March 2012



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Mar. 27th, 2012





Episode 01: Benjamen Braeden is just your average hunter, out save the world.  On his way through Detroit, Michigan, he runs into another hunter: Claire Novak, a pretty blonde thing who trails him from the nearby police station.  The two find themselves working together on a case that ends up being the first of many.


Episode 02: Jesse Turner continues on his Tour du Jour of America, taking a pit-stop to enjoy some of the finer things in life with a few other red-blooded American boys he met at the concert.  Everything goes horribly awry when his camping trip is interrupted by a family of ghosts.
Episode 03: A new club has opened up in Milwaukee.  Within weeks, six people go missing.  Ben and Claire decide to check it out before they get a surprising tip from an unexpected ally that what they’re really hunting is vampires.


Episode 04: The Team heads up to the Wisconsin Dells for a little R&R, but work just has a way of catching up with them.  Jesse comes across a Mannegishi - a water monster with a grudge - whose river is being dammed and is trying to get revenge.
Episode 05: Claire has been training Jesse in the ways of The Force Hunting.  Ben begins to think he’s being replaced by a newer model.  Things come to a head in a local bar and in the process, Ben and Jesse bring their fight to the attention of a Trickster.


Episode 06: Ben and Jesse’s rekindled friendship manifests in a prank against Claire, who takes it one step further before an all-out war breaks out.  Meanwhile in DeKalb, Illinois, trouble is brewing on the local college campus.
Episode 07: After a shaky hunt, the team returns to Arcadia, Indiana just in time for Ben’s birthday.  Reveals set their relationships on the rocks, but nothing shakes the foundation more than an attack on the Braeden-Carters.
Episode 08: The team wastes no time heading toward their only clue to Ben’s sister’s whereabouts.  Despite the turbulent events, the unresolved tension from Arcadia comes up, and Jesse handles it the only way he knows how.
Episode 09: The team is separated when Jesse is kidnapped.  Ben and Claire find themselves in equally upsetting situations as the timer for Krysta’s rescue continues to tick away.


Episode 10: The hunt for Krysta Carter finally comes to a head as Ben, Claire, and Jesse arrive in Maine.  However, it seems like the demons still have a few tricks up their sleeves.
Episode 11: After a couple weeks of rest and research, the team gets sucked into a case when Katherine Nevins — an ally from Claire’s past — runs into them in a local diner.  Six local high school students are dead, all of them dying from similar circumstances.  What is the chain that connects them?


Episode 12: The recent case has once again put strain between the team, and Kat suggests that they take time to regroup while meeting up with a contact of hers, a researcher named Lucas Barr who lives on the outskirts of Las Vegas, Nevada.  Lucas mans the hunt for information on their newest foe while Ben and Claire give Jesse a look into what their lives normally look like.
Episode 13: A mysterious contact from Claire’s past calls asking for help, and the team sets off for Chackbay, Louisiana after learning of the five missing children.  Ben remains highly skeptical that Claire’s contact is just out for a little help, and Jesse makes an on-the-spot decision that could turn the tables against the team forever in this terrifying mid-season cliffhanger.
Episode 14: The team is quick to put Chackbay in their rearview, and while taking a couple days to recover they find a job in Arlington, Alabama.  However, an unfortunate slip-up once again draws negative attention to both Jesse and Claire.
Episode 15: Claire, Ben and Jesse recover in Rockville, Maryland.  Or so Claire is lead to believe, before she suddenly finds herself living out her worst nightmare.


Episode 16: Claire, Ben, and Jesse recover in Rockville, Maryland while an old friend of Ben’s — Izzy Gallagher — helps him rebuild the GTO.  But like it or not, there’s no such thing as a break from hunting, as Jesse is reminded when the demon decides to call in on a job.
Episode 17: With Ben in a coma, Claire and Jesse are left stranded and unable to cope.  They learn the hard way that — just like in the case of vacations — a hunter’s work is never done.  Ben also deals with the repercussions of his memories flooding back into him, and two familiar foes make a reappearance.


Episode 18: The team barely manages to recover from their recent fiasco before Claire is snatched out from beneath them.  It’s a race against time to recover her before the demons break her spirit.
Episode 19: Rest is not an option as Ben, Jesse, and Claire are forced to confront Belial, the demon who has been on their tails since Arcadia.  Ben leaves on a quest to find the Colt and his father, and Jesse is left with the sole responsibility of keeping Claire safe after her recent trauma.


Episode 20: Running on borrowed time, Ben races to recover Claire and Jesse from Belial’s trap with the help of his father and uncle.  But who’s to say they aren’t the bait themselves?

View Team Free Will 2.0 in a larger map

Aug. 10th, 2011


Episode 1x18: Mutilation Is The Sincerest Form Of Flattery (Part 3 of 3)

- THEN -


Claire couldn’t keep her eyes open for much longer than a few seconds at a time; the yellow lights rushing past, the momentum and sway of Jesse’s body beneath her, every step he took jarred splinters of pain through her bones. She couldn’t even cling to him due to the broken ones; her head simply lay limp on his shoulder.

“The others,” she whispered into his shirt. “There are others they took.”

“We’ll come back for them,” he said firmly. “First, I’m getting you out.”

The basements were quiet as they went through, but when he came up on the first floor, it was obvious the cavalry had been notified.

The lobby was packed. People of all shapes and sizes, colors and ages stood in silent attention, all staring directly at Jesse and the unconscious woman in his arms. Some had the dull, lifeless gaze of the familiar human slaves. Others, their eyes were completely black.

[-- him him it’s him --]

[-- serve him --]

[-- love him --]

Jesse could feel the Nephilim among them, shifting closer, their eyes bright. Despite the adrenaline racing through him, he could pick out the beats of his heart, slowing, steady. Gently, he set Claire on the floor, giving her one last look before he stepped over her. She didn’t move; she was barely breathing.

“I am your master. You were born to serve /me/” )


It was as though the world was coming to an end. Ben had never been in an earthquake before, and outside of an exhibit at a museum once when he was a kid and all the drills they’d been forced to participate in, he hadn’t even known how to respond. Luckily Kat and Lucas were quite familiar, and he barely had time enough to throw his bag over his shoulder before they were barreling out of the shaking building as fast as their legs could carry them. He’d watched as a crack through the ceiling chased them all the way out the door, just in time for the building to start to collapse inward on itself.

Sarah hadn’t made it. Ellis had to bodily hold Rebecca back from going in after her mother, but there was no way she could have survived that kind of impact. Car alarms were blaring everywhere; the few people who had gotten out of their own homes safely sobbed openly in the street. It was pure chaos, and Jesse and Claire were both gone. The cell networks were down in the area. Ben was completely helpless.

Amitiel, please, Ben prayed hands clasped hard and head bowed as Kat openly cursed up and down about her car having gotten destroyed by a nearby fallen light post. Help me. Tell me what to do.

“Ben!” The voice was a ways away, but it sure did carry, even over all the noise. “Ben! Where are you?!”

Ben would have heard that voice even if he were deaf, and he was pretty sure Jesse’s panic was fueling the volume, along with the added bonus of wanting to be heard. Relief flooded him.


“Ben!” There, shoving past an ambulance, came Jesse. Claire lay in his arms and he had tears on his cheeks. He was covered in blood. Panic shoved the relief right out of Ben.

No no no no no, no, no! Please!

“Oh god--”

“She’s okay, she’s fine, I got her.” )


Ben couldn’t help feel exhausted after the insane four days they’d had, but there was no way he had any intention of stopping until they were far enough away. After changing out of her destroyed clothing and mopping what she could off her skin with a handful of wet-naps, it hadn’t taken long for Claire to fall asleep, curled against Jesse in the back seat, his arms wrapped around her tightly. He drove with his foot all but embedded into the floor as he tried to put as much distance between them and La Grande as possible.

It had been six hours, but he wanted to put in at least four more before they made a pit stop. If it were up to him, he’d drive through the night. There was certainly urgency enough to move them. The radio played mutely in the background as they drove on through the darkness:

”...An estimated $8 billion worth of damage have been done to the streets and buildings in the neighboring towns. Reported death and missing are still on the rise, with the last recorded number in La Grande at 286 dead and over three thousand injured...”

Sarah had been among them. Ben hardly knew her, but guilt settled like a stone, heavy in his gut. If he hadn’t phoned Lucas and demanded that he help, Sarah might have lived.

Everyone you’ve ever loved, everyone you’ve ever known, will burn.

