Rated: T. The rating will change, each chapter will be clearly tagged if the rating changes.
Fandom/Universe: Supernatural / Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Characters: Xander, Giles, Willow, Dean, Sam, John, Bobby, The Harvelles, Pastor Jim...
Spoilers/Warning: Follows some of the episodes through Season1 of Supernatural and AU after that. AU BuffyVerse S8.
Disclaimer: Supernatural and all related characters are copyright Eric Kripke, Kripke Enterprises & The CW Network. No infringement intended.
Summary: Sunnydale sunk, The Scoobies went off to gather all activated Potentials... they missed one.
John thought he was saving her...
The day was warm, sunny and bright; people came outside to enjoy it. The sky was blue and full of white puffy clouds, just a normal spring afternoon and the guys walking down the street towards the café didn't mind the press of co-eds milling on the sidewalk. Levy cast a few appreciative glances at the girls in their short dresses and smiled. Beside him, Valen followed the same girls with an equally admiring eye.
"Hey," Levy nudged him, getting his attention. "Don't put the moves on my cousin."
"I can't flirt?" Valen looked surprised by the restriction.
"You'll scare her." Levy assured. He knew his cousin had spent the last ten years in some school, sheltered from 'the real world' and having to deal with her Mother… It couldn't be easy to come home to a family that had no place for her. Levy could empathize. His first time home on leave, he had felt out of place in his own house. Everyone seemed to tip-toe around him, avoided or was just uncomfortable in his presence. They had no idea what he'd experienced or how to talk to him.
He didn't want Sÿndra to feel left out but there wasn't anything he could do about her parents' house.
"Look," Levy stopped in the middle of the block and faced his friend. "She's not…like the chic's we pick up alright." She was quiet, shy – sort of… "Sÿn's … different." The problem was, even he didn't know how different because there wasn't much she would talk about and asking about the school always quieted the room. The whole situation was very uncomfortable.
"Ok," Valen agreed. "I was only fucking around."
They walked a block before Valen asked; "She's the one from the picture, right? Long black hair, smoky eyes, that pouty-."
"What the fuck did I just say?" Levy demanded as he rounded on his friend.
"What." Valen stepped back, both palms raised and trying not to laugh. "I'm just asking-."
"Valen, you're skating fucking air, man." Levy huffed.
"Dude, that makes no sense."
Levy took a threatening step towards his friend when; "Levy!"
Both of them turned towards the café and the outside patio. They saw Sÿndra waving at them from a table in the shade. Levy waved back, smiling.
"Keep it clean, asshole." He warned as they headed to the main entrance.
"Perfect gentleman, dude." Valen agreed as they wove through the tables. "My Mom taught me manners."
"Prove it." Levy threw over his shoulder.
Sometimes they came back. They managed to find her and they always arrived with plenty of back-up.
'I stayed too long.'
She should've moved on as soon as the threat was gone. The moment she dusted the vamps and torched the house… Instead, she'd slept the past three days on and off, feeling sorry and torturing herself with the past. One more family dead.
It wasn't her fault.
She'd never met them.
'But I couldn't save them.'
She had been too late for that.
Their blank stares and sightless eyes haunter her. She saw their blood splattered faces-.
"I believe you." Levy hadn't at first, when Sÿndra finally told him about the 'boarding school'. He had assumed everything had been too much; she was stressed out about her classes, being in a dorm with a bunch of girls though he'd though that would've been familiar. Levy never openly disbelieved her, but then she never brought it up again. How did anyone believe that vampires, werewolves-every scary monster movie freak, was real?
"This isn't your fault." Levy gripped her arms tighter. He shook her slightly and her tear streaked face looked up from the ground. "We survive the robed psychos. Then, we figure out what to do next."
She gave him a slight nod and Levy almost breathed a relived sigh but they weren't safe yet.
"Don't fall apart on us, little coz."
Their silence was unnerving; it was the only thing about them that really scared her. She'd seen uglier faces, smelled worse too but the silence… Even their movements were quiet. It was creepy.
