my point, actually. I can't think straight here. Not right now. Not right here. I just want to get some fresh air."
Stefan stared at her blankly.
"Fresh air from somewhere other than Mystic Falls," she elaborated. She made a face. "Bet you didn't know that I can be crazy spontaneous—I'm sure that's unusual behavior for a girl who's dating a vampire and is best friends with a witch who may or may not hate her right now… But I can be. And, this is me—"
"Being crazy spontaneous? Outside of Mystic Falls?" Stefan filled in. "Because you want fresh air so you can think? Let me see if I can summarize—you want to go on vacation."
Elena gave one solid nod. "Winter Break is this week. We're off school for the weekend and the next two work days, which means we have a four day weekend. I'd just like to spend one night somewhere else,and this seems like the perfect time to do so."
"Didn't we just have a Winter Break?" Stefan frowned. "I don't understand modern school holidays."
Elena patted his thigh. "Don't over-think it. So, I haven't decided where we're going yet, but I told Jenna I'd call her when we got there. She thinks we're camping with a group from school."
"Camping, glamping, whatever. RVs, cabins, fireplaces. Jenna went for it, so just go with me on this."
Stefan opened his mouth to reply but was cut off by the sound of the back door opening. Elena watched as Damon jumped in, a bag in hand, a tight smile on his face.
"Oh, Stefan, here," Damon said, by way of greeting, "was just about to protest the idea of you lying to your adorably oblivious guardian, then, mid-way through his argument, realize that he himself is a walking lie. He was going to conclude the attempt at maturity by falling into a manly brood." He winked. "Hel-lo, Elena. I packed snacks."
Elena caught her jaw dropping and closed her mouth. "Damon, get out of my car!"
"It's not your car," Damon corrected, looking pleased with himself. "It's Jenna's car. You wrecked yours because you have that nasty habit of slamming into people—another reason you shouldn't be driving. And, speaking of the irresponsible, Jenna would probably prefer you have chaperones on your little trip—would you like me to give her a call and make sure?"
"Damon." Stefan's voice was dangerously low. "Get out of the car. Now."
But Damon only leaned back, shimmying into the seat to relax. "Oh, come on, brother. A family roadtrip would be fun right now. Get my mind off of terrible, awful things like the love of my life not wanting me to find her—because, you care about my emotional well-being that much." He gifted her with a mocking pout for effect before getting back on point. "Plus, do you really trust me to behave with the two of you gone? Fox. Hen-house. Am I painting a picture for you?"
Elena shifted in her seat, facing the dash, then cocked her head, sharing a long side-ways glance with Stefan. She sighed. "Something tells me I'm not so much escaping the crazy of Mystic Falls, as taking it on a field trip."
She could feel Damon's wolfish grin. "Oh, by the way, I know exactly where we should go on this trip of yours, Elena."
"New Orleans it is," Dean announced, not nearly so pleased as Sam would expect, as he pocketed his cell phone and propped himself against the side of the Impala. "Bodies missing from graves. Animals mauled. Sightings of the deceased not acting so deceased. The usual signs of the dead refusing to stay down, or at least, that was the word from the hunter who went to check it out, a guy Bobby knew as Mal Hamilton."
"And Mal hasn't checked in?" Sam guessed. He finished pumping the gas and put the cap back in place, circling the car. The cool winter breeze hit him, and he crossed his arms over his chest, staring at his brother across the glossy black of the car. "And we're checking it out because…?" He watched Dean's brow raise, insisting he go on. "…Because we just finished one case of zombies, and this might be related to the Horseman Death, too?"
Sam sighed. "I really don't like zombies."
"Yeah." Dean gave a one-shouldered what-can-you-do shrug. "But, on the plus side, Mardi Gras is coming up next week, so there'll be tons of parties going on this weekend." He glanced up, frowning. "That's not a plus, is it?" At Sam's groan, he groaned back. "Didn't think so. God, I never thought I'd hate the idea of boozed up sorority chicks."
"How do we pick up on this Hamilton guy's trail?"
Dean's gaze narrowed in on the journal laying on his backseat. It had been a while since he'd really needed it, but… "There was a bokor in 'Orleans Dad saw once, back when he was working that case when we were teens. Remember the one? I think Dad said the priest was pretty used to getting hunters as customers, so we might check there first. See what the word is about town. If anyone knows about any damned zombies, it'll be a bokor."
"Can we really trust one, though? I mean, these guys are basically wanna-be sorcerers. They usually cause the zombie problems."
Dean snorted. "Hell no we can't trust him, but we're there for info, not for making friendship bracelets. Oh, which reminds me, Sammy…"
Sam frowned. "I know you're dying to say it, Dean. I saw it on your face the moment you mentioned New Orleans. So go ahead. Get it out of your system."
Dean smiled, accepting the invitation. "You mind earning me some beads while we're down there? I know how you love taking your shirt off at parades. Wasn't even Mardi Gras then…"
"It was one time, Dean! One damn time for that mambo priestess's spirit summons. And you're the one who gave a minor peppered rum." He disappeared into the car, slamming the door behind him and leaving his big brother smiling in the cold. A muffled, "Jerk," sounded from inside.
"Yeah. I've missed bitch-face." Dean sighed, wistfully. "Here we come, Louisiana."