“You know that amulet from Rockville?” )


Episode 1x18: Mutilation Is The Sincerest Form Of Flattery (Part 2 of 3)

- THEN -


It would have been just as easy to break into a new age store and simply steal everything they needed, especially for Jesse, but Ben didn’t want to risk any additional or unwanted attention being turned their way. They’d gathered what they needed from Kat’s texted list, avoiding the shopgirl’s polite small-talk as to what they needed everything for, then raced back to the nearest abandoned farmstead they’d found on the drive through town. Ben found the box of white chalk and moved to the wooden boards they’d dragged in earlier, drawing up the greater seal of Solomon, meant to trap and render a demon unable to use its power. It was much more elaborate than the typical devil’s traps he was used to using, but he had to be sure.

Jesse sat on the floor, watching him with red, sleepless eyes. His stomach clenched with nerves, and he felt like a traitor for it. They had to do anything they could to get Claire back, it was as simple as that. He shouldn’t feel anything else.

“Can I help?” he asked, his voice a bit rough.

“Get another piece and draw that summoning sigil just on the outside of this. I’ll get the ingredients for the spell after I’m done here.” )


Chinese water torture seemed like a ridiculous idea. What harm could water really do? And it wasn’t like Claire hadn’t been through much worse.

Which didn’t explain why it was such a relief when she heard a door open to the small room. There was a click, and a dim yellow light turned on overhead. Restraints kept her from looking over, but she didn’t need to. A face leaned over her, young and smiling.

“Hello,” the boy said. He couldn’t have been more than sixteen years old, his near-black hair tucked back in a ponytail. His expression was serene, almost impassive.

Had she not been strapped to a table and assaulted by drops of water for hours, confusion might’ve been Claire’s first reaction. The kid now blocking the piercing light should’ve been on the set of some kitchy Disney channel show, or waiting in line for the newest video game with his friends--not grinning down at a kidnapped hunter in the middle of a demon nest.

She didn’t fully trust her senses right then, either, but hallucinations didn’t typically hang around so long. Or did they?

Claire closed her eyes, regardless of how they twitched every time another drop hit her on the forehead. Weak from lack of food, water, and sleep made even the most subtle rise in her blood pressure feel like hot tar moving through her veins. She opened her eyes again, hoping the kid wasn’t there. Of course, he was.

His smile widened. “Water bothering you? I’d turn it off, but you might as well get used to it, so.”

“Oh, I’m used to it,” she lied with another twitch. After the first hour, her muscles had knotted up from stress to the point where she doubted she’d be able to walk right. “Nothing like a good shower.” )


The time had long passed since Claire answered every question or demand with an insolent attempt to break free or sarcastic jab. After the first two hours, it’d boiled down to a matter of pride, which had flared as hot as the piece of hard wire that’d already shredded the back of her shirt and skin beneath it. When the black-haired kid reddened the end of it with a blow torch--that’s when Claire stopped speaking all together. Of course, she still made noise.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t satisfactory either.

All sensation now blended into a indiscriminate roar of pain. The barbed wire that held her wrists wide apart snagged into her skin every time she jerked, spilling a blood and sweat mix that ran sick trails down the length of her body. No one cut, bruise, or burn distinguished itself from any of the others at this point--not until each time he delivered a fresh one. Claire was still panting from the last strike which cut across the less-abused area of her hip and around to the front of her thigh, taking bits of dirty denim and skin with it. There was a long pause, waiting for the next blow, but instead a hand twisted in her hair, yanking her head back.

“How’s my girl doing? You gonna be good for me?” )


“There’s a little hotel on the edge I want to work out of,” Ben was saying into the phone as they drove. Driving on the main highways all but guaranteed a cop would pull them over, so they were following a back road perpendicular to the highway. Unfortunately, there were a lot more bends and hills. “Just outside of town, called the Hot Lake Hotel? It’s remote enough that we won’t be followed back. We’ll meet you there.”

Just don’t do anything stupid, Shaggy,” Kat’s tinny voice replied on the other end. “Wait for back-up. There’s no telling how many other demons’ll be there.

Got all the back-up I need, Ben thought, casting a quick sideways look at Jesse in the passenger’s seat. “Yes, ma’am. Seeya soon.” He ended the call and immediately started ringing up Lucas.

Any news?” Lucas answered.

“We got a location. We’re gonna need a few more eyes though, if they can be spared,” Ben said. “How many we got in eastern Oregon?” )


It’d been hours--or at least, that’s what it felt like, since the light went out. Maybe it’d only been one hour. Maybe it’d been fifteen minutes. Claire hadn’t been able to follow the time in a long, long while, and she’d stopped whispering the prayers of her childhood aloud when her mouth became too dry to speak.

The pitch black had eventually faded by the faint slit of light that still managed to peek through the bottom of the closed door. She only knew about it by the ghost of a shadow her battered body cast on the opposite wall; her back facing the tiny glow. Claire looked at the dark shape in front of her, poised on her knees with her arms spread wide, held fast by what felt like rusted wire. She didn’t dare move; the stillness she settled into kept the pain at a tolerable roar--but the weight of her own head had become too much for her neck to support.

Slowly, she dropped her chin toward her chest, eyes squeezing tight against the rods of hot pain the movement caused. Her mind zeroed in on the imagined shape of her father. She repeated his words without any sound to her voice: They’re coming for you. They’re coming.

The light suddenly snapped on, causing the bulb it emanated from to buzz loudly.

“Hello, little hunter.” )


Even as physically weak as Claire was, in the hours after Issac left with a crucial piece of her forearm, her consciousness refused to yield. In the dark, she shivered and bled, whispering prayers that provided less and less comfort as the time went on. More than once, she called to Kadiel, and received no answer, each time remembering the angel’s words; the place is barred, you must get away.

But the wires around her wrists felt like they were part of her actual bone structure at that point. Even her broken fingers contained no feeling from the lack of blood. Every breath cracked the dried black crust on the shreds of her shirt and reopened another wound somewhere. She wouldn’t have been able to stand, even if she were somehow able to get herself untangled.

Claire’s head hung, her eyes closed and burning like the rest of her. The last hour had gone by with memories of Ben and Jesse, no longer focused on when they would arrive and this Hell would end. Only their smiling faces; the sound of Ben’s laugh when he’s slightly drunk, and Jesse’s tendency to shriek like a girl when tickled.

I’m so sorry,” she mumbled tightly into the dark, slowly resigning to the knot in her throat. “I love you.”

There was the sound of rushing wind from somewhere distant, but it became louder as it approached. )


Lucas had called them when they were still a few hours out. They’d found a place swarming with demons; the Hot Lake Hotel. It was going to be a tricky thing, especially since so far only Kat and three other hunters had been able to join them. They were hunkered in a hotel in La Grande. When Jesse and Ben arrived, they kept the greetings short. The three other hunters were a family, the Mathers. Ellis was tall, blond, and weathered and didn’t seem a man of many words. Sarah was red-haired and freckled with eyes always crinkled in a smile. Their daughter Rebecca was blond and probably a few years younger than Jesse, though she seemed pretty sure of herself.

Convening in Lucas’ room, he quickly brought Ben over to a map pinned on the wall. “Hot Lake isn’t too far away, and observation is pretty easy,” he said. “It wasn’t too hard finding the blueprints online. The only trouble will be deciding where they might have Claire. How...important do you think they’re treating her?”

“They’d want her in isolation,” Ben said, feeling a clench in his chest as he tried not to focus on the details. “And with enough obstacles in the way that if she did get out, she’d be easy to stop.”

“So either up high or as low as they can,” Sarah chimed in from her lean against the far wall. Rebecca nodded absently, looking down at the phone in her hand; she was texting her father, who had just checked in from his stake of the place.

“Doubt they put her in a penthouse.” )


If there was one thing Jesse had learned, it was that security was always generally focused on keeping people out. Once you were in, it might as well be your own house. Which meant he had a distinct advantage. He came up in the basement; that’s where they had figured Claire might be, so it was probably the best place to start. The place was quiet, except for a high, far off noise he couldn’t quite place. The halls were dim and he walked carefully along. Just as he was about to turn a corner, a man beat him to it.

“Stop. Don’t make a sound,” Jesse ordered. The man instantly complied, his eyes going wide. He looked to be in his thirties, but Jesse knew by the twist in his stomach that he was much older. “Where is Claire Novak?”