'I'm going to die.'
She was almost certain of it because running only worked for a little while. Running gave them time to bring in reinforcements.
She could see it through the break in the tree line and turned towards it. She heard the rumble of an engine, all she had to do was time it right. Make it so the scarred freaks were right on her ass when she ran across the road …
It was late afternoon and the sun was only just beginning to set. Two more hours and he'd be able to stop, get some rest.
He never saw what came dashing across the road but he certainly felt the impact.
"What the hell!" John hit the brakes and swerved, the truck skidding to an angle and more thunks echoed on the side of his truck bed. John looked in his mirrors, he saw the partial bodies and then on the opposite side of the road … 'What the hell?'
They look like Friars and as far as John knew they didn't run into the path of moving vehicles or attack young women –
He didn't think twice of backing up his truck and flattening a couple more. He reached for his gun and jumped out, he gave her some room to breathe but he also recognized her.
He tried to focus on her, to ignore the throbbing pain that insisted he pass out. John Winchester is too stubborn for that and so he focused on the girl. The same girl he had seen tied up and hanging from the beam along with two other civilians. Missing people he was intent on rescuing and it had looked as though he would be in time.
"Fucking…White Knight." It had been the same during the war; when he was young and doing his duty. He did not hesitate to help those who needed it. Twenty years later and John Winchester helped in a different way.
For today, John is part of the rescue-es. Hurt, or not, John doesn't plan to sit on his ass and leave all the work to her. He struggled to his feet, clutching at his thigh and the bleeding gash slowly oozing blood past the pressure of his hand.
'Stitches.' He would tend to that later, back at the motel once the hunt was done; when the civilians were safe.
"Help us!" "Get us down!"
They hadn't stopped screaming to be cut down. The woman kept crying, from the moment she realized John was there and free to move about, she kept begging to be saved. None of them ever shut up, which made it much harder for him to actually save them.
He kept an eye on the Enchisa; there were two, which John had expected. It was the third that caught him by surprise and now he wondered why the pattern was so different than he'd been informed. The girl didn't seem to have any trouble with them at all. John paused to watch her; she was a thing of beauty. Graceful, fast- every move a smooth progression to the next. Her movements were so natural; John thought it was unconscious now, like breathing. This is what he had pushed his boys to embody and while they were both the best John had seen in his life … the girl had none to compare to.
She planted her foot in the bony chest, using it to push off and arch into a flip as she kicked up. John held the knife in his free hand, he watched the Enchisa grab at her ankle and the next instant her foot connected with its chin. The head snapped back sharply while the rest of its body flopped as though marionette strings had been cut. It landed on its back, head at an awkward angle and the last one screeched loud and piercingly. The sound was cut short; Enchisa clawed its bony chest only causing more damage while John wondered where the hell she had pulled out that dagger from.
The screaming civilians reached a new note of fear with their cries for help. John saw the reason for it at the same time as the girl.
"Cut them down."
John didn't question the order but it didn't mean he liked the fact this girl was telling him what to do when it was his job to save them. He would rather have secured the door and left her to cut down the screaming civilians. Instead he hobbled his ass towards the ropes feeling like he was wading through molasses. He heard the door slam shut as he sawed through the first piece and then his duffel landed by his feet.
"We're going to die!"
"Oh my God!"
"Please, please, please, I don't want to die-!"
"Screaming doesn't help. Shut up!"
John eyed her, the harsh words in contrast to the whiskey notes of her voice. Their cries became muffled blubbers while she knelt in front of him. John bit his lip as she brusquely brushed his hand aside and inspected his wound.
John grunted in reply and focused on banishing the black spots now dancing at the edges of his vision. The tearing sound was accompanied by a mild protest he was vaguely aware of uttering. He felt her hands on his thigh tying a tourniquet. He winced when she pulled it tight.
"Can you make it up there?" she pointed and John followed in the direction above to the catwalks.
"You two, up. Move!" she barked and hoisted the woman off the floor where she had been sobbing about her screwed up choice in men and the bad luck that always seemed to follow her because she never should have gone on that date. John hadn't noticed when she finished cutting the civilians down. Then again, he no longer had his knife. She pushed the pair to the metal rungs forming the basics of a ladder and got them climbing without much more urging.
"Find an exit or make one." She ordered but they likely hadn't heard her over the panic consuming them. "Get them safe."
John found himself focusing on her face; she was pale, her eyes a smoky shade of charcoal with sparks of silver. She was definitely young but certainly not a girl- a young woman, yes and by the weariness in her eyes maybe a lot older in life experience than John could ever guess. She turned away, to the door where the hollow banging was insistent, already dismissing him.
"Wait a damn minute." John growled as he snagged her wrist. "You are not staying down here-."
"Listen." She cut in, her tone hard as she looked him in the eyes without fear. "I'm not yours so don't pretend you can tell me what I can and can't do. I can handle this. And you are going to go. Now get a move on-."
"You're going to die."John caught the stillness of her features at his words. There was no initial panic, no fear … her voice lost some of its harshness.
"Then you better make sure you're all safe. Or I'll be seriously pissed off the Muhka ate all of you."
John frowned. He had no idea what she was talking about and glanced to where the Enchisa were trying to get through. They were a distant relative of the Wendigo, some physical similarities and as far as John knew, the same kill tactics applied.
"Up the ladder or I toss you." She demonstrated by tossing his duffel up to the catwalk. It was filled with weapons, ammunition- more gear than she should have been able to lift and yet she hadn't seemed to notice how heavy it was.
"How…" John eyed her up and down, her small frame much too thin, he had thought her weaker than she proved and his brain was slow to work through the options of how it was possible…
"I really don't want to hurt your leg more than it is." Her hand wrapped in to the lapel of his jacket with a firm grip.
The door screeched in protest, the banging on the opposite side becoming more insistent. It buckled under the pressure but still held.
"…krap." She muttered with a glance to the door.
"We can help each other." John insisted. He wasn't sure why, he just didn't want her on the ground floor with the monsters alone. She frowned at him. "This is what I do."
He was a Hunter and John had learned to be prepared.
"You're hurt." She re-iterated.
"I can still shoot." He glared in annoyance. He didn't appreciate the dismissive tone of hers just because he was wounded. The last thing in his plans was to get clawed by the Enchisa but he'd been careless, more surprised by her slipping from the rope she'd been tied with and strung up.
"We take the high ground-."
"Pick them off." Her expression changed slightly, considering another solution to whatever she had been planning to do.
She looked to the door where pale thin arms that ended in claws kept pushing through the gap between the door and frame.
"Aim for the head." She moved with him, forcing him to walk to the ladder the civilians had scurried up, shoving at him so he had to start climbing. "They're bony fuckers, but not the least fragile." She explained as John pulled himself up much too slowly. "They can heal almost anything on their bodies." She moved to the outside of the rungs, matching his pace without seeming effort though it had to be an awkward climb for her.
"How do you-."
"There's no way out!"and another "Oh my God." from the female. The door again made an echoing groan, this time it opened wide enough to allow a Muhka to poke its upper body through.
She wished John would move faster as their angry screeches grew louder.
"Hurry!" "Oh my God! Those things are coming in!"
"Come on." She grabbed his jacket again and pushed John up the next five rungs to his surprise. It was as far as she could reach. "Without a brain they can't function even though they aren't dead."
"Wh- they don't die?" John stopped climbing, his frown turning to a scowl at her words.
"They do once they're burned." She reached up and lightly jumped over the rail at the top while John reached for the next rung and started hauling himself onto the catwalk. He found it easier when she grabbed the back of his jacket and pulled him the rest of the way. Again, John didn't see how a small thing like her could manage his bigger frame let alone his weight.
"Open the duffel." He ordered trying to be careful of his thigh. He could feel cold sweat beading on his brow and the pain was worse. She did as he told her and those smoky eyes narrowed on him at what she saw inside.