The demon looked confused, but answered in a gravelly voice. “Storage room five.”

Jesse rolled his eyes. “How do I get there?”

“Down the sub-basement stairs, second door on the right.”

“Great, thanks. Now go to Hell.” )



Episode 1x18: Mutilation Is The Sincerest Form Of Flattery (Part 1 of 3)

Getting groceries took surprisingly longer than he expected, and Ben found himself all but squirming as he pushed the little half-cart out through the doors and toward the car. He got all of five steps before he saw Jesse’s body on the ground, curled up at an awkward angle. It felt like all the air had been squeezed out of his lungs.


The cart forgotten, Ben raced toward him, crouching down and checking immediately for a pulse. It was weaker than it should have been, staving his panic by fractions. Ben shook the older man.

“Jess, c’mon, wake up! Wake up!

Head lolling, Jesse gave a groan, his face squinching up as he brought a hand up to cover his eyes. “Fuck. Light.”

Ben finally took a full breath, his heart still racing as he helped Jesse sit up.

“You all right? Where’s Claire?” )


Consciousness didn’t come back for Claire all at once. Like a slow tide rolling in, the first thing she was even remotely aware of was movement. The subtle lean in her equilibrium as well as the vibration of an engine and an uneven road paved the way to the opening up of the sounds that surrounded her. A distant song played on a radio, turned down. Other cars rushed by.

For an instant, she automatically assumed she was just laying down in the back of the GTO, but the next second, the dull ache in the side of her neck triggered the memory of its sharp origin. A body had pressed against her from behind in the truck stop bathroom, pinned her to the sink and jabbed something sharp and burning into her neck.

Claire opened her eyes and tried to suck in a breath, but it only collapsed the duct tape across her lips. Her hands twitched hard against the plastic zip tie that kept them together at her back. Full consciousness set in, finally, with a flood of barely suppressed panic on its heels.

“All right there, sweetheart?” came the tall, English vowels of the driver. A slim hand rose to adjust the rearview mirror in her direction, green eyes catching her form before wrinkling in the corners. “Sorry for the precautions, but I had to be sure you didn’t try and end the party early.” )


The conversation with Lucas had been a short and painful one. It was hard not to go into details about what happened, but with Jesse uncharacteristically quiet in the seat, Ben had no other choice but to direct the flow of conversation. It was going to take at least twenty minutes for the man in Las Vegas to hack into the system and activate the GPS in Claire’s phone.

Assuming, of course, that it hadn’t been disposed of. Claire normally kept the phone on silence unless she was expecting a call, and even then there was no guarantee that the demon who had snatched her hadn’t frisked her.

While they were waiting for Luke’s call, Ben had called Izzy and asked her to send out feelers through her connections. It was a wide net, but there was no guarantee anyone would bite or even make the effort to go looking for her. There was, however, at least one hunter who would no doubt drop what she was doing and search about as hard as they were planning to. Ben felt his chest constrict as he thumbed the number from the contact rolladex. It rang twice before there was an answer:

Shaggy. To what do I owe the pleasure?

Just hearing Kat’s voice was enough to make Ben’s stomach twist a little harder.

“Where are ya, Kat?”

Illinois. Why, what’s wrong?

Ben took a breath, then let it out.

“Claire’s been snatched.” )


It’d taken an forever to discreetly pry up a tiny corner of the tape over her lips, without the sharp eyes in the cruiser’s rear view mirror catching on. Claire sat slumped in the hard plastic back seat, most of her face purposefully hidden by her hair. She moved achingly slow, drawing the side of her cheek on the seat only a little at a time. Bit by bit, the tape released more of her skin, then the corner of her lips.

She had to fight her own impulse to do it any faster, even concentrating on the deep burn in her shoulder joints from their unrelenting strain. It got more difficult as the time and the miles rolled on, but eventually, she was able to move her lips--and speak. On her first breath, she wasted no time.

Exorcizamus te,” Claire whispered through her teeth just under her breath, and staring through her hair at the back of the demon’s head. “Omnis immundus spiritus, omnis satanica potestas--

The car screeched to a sudden stop. If they’d been on the high way, no doubt there would have been an accident, but Claire had noticed that they were taking the back roads in the midst of her slow process. The force of the sudden breaking sent her lurching forward, her head knocking hard against the grating. With a hard grunt, pain shot through her temple as skin scraped on the mesh. A warm tickle crawled down her brow bone and across her cheek, smearing as she braced a foot on the back of the seat.

Omnis incursio infernalis adversarii!” There was no reason to hide it now. Claire’s voice was harsh and growled with hatred--the incantation picking up speed. “Omnis legio, omnis congregatio et secta diabolica!

The door was thrown open, and moments later hers was also. Before she even had a chance to react, the demon yanked her out of the car by her hair, then slammed her head against the metal corner near the glass with significant force.

The next thing she knew was the smell of apple pie. )


Ben seemed to be trying to make up for not knowing where they were going by driving there as fast as he could. Jesse didn’t comment. It wasn’t like he was any help, and it least they had a general direction.

He’d fallen into silence, hardly saying two words the whole trip. There was one more thing he could do, one more person--thing he could talk to. He didn’t think Claire would approve, but that didn’t matter as much as getting her back.

The only problem was Ben. Jesse immediately dismissed the idea of just popping out to see the demon without saying anything. He didn’t know how long he would be, and Ben was panicking enough. If he told Ben everything, though, that might not lessen the panic any. He might even try to stop Jesse from going. To be honest, he was nervous about trying to come back to a moving car again. If they could stop, just for a half hour or so, he could chase the demon down.

As if hearing his thoughts, Ben pulled off the next exit, turning into a gas station.

“What’s wrong?” Jesse said quickly. )


It was dark again when Claire woke with a startled muffle into the tape around her mouth, jarred back into consciousness by a noise so loud, her first panicked thought was crash. But she wasn’t suddenly engulfed in spilled gasoline or flames. There was moisture in the air, in the wind that pushed through the cruiser, since something had opened the door. It was raining sheets, and the loud noise had been a peal of thunder.

Strong arms grabbed her around the middle, throwing her over a tall shoulder before steadily marching through the rain. In less than ten wide steps they were under cover again, the doors thrown open by an unknown force. Even as she was taken inside, distant screams of pain met her ears.

“Took you long enough,” a gruff male voice called out.

“They were in Maryland. I got back as fast as I could.”

“Whatever,” came the sharp retort. “Stick her in processing with the others.” )


Sleep was impossible, at least for him. Jesse stood in the middle of the hotel room, staring down at Ben’s naked form curled on the bed. He had his back to Jesse. All Jesse wanted to do was go on a walk, but he couldn’t without Ben. He walked around to the other side of the bed to face him, but Ben’s back was to him again. He walked quickly back, and again, but no matter where he moved or how fast, Ben always had his back to him.

He heard the click of the door latch and spun around just in time to see long, blond hair disappear through.

“Claire!” he shouted, sprinting through the door and right into thick woods. He caught another glance at her hair as she ducked around a tree, running from him. He didn’t slow down. “Claire! Claire, stop!”

“She can’t.”

A tiny voice echoed off the trees, off the fog, off the very darkness that surrounded him before becoming solid. Right behind him, an adolescent girl in a Catholic school uniform stood on a log. Her yellow hair was pinned back at one side, but otherwise swallowed her small shoulders. )


Jul. 26th, 2011


Extended Scene: 1x17.5 - Help I'm Alive

Takes place before the trio gets on the road at the end of 17.2 )

Jul. 25th, 2011


Episode 1x17: Dying to Know (Part 2 of 2)

- THEN -


“I have no idea how you’re gonna run EMF in a hospital,” Izzy said quietly, chewing her lower lip in thought. “With all the interference, you won’t find much in the way of clues.”

“Cold spots?” Jesse asked. He had half a sandwich in hand but wasn’t really eating it. The diner had piled their plates high with food, but as good as it looked, it just wasn’t on his mind. Claire’s either, although her coffee mug certainly had a lot of her attention; she was on her fourth cup in the last twenty minutes, but it didn’t look like it was helping any.

“Thing had the look like it wanted to be seen,” she said, stirring a pack of natural sugar into the brew. “It just had that feel.”

Izzy chewed her lips thoughtfully. “Doesn’t really sound like a normal ghost. Maybe it’s a death omen?” Her hands twisted around the mug, soaking up the heat.