"This is what you do?"She wondered what exactly the job title would be though there were a few possibilities she would rather it was. Hoping the man coming to their rescue wasn't a Hunter seemed impossible a wish to be granted.
She pulled out two shotguns-one was sawed off- along with the rounds for each, a 9mm P14.45, a Hardliner and the ammo for that as well as the extra clips and his rifle, a Savage Model Scout.
"Do you know how-?" John trailed off as he watched her load and prep the 9mm. she slipped it into the waistband of her jeans and reached for the spare clips.
"I'm familiar." She tried not to think of where that knowledge had come from or why she'd had to acquire it. Instead, she handed him a shotgun and a case of shells.
"How's your aim?" John followed her as she approached the civilians.
"Perfect." She answered with barely a glance at him. She handed the case of ammunition to the guy and pulled the woman to where John was propped up against the rail.
"We have to get ou-!"
"Great, they can eat you. Your choice." She gave them a moment to look down to where the Muhka were climbing over each other to get inside.
"Oh my God! I don't want to die!"
"God isn't helping you right now. Shut up. Sit your ass down and load." she pushed the woman down harshly and kicked John's duffel bag over after she grabbed the rifle. "Start doing for yourselves. The faster you re-load for us the less likely it is you're going to die tonight."
"But I've- I've- I don't-." "I don't know how to do this."
They looked up at her, both bruised up and bloody, completely unprepared for what was happening and she needed them to do more than cry.
"Here." John could see she was out of patience with them. He saw her relief at not dealing with the civilians anymore as John gave them a quick lesson on loading. When he looked up again she was on the catwalk with the rifle as the Muhka clawed over the one trying to get inside and the first shot rang with an echo. They screeched and banged on the metal until it bent inward. The rifle clicked empty too quickly but John, a little to her left and behind, stood braced against the rail and fired the shotgun.
John emptied his clip and re-loaded in a smooth motion, all from years of experience. He was forced to back up as a sharp blade came too close to his chest though just far enough away not to do him any harm. He forced himself to ignore the scarred eye sockets, the grim visage of their silent faces and maneuvered his way to her just as she cried out in pain.
She was hurt.
John knew it and yet she didn't stop fighting. He noticed the difference in style right away; fatigue had sucked the grace of her movements so they were efficient and nothing else. She was at the point were getting through the fight was more important than doling out pain.
"Here!" John tossed her the Beretta remembering her aim was much better than anyone he'd ever seen. She caught it, turning to put a bullet in heads as they came at her. The closest ones were cut down with a swipe from the rusted blade in her hand.
He could see more coming across the road, outlined in the setting sun so they were smudges of blood shaped figures. John had plenty of guns in his truck, he thought there might even be enough ammo to take them all on but that was suicide to even try.
"Come on." John grabbed onto the back of her jacket and pulled her with him towards his truck. Her feet kept pace with his, the gun finally clicking empty. She pulled out of his grasp long enough to throw the dagger. The force of the impact took the robed freak off its feet and when it hit the ground still bounced from the power with which it was struck.
"In!" John barked as he pushed her up into his truck. He climbed in after her, shooting two of the closer figures doggedly coming at them. Tires squealed as he stepped on the gas and his door shut with the momentum. The truck shot forward, fishtailing as John tried to straighten out. They bounced in the cab, the tires crunching over another one that somehow got run over.
"You piss them off?" he glanced into the rearview mirror where he could make out the fading figures trying to come after them. He got a pained chuckle in answer and glanced over to his passenger. She was huddled into the door; the hand clutching at her side was bloodied.
She noticed the look he gave her and knew it was going to be a hassle she didn't need. If he recognized her, which she was certain he already had, then he would question her again. About the freaks on her ass and that hunt… There had been times when it was worse-the wounds she had received in one fight or another- and she'd survived those. She had been surviving the past year and a half… One more time wouldn't be so hard now that she had a few minutes and miles to catch her breath and maybe think her way out of the endless loop she was caught in.