Jesse straightened immediately, looking at Claire, then back at Izzy. “What’s that supposed to mean?” Claire just kept staring at her mug. The words ‘it crossed my mind’ kept getting stuck in her throat, because then that would be admitting the idea that a death omen had just shown itself to her--around Ben, which meant either one of them could’ve been on the Reaper list.

“My gut says no.” )


“Do you love her?”

Ben watched as the sounds beneath the car suddenly stopped. Everything felt like it was moving faster than it ought to; he could hear the words before they were actually said, whispered echoes that made his pulse feel like it was pumping faster and harder. On the opposite side of the car and leaning against the far wall was his doppelganger; Ben could senses him there and see the shape of him, but he hadn’t made eye contact with him for at least twenty memories now.

“It’s complicated, Ben.”

“Don’t give me that crap,” he heard himself say, his hands going to Dean’s ankles and yanking. Dean’s body rolled forward, his face revealed and his expression unreadable. Or at least, it had been to his twelve-year-old self. At twenty-five, Ben recognized it: conflict.

“It doesn’t have to be complicated. You’re /making/ it complicated.” )


It was still dark out when something in the back of Claire’s mind started to drag her out of deep sleep. She and Jesse had passed out around midnight, scrunched up in the loveseat opposite Ben’s bed. Izzy and Jed’s trip down to the morgue had been fruitless, and most of the rest of the day had been spent looking for more leads on the Burned Thing that she was sure had been behind the attacks.

Her eyes opened, though they were still glossed over with sleep. Pushing her hair out of her eyes, she pushed off of Jesse’s chest and turned her face toward the hallway. People were running. Someone was wailing. She watched the scene with a detached, almost drugged curiosity, slowly becoming aware of the warmth spreading through her bones, bringing with it another wave of extreme fatigue. She willed her feet to move, but they didn’t obey. Seconds later all her fuzzy resolve had melted away.

With a deep breath that felt heavy and acrid as smoke, Claire laid her head back down and closed her eyes. )


Jesse sat on the end of Ben’s bed, watching as Claire lined every entrance with salt-tape. He opened his mouth when she went for the door but thought better of it. They needed to keep Ben safe, and Jesse wasn’t about to leave the room anyway.

Just as Claire finished up, he saw a couple of cops outside the glass, headed their way.

“Looks like we got a Q & A coming at us,” he said with a sigh, getting to his feet. Like they really needed to waste time on telling the police they’d been sleeping. Claire glanced up, then pinched the tape down to the door’s corner and stuck the roll in her pocket, right as the two officers crossed the threshold. It was the woman who spoke first, her eyes falling on Claire:

“Hello, I’m Officer Fisher, and this is my partner Officer Hamill. You’re Miss Greene?” )


Ben paced the floor of his room, having left three messages on Dean’s phone in six hours. It was pushing on two in the morning, and he halfway through a second message.

“I know you’re on a hunt,” he babbled thoughtlessly. “And I know mom’s cool with you bein’ gone, but--”

An incoming call beeped midway through his sentence, and Ben pulled the phone back. Dean’s name and number appeared on the Incoming Call screen. He beeped over.

”What is it? Are you all right?”

Ben immediately felt a rush of remembered shame. Dean’s voice sounded gritty, like he’d just woken up. His eyes rose to find his doppelganger standing ahead of him, but he quickly averted his eyes again.

“Yeah. I-- I’m fine.”

”Why the hell are you awake? It’s--” There was a pause, and Ben knew that Dean was looking for a clock to see just how late it was. ”2 am. You have class tomorrow--”

“What happens if something comes after us when you’re gone?” )


They had researched for going on ten hours straight with no breaks, but Izzy and Jed finally found the potential death resulting in the body of their ghost: Camilla Groff. She had been listed as one of the people brought into Shady Grove Advenist Hospital as an injury, when in fact she had been living in the apartment complex in a coma. Her parents had moved her from the hospital and hired a private nurse so that she could be cared for in their home. According to the file, she had been comatose for nearly two years from a horseback riding accident. All the pieces fit; now they just had to find the body. There were over 150 cemeteries in the Shady Grove area.

It was times like these that Izzy was so incredibly thankful for modern technology, as it only took ten minutes to type her name into a gravesite locator website, and that was because there were three C. Groff’s listed in the database.

Now it was just a matter of digging up the grave and keeping an eye out for the caretaker.

“Y’go ahead and call her. I’ll unload the truck,” Izzy said. )


Regaining his lost memories had filled Ben with mixed emotions. Some of them had been wonderful, others bittersweet.

Nothing had prepared him for his reoccurring nightmare finally taking full length, with color, sound, and sensation. )


The first thing Ben noticed as he started to wake was how incredibly uncomfortable he was. It was a slow process, but there was no ignoring the fact that his back ached. It refused to be ignored. His arm also itched like crazy, but when he tried to raise his hand to itch it, there was resistance.

Ow,” he whined.

Claire half-stirred from her crumpled position on the chair next to his bed, dragged away from an exhausted attempt at sleep by the noise. Her eyes were still glazed by sleep when she opened them, just slits through her lashes that didn’t quite see anything they looked at. Until the noise that woke her up finally registered.

Oh, God--!” She was on him in a breath, arms curled around his neck and the chair nearly thrown across the room. Her sudden presence was enough to make him wheeze in surprise as he became steadily more aware of everything that was attached to him.

Jesse jerked to his feet from where he’d lain, near dozing. He hadn’t heard Ben, but Claire was hard to miss. For an endless, terrible moment he thought something else had happened to Ben. Then he saw him moving. He rushed over, nearly squashing Claire in the process, his hand running up into Ben’s hair.

“Welcome back, you asshole.” )


Even after a night of sleep in the nearest hotel, they still hadn’t told him what had happened when he’d been unconscious. Ben felt the itch to ask, but it was merely background frustration to the driving need to leave. While Jesse and Claire slept, his mind had raced on, trying to piece together the overwhelming return of his memories. Already the unimportant ones seemed to be settling in his head, blurring and undefined, but one particular memory stuck out like a blaring neon sign: Lawrence. He had to get to Lawrence. If he could find the woman Dean told him about, maybe... just maybe he’d be able to find him, if for nothing else than to get the Colt. The question was, did he tell them what had happened to him?

Need to know basis, Braeden, he told himself. Get the gun. That’s the only thing that matters. )


Episode 1x17: Dying to Know (Part 1 of 2)

He could hear sobbing, somewhere in the house. The thing was, Ben knew that it wasn’t real, because they’d moved out of that house when he turned 13.

The hallway was dark and all the familiar sounds and smells assaulted him, but when he looked down at himself he was the same as he remembered currently being: tall, wearing street clothes, his hair swaying faintly against his neck and into his eyes as he cautiously followed the sound. It was masculine, that much he knew for certain.

It was also achingly familiar.

As he came closer to the door, he could hear a woman’s voice murmuring. His mother’s voice. Ben’s feet moved with more confidence, his hand pushing the door open. There she was, sitting in the bed, holding a man against her. His hands clutched at her back as he buried his face in her neck. His mother rocked the man gently, not too unlike Ben remembered her rocking him as a child after he’d woken from a bad dream.

“I’m here,” she murmured. “I’m here, Dean.” )


Jesse stormed through the beach house. It was small; a kitchen and living room on the first floor, an open bedroom and balcony on the second, the furniture sparse and clean. There was very little room to hide.

“Where are you?!” he snarled, slamming the balcony railing. “You fucking come here right now, you piece of demon shit!”

But there was no one around. Upon a closer inspection, there was a thin film of dust on the flat surfaces. Clearly the house hadn’t been occupied in a very long time. Five more minutes passed before there was a voice just behind him.

“Did you find the relic?”

Spinning, Jesse swung at the demon’s head, which whipped back hard with the force of the blow. He brought his face forward slowly, bringing a hand up to his mouth and pulling his fingers away with blood. Then he glowered at Jesse in rage, his eyes suddenly rolling back and staying there. )


Claire stared at the ghost of herself in the reflection of a thick piece of glass, the thing that separated her from the figure laying prone and still in the hospital bed in the room on the other side. Machines beeped, a Labcoat talked to another Labcoat at the foot of Ben’s bed, discussing things she’d already heard about ten times at that point.

Words like seizure and unknown variables floated around in the space between her eyes, which were dry. Red, and stinging--but dry. If she let them run, they’d erode what forced stability she had left, and Claire simply couldn’t risk crumbling.