"I'll be fine-."
"You're bleeding in my truck." John growled casting another look in her direction. They both know exactly what he would see; a young woman much too young to be Hunting on her own. There was a fragile quality about her that had nothing to do with her bleeding. Her pale skin was more due to blood loss though John thought it could be as smooth as alabaster and maybe just as cool. Her eyes seemed entirely too dark in her face and inky strands of hair flitted about thanks to the air breezing through his half open window. John hadn't forgotten her from that hunt when he thought to have been rescuing her and it turned out differently. She's more than just a young woman and while he didn't get answers from her before he certainly didn't intend to let her get away a second time.
John sat down trying to hide the wince as pain flared in his leg as it bent and the skin pulled. It had numbed slightly during the walk to his truck. The blubbering duo huddled as far as they were able into the passenger side of the cab, their eyes wide and darting all over the place as though they expected more of the creatures to come out and grab them.
"Move over." She didn't give him a choice, forcing him out of the driver's seat still careful not to touch his leg. It wasn't an easy fit with four people in the cab of John's truck though no one complained as it started with a rumble and she quickly drove away from the burning building. John ground his teeth together as they pulled out of the shrubs and his truck bounced over uneven ground, his face grew pale.
"What do we tell the cops?" Neither seemed to really be looking at the road or expect an answer though they looked to him while the fire grew smaller in the distance.
She knew there would be nothing left of the Muhka but ashes as long as the fire department didn't arrive too soon. They were a good distance from town so the odds were good…
"No one's going to believe us." The woman hid her tear streaked face in his jacket, both civilians clinging to each other.
John still had no better advice for them after a decade of hunting. There really wasn't anything they could tell the police about what happened to them.
"Say whatever you want." It was difficult for her to feel sorry for them. They'd been the perfect victims, exactly what the Muhka liked and she'd used the male to get her in. once again, too late for the three missing people they had already taken.
John turned to the girl driving his truck, he had questions about the way she handled herself and the situation.
"But not the truth." She shook her head never taking her eyes from the road. "That'll get you a stay in the psych ward." Her mouth twisted into a grimace of a smile, her disgust thinly veiled. "Depending on how much you insist monsters are real determines how long you stay…" her voice dropped to an almost whisper they could still hear over the rumble of the truck. "And what pills help with the delusion. So…"
The woman whimpered, fresh tears coating her face while the man kept opening and closing his mouth trying to speak and clearly having trouble with the words. Both felt helpless, afraid with no one to tell of their horrible experience. John wondered if the girl spoke from personal experience, it would explain some of her behavior and if she were a Hunter then…John knew of a Hunter safely tucked away in a mental institution because he simply couldn't deal with this life anymore.
They drove in silence the rest of the way into town where she slowed at the first gas station. John checked to see if there was any security cameras then directed her to a dark corner of the lot where she pulled over.
"Alright. Out." She saw the twin looks of panic and pointed a finger at the well lit station only a few yards away. "Use the phone inside. And screen your dates in the future." She followed that by leaning across John and opening the passenger door for them.
John bit back the pained exclamation as her slight weight rested on his injured thigh. His eyes shot daggers at her back while the pair on his right were shoved out of the truck. He closed his eyes, hearing the protests of the pair she left standing in the lot. The door slammed shut as the truck sped off. With both hands clutching at his thigh he growled directions to his motel willing himself not to pass out and the little spots in his vision to disappear.
"Who are you?"
She shifted uncomfortably, her eyes quickly glancing at him before focusing on the road again. "No one." That was all the answer he would get from her. He didn't need to know her name; he didn't need to know anything at all about her.
John scoffed, his eyes focused on her intently ignoring him. He knew she wasn't a demon and at her quick glance realized he'd spoken out loud but at least she wasn't ignorant of their existence.
"Hunter." She hadn't wanted to believe it even though everything about him was screaming Hunter. She had known it when he walked into the den and again when she had opened his duffel, when he'd been hurt and still tried to keep shooting.
She pulled into the parking lot and took the first spot that was empty.
"Wait." She cut the engine, barely hit the parking break before he reached for her arm and she slipped his grasp, jumping out of the truck. John shuffled towards the door even as she slammed it shut on him.
"You can fix yourself."
He grumbled under his breath scowling at the door as he shoved it open again and got out trying not to hurt himself anymore than he was. He looked around and across the lot then towards the almost empty street but there was no sign of the girl.
John turned back to the road, aware of her sitting very quietly to his right. Her clothes had seen better days but then, John sort of had an idea of what she had been doing. Sometimes he thought of the way he'd raised his boys; one motel after another and the Impala their only constant roof while he searched for that thing that killed his beloved Mary. Even now, he would think of her and feel guilty that it wasn't as good as it could've been while she still lived.
John turned to the young woman at his side and found her gray eyes studying him. They were a dark shade, like charcoal though he could see flecks of silver which in his mind labeled as 'quicksilver'. More than the shade of her eyes, it was what he saw in them that John recognized. He had seen the same expression in the green and hazel eyes of his sons, though mostly in his eldest. He had put so much on those young shoulders and even now he continued to demand and expect too much of him.
"A little soap. Some water and you're as good as ne- well, you're good." She corrected looking around the interior. It was clean and well cared for but it wasn't new, not for the 1986 GMC.
"Bloody and cracking jokes." John shook his head. It brought to mind his son and some of his past injuries. The kid wouldn't shut up and if he did then it had to be bad. "You're in pain." It was there in the tight set of her mouth and the way she tried to keep her body as still as possible. John knew exactly where to take her.
"Well, I'm bleeding…." She couldn't help pointing it out. She just needed to rest a little bit, let her Slayer ability do its thing and then get a move on but as long as they kept to the road and didn't stop – but the longer she stayed with him the more he'd become a target and there had been enough death because of her. "So yeah, look, thanks for the help back there." She bit her lip at the pain shooting up her side as she sat up. "I'll take it from here. Just let me out-."
"In the middle of Minnesota?" John scoffed, the truck sped up. "I'm gonna take you someplace safe. Get you patched up."
"No hospital." She grabbed the door handle willing to jump out of the speeding truck before allowing herself anywhere near one.
"You got something against medical attention?"
"Anytime it's unsolicited." She leaned into the door, smoky eyes on the Hunter who'd helped her out. "Now, pull over-."
"No." John ignored the death grip she had on his door. "I wasn't going to a hospital."
"I'd hate to hurt you just so I can get out-." Because no one was going to make her go back there, not after all the trouble it took just to get out.
"We're almost there." John pointed out the sign flashing past them. Blue Earth was only a few miles away. "I'm John Winchester."
She didn't say anything, not sure about doing the whole name thing when she knew what he was.
"If you're in trouble…"
"You'll come to my rescue?" she scoffed but then hadn't he done exactly that this time around?
"You can trust me."
"Because you're a Hunter?" she rolled her eyes. One creepy, holy fanatic calling himself a Hunter was enough to decide she wasn't safe with them. Being the Slayer meant working alone, dying young – or so she had been told… but that wasn't the case anymore and this time around things were happening differently than she'd been told. If John knew what she was, he'd try and kill her too. The Slayer wasn't supposed to be real…
"Because we've helped each other out." John hoped it would mean something, get him a little information though if it were the other way around, John wouldn't be saying shit. Silence settled between them as he waited and was finally broken by her soft voice just above a whisper.
"Sÿndra." She didn't even know why she finally gave him that much but the ground wasn't opening up to swallow her. She figured maybe having a name would make it harder to want to kill her once he did figure out what she was but by then she would have to be very far away.
It wasn't exactly what John was hoping for but it would be a start. He nodded and the truck slowed down enough to make the turn off the road to Pastor Jim's place. "We're here."