Another reflection walked up to join hers but Jesse didn’t say anything. He couldn’t. He could only stare at Ben, an alien panic streaming through him. His breath grew faster, more shallow, and more than anything he wanted to run away from there. Instead, he gingerly touched Claire’s hand. She responded by naturally curling her fingers into his and pulling him close, but her eyes didn’t stray from the scene in the room through the window.

“He had a seizure,” she said somberly, swallowing the brick in her throat. “They don’t know why.” )


By the thousandth memory, Ben knew what was happening. He’d tried to break away from the dialogue, to beg for someone to tell him what was going on, but it was almost like he was being possessed and forced to relive every detail he lost.

Dean, finally coming out of his room, watching him try and eat cereal -- “Sit down, kiddo. You’re not eating that sugary shit. A growing boy like you needs real food” -- and making him breakfast for the first time. Dean, pulling away from his mom in a not-very-subtle way when he’d come back from the bathroom while they were watching Zombieland. Dean, secretly taking him to a parking lot behind the movie theatre after it closed -- “Let’s keep this between you and me” -- and letting him drive for the first time. Dean, salting the doors and windows -- ”It keeps out tons of things.” / “Like what?” -- when they took a three-day vacation in Chicago, then taking him fishing the next day and telling him everything. Hundreds of other things he did remember were left unvisited, but these memories... they burned inside him, filling him with limitless yearning.

He didn’t want them to stop; he just wanted to relive them, over and over again. )


Claire didn’t always pace while she was on the phone--only when she was extremely agitated or worried. Right then, as she listened to the ring on the other end of her phone, she was damn near wearing a line in the tile floor of the hospital lobby: the only place she could get any good reception (and not be barked at by the hospital staff for having a phone in use around the machines).

Hey Claire.” Lucas answered on the second ring. His voice was friendly, but not as easy as usual. “How’s he doing?

Claire brought her hand to her brow, sighing into the phone regardless of how she tried to suppress it. “He hasn’t woken up...”

There was a short silence before, “Shit, Claire, I’m sorry.” She pinched the bridge of her nose for a moment, then stopped pacing. Claire had no idea how her voice was even working at the moment.

“Tell me you found something.” )


The constant beep of the heart monitor, the hiss of the saline drip on its timer, even the murmur of people wandering back and forth in the hallway had already faded into the background for Claire--and he’d only been there for six hours or so. She hadn’t been logging the time.

All her concentration was torn between her ears and her eyes; watching the rise and fall of the blanket over his chest, listening - straining - to hear anything besides breath. Occasionally, her fingers would tighten around his hand, caught between her two, just to see if there’d be a reaction. Of course, there hadn’t been one yet.

“You’ve got horrible timing,” Claire uttered flatly, and mostly to herself in some vague attempt to inject something other than excruciating worry into the still atmosphere. The triple-shot espresso she’d gotten after talking with Lucas sat on the tray near Ben’s bed, forgotten. She’d barely taken three sips.

Claire swallowed the thick knot in her throat and looked down at his hand, carefully avoiding the IV taped to the back of it. Nearly dwarfing her own, it was warm and relaxed, like he was sleeping. The stark difference between her stress-tightened and cool skin made her squeeze again.

“I know that whatever this is, you’re fighting it tooth and nail... I just hope you can hear me.” )


Claire had finally managed to fall asleep. On the one hand, this was a good thing, because she needed it badly. On the other, it meant Jesse had to stay in Ben’s room because someone had to be ready if he woke up. Jesse hated Ben’s room. It was too quiet, with the two of them sleeping there and just the beeping of the machines. He was trying to research, but they had done about as much as they could do. Which only left him sitting there, staring at Ben and thinking.

He’d said before he wished he could do more. Healing and transporting himself was well and good, but when the people he cared about were hurt or trapped, it meant exactly dick. He wanted to be something better, someone better.

But maybe he could settle for knowing someone better.

He knew Claire would object to Ruth coming around to help, and that Ben would probably agree with her. But Ruth wasn’t a demon, he knew that much. And if she could help, he didn’t really care if they didn’t like it.

Feeling a little ridiculous, Jesse closed his eyes. “Ruth?” She’d said he was her master, so he hoped she was listening. “Ruth, could you come help me?”

At first there was no answer; just silence, resounding in his head. Then he heard it, the whisper-soft feminine echo:

[ Shouldn’t be here they’ll see me they’ll see me can’t let them see me ] )


“Where the hell were you!?”

He’d taken the long way home after getting in a fight with his friend Aaron at school. They’d gotten permission slips to go on a field trip, and their teacher had pointed out that they were looking for additional chaperons. Aaron had suggested he “ask his dad” to come along. Ben had shouted at him that Dean was not his “fucking father.” Luckily, it had been the first time he’d ever used profanity in class, and the principal had let him off with a warning. Rather than wait for his not-father to pick him up in front of all his friends, he’d walked. Dean was livid.

“Dude, chill. I walked. It’s no big deal--”

Dean tried to touch his face but Ben jerked back, feeling a complicated twist of emotions rush up from his gut and into his throat. Some of the anger had faded from Dean’s eyes, but he looked scared. Honest to god scared, like his mom did the first time he’d gone biking alone without telling her.

“I waited for half an hour,” Dean nearly shouted. “After going in and checking every single classroom tryin’ to find you. You can’t just up and leave me like that without letting me know where you are! What if something had happened--”

“You’re not my dad!” )


Jul. 14th, 2011


Extended Scene: 1x16.6 - Only You

Takes place in 16.1, when Jesse and Ben go to the Laundry Room )

Jul. 12th, 2011


Extended Scene: 1x16.5 - Wrap My Words Around You

Takes place in 16.1, when Claire and Jesse are in the guest room )


Episode 1x16: A Hard Day's Night (Part 2 of 2)

- THEN -


“So I take it from what you said that you haven’t managed to wrangle either of your boys into church with you yet.” Claire tried to stop herself from letting a somewhat cynical laugh out. It came out as an aborted snort, which burned thanks to the Tabasco.

“You know how Ben does mornings, and you’d have a better chance of getting Jesse to wear a dress.” Which, somehow, seemed vaguely true. Claire glanced across the bar, taking a sip from the chaser Izzy ordered. Izzy smirked a little at the mental image.

“He’s got the hips for it,” she mused. )


“I hate you.”

Ben couldn’t help but pout. It had taken him two years of regular paint ball with his friend Ricky, and another year with an actual gun to get to be a good shot. Sure, he could shoot something, but there was no real aim to it. Video games taught him nothing, not even the PS5 ones that were super-realistic; the weight and kickback just didn’t exist in a controller.

Jesse shot every single bulls-eye he’d set up for him. Even the swinging ones, and the ones he’d thrown. It wasn’t fair.

To his credit, Jesse did try to hold back his smirk. Not really successfully, but he did try. “I don’t see what the big deal is, mate. You just point it where you want it to go,” he said, flipping the safety on before he checked the chamber. Guns were such a foreign thing to Jesse; he couldn’t help but be fascinated about how the parts all came together.

“Because it’s hard and it took me forever and I hate you,” Ben retorted, hands in his pockets and shoulders slumping.

Biting his lip, Jesse holstered the gun before sliding a hand on Ben’s hip and pressing a kiss to the corner of his mouth. “Which makes you more impressive and accomplished and shit, so be proud.” )


Jesse gasped hard, the relieved breath of a man no longer in pain. He was still sprawled, but the world around him was very different, even with his eyes closed. Instead of dirt beneath him, it was smooth wooden planks. The breeze tasted of salt and he could hear the gentle roll of waves, cut with the sharp scream of a gull.

Not what he’d been expecting.

Opening his eyes, he saw the demon standing over him. Dressed in a white linen shirt and tailored tan pants, he looked like a celebrity on vacation rather than a demon from hell. He arched one dark brow at him, offering a hand.

“Looks like you need to work on your landings.”

Shoving himself back and to his feet, Jesse snatched his gun out of the holster, flipping off the safety as he aimed it at the demon’s head. “You ever heard of texting, you fuckhead?!” )


Claire listened to the kitchen screen door slam with its own weight after Izzy slipped out to fetch the dogs for their dinner. She peered out through the window over the sink, where she’d been repaying the older woman’s hospitality by doing some dishes, ignoring the thought that the last time she’d performed the menial task she was probably sixteen years old.

A storm was rolling in from the east, pulling a dark front of clouds in steadily from the shore. By the iron smell in the atmosphere that drifted in from the open door, Claire suspected it’d be pouring in a matter of minutes.

“Where’s Izzy?”

Ben appeared in the small kitchen, his expression straining and his face pale. There was an intense fear in his eyes. Claire shook her hands off over the sink, the initial confusion of his tone melted away the moment she saw his face. Alarm bells went off.

“Out back getting the dogs... what happened?”

“Jesse’s gone.” )


It was a challenge, trying to find a way to make a meal all of them would like. When Izzy had came in and found Ben gone, and gotten very little from Claire about what had happened, she figured that was the best way to bring them all together.

She knew for a fact that Ben’s favorite was inside-out burgers and home fries. He was an easy one to please. After a gentle nudge from Claire, Izzy discovered she had soft spot for a Thanksgiving-esque meal, but there was no way in hell she was gonna roast a bird for three hours without proper planning; a breast would do though. Jesse, could barely meet her eyes when she’d caught him for a moment, but he’d finally answered after she’d promised they were square. Surf and turf. Izzy couldn’t help but reflect on how much the meals said something about each of them.

It had taken about three hours to get dinner finished, complete with her meal of choice, but she felt pretty damn pleased of herself. Something was clearly up, but the home cooked meal seemed to ease the tension and loosen their tongues.

“Gotta say I agree,” Izzy said around a mouthful of Moqueca stew. “Huntin’ south in this weather? Y’all are gluttons for punishment.”

“Not my choice,” Jesse said, maybe a shade closer to defensive than joking. “I just go wherever these two drive.”

Ben frowned a little as he popped another fry in his mouth. “You know we go where the jobs go, Iz.”

Izzy half smiled. “Yeah, I know, but still. Y’know you ain’t the only hunters in the whole country.” )


Leaning against his hand and slumping so low his chin nearly touched the bar, Jesse ordered another Jack and coke. Ben and Claire were playing pool. Jesse didn’t join them ‘cause he thought it was a boring game, and anyway, if he played, he’d probably be good at it, and then Ben would be mad at him again.

As the drink was set in front of him, he wiped at his eyes. It wasn’t like he was crying or anything, because that would be stupid and he didn’t like crying in front of people. His eyes had just sprung a slow leak and he couldn’t seem to turn it off.

A nagging pulled at the back of his head, growing so much that he couldn’t ignore it any more. He turned around just in time to see a girl sitting a couple tables behind look away. Right. Just feeling someone looking at him.

He turned back around, taking a long swig, but that nagging was still there. He spun around, and though the world tilted, he could clearly see the girl was looking away again. But the nagging was still there, and it was definitely coming from her. He scowled. It was like he recognized her, but not in the usual way. He didn’t think he’d seen her before, but then, he was awfully drunk. But there was something about her. He knew he wasn’t just imagining it. Leaving his drink, he got up and started wobbly wending his way towards her.

The moment he moved, however, she stood up and rushed for the exit in a flurry of gauzy blue fabric and blonde hair. Without a thought, Jesse bolted after her. When he burst out the door, he caught sight of her dodging between cars in the parking lot, so he didn’t stop, running for all he was worth. He was a fast runner, when he wanted to be, but she practically flew.

“Wait!” )


Jesse had been out of it the next morning, something Ben found himself a little surprised about given the fact that the man could choose whether or not to have a hangover. Something was still clearly wrong, and it bothered Ben on a deep level, but he didn’t press. The fight from the night before still stung.

But they had a lead. Claire was on the mend -- however currently on the phone with Lucas for the fourth time that afternoon, pacing on light feet just outside the window of the pawn shop. It was time to get a move on. Luckily Izzy was able to pull herself away from her true love’s embrace long enough to start stocking them up with what she had on hand, but they needed more metals for silver and iron shot, and maybe some copper if they could find it. It was a decent enough day to start picking the pawn shops, and there were enough around that they could hit up ten or so and fill up by dinner. The fact that Jesse was eager to come along also surprised Ben, but he also kept that surprise to himself.

It was the third shop they’d stepped in, and Ben wasted no time going straight to the jewelry cabinet, keeping his small talk to a minimum outside of the specifics. Jesse was right on his heels, again. He wished at least Ben wasn’t looking in the same places he was, but so far the other man didn’t seem suspicious.

And then Jesse’s stomach dropped to his feet. There, set aside with other pendant necklaces, was exactly what he was looking for. No question. His hands balled up but he tried to appear calm.

“Could I see this?” )


Episode 1x16: A Hard Day's Night (Part 1 of 2)

It seemed like all the talk about angels had Jesse once again on edge, but at least now he was okay around Claire again. Mostly. He was spending a lot of time with Izzy lately, following the older woman out to her garage while she worked and otherwise wandering the junkyard with her two dogs trailing behind. At least he hadn’t run off, though. After Claire’s dream, Ben had feared he would, but one good thing did emerge out of it: Claire knew what the sigils looked like. Not wanting to get a tattoo too soon when they weren’t even completely sure if they worked, Ben had opted to buy a henna kit from a nearby new age store and let her put it on the both of them. He’d let her put it on his chest, on the opposite side as the anti-possession tattoo. Every time he caught sight of it in the mirror, he felt a little bit odd.

Should’ve done the arm or something... he thought absently, working the edge of his razor slowly down his cheek.

“You know, I like the scruffy look,” came her familiar voice from behind, warm, but still carrying the same weight it had over the last couple days.

Shifting the angle of his gaze in the mirror, He saw Claire was right behind him, her shoulder pressed lightly on the painted door jamb. Her hair was dry, but she was wrapped in a towel, obviously heading in for a shower. Ben met her eyes with a half-smile, sticking the blade beneath the faucet and turning it on briefly before bringing it back up to his face again.

“Well I mean, I already started,” he said lightly. “Jesse would give me all kinds of shit if I only did one side of my face. I’ll grow it out after this though, promise.” )


Body work was perhaps one of the most fun parts of working on a car. Granted, it left Isobel Gallagher’s body aching and sore, but she enjoyed it nonetheless. All the banging and blow-torching was fantastic stress relief, especially when she hadn’t heard from her boyfriend in four days. But that was the risk of dating a hunter, and Izzy knew he was safe. There were people that would get a hold of her if he wasn’t.

The GTO looked as though it’d been stuck into a garbage disposal, but the hood and sides were still well enough in tact. One door had come partly off its hinges, which was proving to be a bit of a struggle to work with, but after fighting with both the molding and the hinge for an hour, she decided to put it off until the next day. Maybe Ben would do it. He had a bit more muscle in his arms than she did, after all.

Damn, but she did miss the kid. It felt good having him around again, even if it was only for a while. The tension he carried in with him and his friends was thick enough to cut through, which made it a bit less-than-ideal, but Izzy knew how to diffuse tension. It was part of what brought hunters and other supernatural investigators back to her over and over again.

Well, that and her cooking. )


It’d been at least a week since he’d cleaned the guns, and with Claire napping and Jesse off in the yard with Izzy, now seemed as good a time as any. Ben worked with a quiet efficiency, cleaning each individual piece with his hand tools before he oiled them up and reassembled them. With two sets of guns and a few extra pieces they’d picked up along the way for Jesse’s use it was proving to be a much longer job than he anticipated though, but Ben didn’t mind.

His head rose when he heard the door open, watching Izzy as she moved with purpose toward her bedroom. Her face was a little flushed. He frowned some, tracking her with his eyes before she moved out of his field of vision, returning a moment later.

“Everything all right?” he asked when she came through the living room again. The dogs very nearly tripped over themselves trying to follow her, and Izzy nearly tripped over them when she came to a sudden stop to look at him, flashing him a quick smile.

“Yeah, just came to get my hand lotion. There isn’t any in the garage,” she said by way of clarification. His brows rose slightly but he didn’t say anything, letting her run off again. He knew she liked to moisturize her hands after using the degreasing soap - a trick he picked up from her when he started to notice the positive difference - but with Jesse out there, Ben couldn’t deny where his mind went. He frowned again, dropping his eyes back to the gun he had been partway through finishing.

It wasn’t a minute before the bathroom door opened and Jesse peeped out. His face went instantly red when he saw Ben, but he stepped out. “You hungry?” he blurted. “I was going to go to the kitchen, fix something, and I figured, if you wanted something.”