The sun was gone and the sliver of moon in the night sky barely gave any light. The truck rumbled on, sparse copes of trees along the dirt road John drove on towards the familiar house. It wasn't far from the church and the white structure jutted from the flat ground it had been constructed on; a modest parking lot surrounded it but there was plenty of flat land for the large congregation to use.
Her eyes widened at sight of the church and for a moment, she felt her heart stop beating in her chest. She couldn't breathe, she couldn't move a muscle as fear paralyzed her. Sÿndra had a thing about hospitals with good reason. It was a phobia, very recent… just like her fear of churches.
"You lying-!" the short gasp of words rasped out of her dry mouth and finally her body jerked into motion as John pulled up to the house in a nice yard. She caught little details; like the orderly row of flowers lining the front porch and on either side of the stairs leading up to the front door. The way the grass sort of swayed in the gust of breeze she felt in her face as she got out of the truck- it was overgrown. The sound of the front door squeaking open as someone came out and she wondered if John knew what she was? If this was his attempt at 'exorcising' the Slayer 'demon' out of her…
"What's wrong with you?" John's door shut loudly, the crunch of his boots on the gravel as well; it was all Sÿndra could do to keep everything from overwhelming her and the sudden amplifying of each sound hurt as much as her side and the deep cut still oozing blood past her fingers as she pressed down harder.
'I'm not dying here! I will Not!'
"Get away from me!" Sÿndra almost shook her head at the stupidity of the warning. A Hunter!
John's hands came up, the same gesture one would use when trying to calm a skittish horse and he wondered what the hell the girl was freaking out about. She was so pale and it made sense that she would be delirious, in pain and had most likely lost a lot of blood. He was certain there would be a dark patch in the passenger side of his truck.
"Idiot!" Sÿndra screamed under her breath. She blamed herself for it, for allowing herself to get caught and backed away but John kept coming towards her. She could hear his heart speed up and his hand clamped down on her forearm much faster than she anticipated. It was a mistake, grabbing her and Sÿndra took the advantage.
Hurt, exhausted…those things meant nothing when her life was at stake and adrenaline would help get her away if she could just focus on where to run to.
John found himself staring up at the twinkling stars, his back tingled just a little and the breath knocked out of him from the slight wisp of a girl he thought was maybe too weak to hurt him.
'I'm gonna regret this.'
Pastor Jim Murphy hurried down the last steps of his front porch, eyes wide. "What are you doing, John?" he bent to help the gruff man get to his feet, eyes resting on the young woman. He had never seen anyone knock John Winchester down that wasn't some kind of monster and she certainly didn't look the part. The dirt smeared cheek was too pale, the dark patch of a bruise marred her skin and there were dark circles ringing her eyes. She looked dog-tired but more than that was the fear he could clearly see in her eyes.
Sÿndra pointed a trembling finger at the men. "Back off." Her voice came out hoarse- not at all the strong, angry tone she would have preferred.
"You're hurt." Pastor Jim noticed the blood on her hand, the dark patch that marred her dirty gray shirt. It had spread to the top of her ripped jeans.
"She was attacked." John explained. He gave a slight huff of annoyance, dark eyes narrowed as he studied her. "Some robed Friars, scarred eye sockets with long daggers a few miles out of Blue Earth." He didn't say the Friars were a first since he had started Hunting but if Jim had seen them before …?
"Stay away from me." Sÿndra steadily moved away from them, she had only ever seen the shadow of the man in her dreams, the black clothes…the brilliant square of white at his collar… all those girls, their eyes staring sightlessly and the blood… Sÿndra didn't want to die, at least not yet though what there was to look forward to when no one had come for her... She hadn't been able to find anyone from the Watchers Council and even Andreas was missing. She had no one, not even her old Watcher to explain what happened. Why had the Powers That Be Called her when she was no longer a Potential...?
"We don't mean you any harm." Pastor Jim moved towards her, just a step to the three she quickly added between them.
"Did you say that to the others?" Sÿndra demanded. "Did you tell them it wouldn't hurt when you cut out their hearts!"
If she closed her eyes their faces would be as clear as a picture. The young girls screaming out as the Bringers cut into their chests and removed their hearts. She would hear them screaming in her head, feel them die … and then he'd be there. He would stand just out of sight, hidden by shadows so dark Sÿndra couldn't be sure he was even there.
"What others?" John scowled. He and Jim shared a look, questioning if she were telling them the truth, if it was some sort of hallucination, or that maybe she was out of her mind entirely.
"The girls." Sÿndra felt the ground come up at her; she felt it tilt under her feet while her head spun.
"You know what you are?" his tone was gentle. A lie and yet he spoke with complete conviction. "Dirty."
He had found her again.
"You were born dirty, born without a soul."
She wanted to deny it but had no voice.
"Born with that gaping maw wants to open up, suck out a man's marrow."
Pastor Jim Murphy cleaned and dressed the wide cut. It was roughly 6inches in length starting at her waist and stopping just shy of her ribs. It certainly hadn't looked an hour old, not with the scab torn open again from when she tossed John to his back. He wondered at her reaction to him and stood from the bed where she lay sleeping fitfully. Jim turned towards the door and found John watching from the shadows.
"What did these…Friars? look like."
John shrugged, his eyes never leaving Sÿndra. "Ugly sons o' bitches in brown robes with hoods. A rope 'round their waist like a belt and everyone of 'em was blind. Their eye sockets were burned, Jim." John gave a slight tilt of his head towards the bedroom. "They were coming at her with the same knife."
Both men looked into the unconscious girl almost as pale as the sheets she lay on. John had carried her in; quietly surprised by the feel of her in his arms- the girl weighed nothing and he could swear he felt each one of her bones.
"Do you have it?" Pastor Jim thought maybe they could learn something from it; who the Friars where, what kind of evil wanted to kill her…
"No," John shook his head. "There wasn't a chance. And she gave back the one in her hand." his smile was just a little grim remembering the impact of that throw.
"She fears me, John." Pastor Jim didn't like the feeling, he wasn't used to being feared by the people he tried to help and this girl didn't know him at all.
"You don't look anything like those freaks." John's low grumble really didn't do much by way of reassuring him but a comment like that from John was rare so Pastor Jim didn't say anything. They watched her shift in the bed, hands twitching and intelligible words they couldn't quite hear.
"She needs to rest." Pastor Jim led the way downstairs with John trailing behind him. He didn't want to tell Jim about the hunt and the … the Muhka she took out simply because of the how she managed it all. He still couldn't quite get his head around the things he'd seen her do. The explanations simply brought John to a place he wasn't usually reluctant to go…but this girl…
"It's not like you, John." Pastor Jim glanced up from where he was brewing a pot of tea. "To pick up young women in distress."
John made no reply, choosing to wait until Jim placed a steaming mug in front of him and he'd tried to think his way around what he could say and what he wanted to say.
"We've met." It's the truth John can safely admit to but then he noticed the strange look on the preachers face. "On a hunt." He snapped, glaring at his friend. He kept himself from showing any discomfort for the insinuation he would have that kind of relationship with a young woman barely more than a girl. There was nothing wrong with Sÿndra aside from her youth in comparison with John's age. John rather thought the girl would be more interested in one of his boys, though Dean would be the first to sweet talk her.
"She does look young enough to be your daughter." Pastor Jim couldn't help just one more dig at John. He took a drink from his mug to hide the smirk playing about his lips for the insinuation.
"I would remember that." John thought of Adam. He worried the boy wasn't safe even with the precautions he'd taken.
"Do you know what she meant? Out there." Pastor Jim nodded towards his front yard and the altercation. John shook his head, dark eyes staring into his mug.
"Not a damn clue." The silence didn't last before John looked up, a frown settling his features into a slight scowl. "I don't know more than her name. Sÿndra."
"Uncommon." Pastor Jim noted. "Last name?"
"She didn't say." John answered in a gruff voice.