Ben blinked in surprise at Jesse’s sudden appearance. “Weren’t you just--” but then it hit him: He’d zapped in. Ben’s brow pinched, both at the realization and Jesse’s demeanor. “Nevermind. No, I’m kinda up to my elbows here.” )


Izzy couldn’t go a minute without feeling a pleasant hit of deja vu. Although Ben was quite a bit healthier and his movements more assured, his quirks and voice and laugh were still that same mauled kid she’d met years ago. She couldn’t help glancing at him every now and then as they worked on the GTO, which was looking more and more like a real car.

“I never would have pegged you for partnering up,” she said, wiping her hands on the rag at her waist. “You had such a damn independent streak when I met you.”

Out of habit, Ben pulled the edge of his shirt up to his face and rubbed at the grime that had started collecting on his cheeks. He didn’t have coveralls that fit anymore, not by a long shot, and had to settle instead on a raggedy pair of jeans and the shirt he wore when he’d run out of clean clothes. There were holes in at least five places, and the neck hem had been ripped clean off, but it did the job.

“Felt right,” he said distractedly from beneath the car, his voice refracted back to him from the metal parts mere inches away from his face.

Izzy cocked her head to the side but didn’t comment, working in silence for a bit. Then, “Claire must be something special, getting you to give up that car.”

Ben chuckled, having expected the veiled question for a couple days now. Jesse had implied a few things when he’d told him what had gone down between them, and he’d caught a few meaningful looks from Izzy during meal clean-up or when Claire had occasionally stuck her head into the garage to check their progress. It wasn’t like he hid his feelings; he hid everything from everybody nearly every day of his life, and he wasn’t about to hide them in the company of trusted friends. Still, he found himself at a loss on how best to say what was inside his head and heart, especially after the talk he’d had with Jesse.

“They both are,” he said after a long pause. )


Summer nights in Maryland weren’t much different than the summer nights in Alabama, or any other southern state. Sure, the humidity was slightly less oppressive: little summer squalls didn’t come and go every fifteen minutes here, and that was a plus--but the heat was the same. Claire could hear the crickets out in Izzy’s junk yard singing away as the twilight melted into a rich, velvet navy blue. Lightning bugs blinked in the distance, disappearing in the slivers of light that came from the garage, where Ben and their host were working on making the GTO not look like it’d recently rolled off a cliff.

The sound of water shutting off clued her in to the whereabouts of the only other occupant in the house. She and Jesse had always had a different dynamic than what she shared with Ben. Though her reasons for attachment to the cambion were stitched slightly different than with the other member of their hard-to-define relationship, that didn’t mean she loved him any less. It did, however, make certain things a little more difficult for Claire to define or understand. Also, in light of the recent angel-induced vision of the future, there was some tension between them that Claire didn’t know what to do with. She could sense it from him--a fear she understood, but couldn’t soothe, and that in turn frightened her as well. It was hard to shake the vision; the look in the eyes of the older-version of him, and everything she knew he’d done.

Though as much as it frightened her, it also firmly resolved how in love she was with the Jesse she had here and now. )


The service had been excellent, as was to be expected. Izzy loved her church, from Bible study to meet and greet and all the parts between. The fellowship kept her grounded and sane during the long bouts of no-contact with the world. Junkyard work was a lot less frequented those days as traditional cars started fizzling off the market to be replaced by streamlined electric and fuel cell cars. Diesel and gasoline was still the norm, but filling stations typically only kept one or two designated pumps anymore, and she still hadn’t gotten retrained to work on the higher-end cars yet. They were a lot less likely to fall apart, what with the Locust-systems most were equipped with. Cars damn near drove themselves.

That was okay, though. Izzy liked her client base, and the metal could still be melted down and sold. There was still work to be done and money to be made. And at the very least, there were still hunters who needed her help, like the blond sitting in the chair beside her, looking pensive as her thumbs traced back-and-forth paths over the ceramic coffee cup in her hands.

“Did you want me to getcha another cruller, darlin’?” )


Jun. 26th, 2011


Episode 1x15: The Road Less Traveled (Part 2 of 2)

- THEN -


Going by the extremely hard-to-get blue prints of Fort Knox, the plan had been to infiltrate the place by using the three separate sub-basement systems and coming up beneath it. Out of a list of equally as impossible prospects, that plan seemed to be the most likely, even if the chances were extremely slim.

But they didn’t expect it to be this easy. Not a single sound greeted either team as they snaked through the ventilation system and spilled out into the dimly lit concrete hallways of the massive main building’s basement.

They were barely through the first door when at least fifty bodies filled the small hallway space, eyes inky black and expressions filled with malice. Lucas and Kat immediately opened fire -- Lucas with the holy water water blaster, and Kat with the shotgun full of rocksalt rounds. Yet even as the bodies fell aside, new ones filled their vacant spaces.

“Cal, hit it!” )


The vast space the vault opened into hardly earned the name anymore. Rugs and furniture had been brought in, creating three distinct spaces that some twisted mind might consider a home. To the right was a shining conference table, filled with papers and surrounded by maps so that it looked like a set of a retro ‘00s action movie. In the middle was a circle of sleek couches, the longest facing six screens. Only one was on, and Claire recognized, as it flipped different camera angles, that it must be a security feed.

To the left was what could have been the set of another movie, a very different kind of movie. Chain-link fence had been installed along the walls, and hanging from it were objects that could only be described as implements of torture. In a bare space hung empty shackles. No rugs to be seen over here, the only thing that adorned the cement floor was a two foot long chain. It was too short for the man it tethered, so that even on his knees, he had to hunch over.


Jesse stood from the couch, a wide, friendly smile on his face. Unlike everyone else in this world, he looked hardly changed. A little broader; a little sleeker, in his pristine button-down shirt and tailored trousers; the slightest hint of maturity touching his temples and the corners of his eyes. But his smile was the same.

“You finally made it,” he said, arms open in welcome. “I was beginning to think you hadn’t received my invitation.” )


“I’m worried about her,” Ben said quietly, putting his utensils down. His eyes hadn’t left Claire’s sleeping form since the moment she rolled her face away from them. “I’ve never seen her like this. Not even before you came around.”

Jesse shrugged, still concentrating on what remained of his food. “Things’ve been hard, that’s all. She’ll snap out of it.”

Almost on cue, Claire opened her eyes. The next instant she sat straight up in the bed--the bed that she remembered, with clean sheets and the smell of breakfast and summer in the air. Ben blinked in surprise, his face pinching in a slight frown of concern.

“Hey, you oka--” Ben’s voice of worry was shortened as Claire launched herself from the bed to tackle them both in the most heartfelt, enthusiastic embrace, covers still tangled around her legs.

Jesse instinctively jerked back in surprise, hacking as he took half his bite down the wrong pipe. “Fuck. Hi.” Claire half stumbled out of the bedsheets, cutting Jesse off with a quick kiss, then turned, taking Ben’s face in her hands for the same thing. When she pulled back, Ben looked into her eyes with a dazed look.


But she was already facing Jesse, her palms firmly placed on the sides of his jaw, just as she had with Ben, but her eyes were wide and wild, and locked on his.

Promise me you won’t ever, ever listen to anything that fucking demon says to you.” She switched here eyes back and forth between his, her voice contained a note of desperation. “Promise me.”

Frozen, Jesse stared back at her, his stomach sinking. What had she heard? What did she know? After a long pause, he stuttered, “‘Course. I’d never listen to him.”

“Did he come to you?” Ben asked insistently, his eyes suddenly wide. Claire kept her eyes on Jesse’s face, her gaze steadily softening from the slightly unhinged quality they contained when she first woke up. With a tentative breath, she leaned in and kissed him again, slower and more appreciative this time, before turning to do the same to Ben. She’d heard his question, but the answer could wait until she’d fully reminded herself that they were both alive, and all three of them were whole.

“No,” she started, almost breathless and still shaking, the way she had been in the vault. “Other side of the big fence...” )


Episode 1x15: The Road Less Traveled (Part 1 of 2)

When Claire had finally woken up, the tension in the car had doubled. Ben had managed to convince Jesse to hold off on the inquisition until they got to Maryland, but somehow that only seemed to make everything worse. He hadn’t even slept in the same room with them that night, using the excuse that the double bed Izzy Gallagher had available to them just wasn’t big enough to fit them all.

It left Ben incredibly anxious. He just hoped Jesse wouldn’t bail in the middle of the night. Trust, he told himself. Just gotta trust. He’s promised.

Claire had barely spoken a word in two days. )


The incessant banging would not stop. It started out as annoying background noise, fuzzy and far-off, but with every moment of awareness it became louder and louder. A voice joined in on the sound, but the words were still unclear with both distance from the source and sleepiness. The smell of stale air and dry mold filtered into Claire’s consciousness as sleep started to quickly fall away, and in one moment of sheer animal panic, she sat straight up on the bed.

The realization hit her like a stone. This room was not the one she remembered falling asleep in; Izzy’s white-washed walls were replaced by those of some antique wallpaper with a flower pattern, and most of it peeled away. The bed sagged and squeaked and smelled of dust. Breathing hard, the real source of her alarm was the fact that she was alone.

Except for whoever was banging to get in.

Somewhere in the distance, guns started firing. The banging became more insistent.

“Goddammit, Claire, open the fucking door!” )


It had been an hour since everyone else had returned from their last location, but even then the residents of Beta camp didn’t stay still. Everyone was working, though Claire didn’t know what they were working on. After they had arrived, Claire wandered the maze of shanty buildings, tents, and war-battered structures with eyes peeled for any sign of Jesse or Ben, though by instinct, she didn’t ask about them. People stopped and nodded at her when she passed; people she’d never seen in her life who seemed to recognize her instantly. She had watched the choreographed chaos half in a daze, still very much convinced that this had to be a dream. More like a nightmare, the longer she went without finding them. That’s when she found herself back at the largest structure in the entire encampment.

After being in the camp for so long, the chanted exorcism piped through the speakers became almost background noise. It was dulled even further upon entrance of the main building. No doubt it was made with pure concrete, but upon brief investigation each door and window was framed with thick embedded iron rods.

More strangers made eye-contact with her as she wandered the cold hallway, further twisting her stomach with nerves. She was snapped out of the noxious fog that seeped around her consciousness with a sudden grip on her arm.

“I need to speak with you,” Kat said swiftly. “Now.” )


Just as she suspected, in the small cell-like room that were apparently her private quarters, Claire found the spread of information she’d been hoping for. Everything was laid out in her own style of organization, notes spread on the desk and the cot that served as her bed--which looked like it’d never been slept in--a web of maps and scratched notes pinned to the wall, all in the style of a regular hunt. But this one had been going on for a lot longer than a week or two.

Apparently this war had been going on for years, and the majority of specific information that was highlighted, circled, and underlined over and over all had happened over the last twelve or thirteen months, given her guess at the time of year.

And all of it had to do with Ben and Jesse.

There was a gentle rap at the door, and a moment later Kat let herself in, shutting the door behind her.

“You all right, Clairey?” )


Waking up in the middle of a post-apocalyptic world with no idea about the last twelve years was jarring enough. Finding out that you’re the apparent ring-leader of one particular pocket of resistance fighters, and your former companion, friend, and lover was at the center of the end of the world--and the one you were fighting--whole different story. And that wasn’t even all she had to process.

Claire spent the first leg of the caravan-like journey in a silent daze, that is when she wasn’t pouring over the faded, wrinkled blue-prints of Fort Knox and the pages of handwritten notes. Apparently all the work, pain, and sacrifice of the last year was coming to a head in the next day. Jesse and Ben were hoarded up in the former military base, which was (likely) swarming with demon infested former military. The twenty-some dedicated fighters accompanying her into the Lion’s Den all carried the same somber readiness in their eyes, when they all met up at a predesignated spot after taking separate routes.

Everyone was quiet, but kept busy. Claire watched the nearby fire from her perch on the tailgate of a beat-up F-50, one of several of her own journals open in her lap. In a time when she needed the most focus and determination than she had ever needed in her life, all she could do was picture their faces, as she last saw them.

“Hey.” Interrupting her thoughts, Lucas settled next to her, his expression warm. He tapped the open journal. “Studying up before the big exam, eh?” )


They were back on the road again by first light, and to a surprisingly quiet road. Too quiet, in fact. About an hour into the drive, Kat signalled that they all pull off to the side of the road. They were 30 minutes out from Fort Knox, and they hadn’t seen Nephs or demons since the last town.

“I’m liking this less and less by the minute,” Kat said, hands on her hips as she watched the people piling out of their vehicles. Claire squinted into the orange glare of the sunrise, then swept the quiet horizon. There were rolling hills and lush trees, exploding with the colors of autumn, but little else. Even the wind was still.

“The drawbridge is down,” she said, the colorless metaphor did nothing to settle her stomach. Funny thing was, on a deeper level, Claire not only expected this, but she felt like she’d been preparing for it for a long time. She took a deep breath and looked at Kat, then at the gathering of ragged hunters and renegades that pooled behind her. Lucas’ eyes were steady and unwavering on her as he gave a nod. Claire swallowed thinly, but nodded back, truly appreciative of the little show of support.

Her eyes swept them all, studying each unfamiliar face that looked back at her with a kinship that could only be built over time and harsh experience. They were about to storm a place that had been deemed impregnable when it was run by simple humans; now the demons that swarmed it with Jesse at their helm not only expected them, but were laying the path down, like a walk to the gallows.

“It’s been a long road...” )


Jun. 22nd, 2011


Deleted Scene #11: Nightmare

Somewhere between Chackbay and Arlington )


Episode 1x14: Jar of Hearts (Part 2 of 2)

- THEN -


Ben sucked in a sharp breath as he startled awake. It took a minute for him to catch his breath and reorient himself to his surroundings.

He’d had the nightmare again. It’d been months since the last time he’d had it, but there it was, the last strained sound of his mother’s scream echoing through his head. He could feel Jesse’s body pressed against him, warm and breathing slow, but when he turned toward where Claire was supposed to be he found the spot cold. It was only then that he recognized the muted blue light of a laptop screen. Looking up, he could see Claire hunched over it.

“Hey, why’re you awake?” he called out in a loud whisper, his voice still gritty from sleep.

Where do I start, Claire thought silently as a natural reaction, but merely blinked tiredly at the screen before turning a half-look toward Ben’s heavy voice. “Digging deeper into something that caught my eye earlier,” she answered, keeping her voice low. Ben carefully adjusted Jesse’s arm from around him and eased carefully away, rolling off the bed. The floor creaked quietly underneath his bare feet as he moved over to where she was sitting, his hands gently coming to rest on her shoulders.

“It can’t wait until morning?” he asked quietly, his voice a little louder now that he was closer to her. The weight of his hands was comforting, like a blanket lulling her to give in and go back to bed--but her brain wasn’t about to relent. It hadn’t properly shut up in a long time.

Claire shook her head, but pointed with her ring finger at the screen. “I think I found a reason why three ancient Greek monsters are terrorizing Redneckville, Alabama.” There in the prominent window was an Arlington Times article showcasing the Birmingham branch of the Smithsonian, and its featured Echos of Olympus exhibit, which was staying there for three months before moving on toward New Orleans. Ben bent down over her shoulder to look, frowning slightly.

“But I thought they were monsters. If they’re attached to an object, wouldn’t that make it more like a haunting?” )


Claire had insisted on doing more research, so it had been up to Jesse and Ben to go investigate the museum the following day. It certainly wasn’t atypical of a hunt, but Ben certainly felt that it was better to turn every stone than to potentially miss something. Still, it felt weird approaching the desk, paying admission, getting the stamp... he hadn’t gone to a museum since he was a kid, and even then he remembered being bored out of his mind. Thankfully they weren’t going to stay for long.

Jesse was all but running through the museum, always a step or two ahead of Ben and totally focused on following the directions they’d figured out from the map. He wanted to get in and out of there as quickly as they could. Leaving Claire alone sat about as well with him as a brick in his stomach.

The Echos of Olympus exhibit had a grand, Parthenon-y entrance that Jesse breezed right by. And then he stopped. The thing was huge, and it looked there wasn’t just one room in the exhibit. “Any kind of clue what kind of thing we’re looking for?” he asked Ben, slightly breathless.

“None whatsoever,” Ben answered, feeling a drop in his stomach. )


It was only a matter of finding the right thing to look for. Once they had determined the creatures running amok in Arlington were harpies, finding all the information on her custom configured network of databases was simple. It was sifting through all the lore, myth, and actual truths that took time--which is why she opted to stay behind. Unfortunately, the lack of sleep and constant uncomfortable buzzing under her skin was making sitting still for too long simply impossible.

On her way back from a short break at the motel vending machines, Claire rounded the corner to their room, making sure the orange fizz bubbling from her open soda didn’t spill on her shoes. Movement in the background of her field of vision had her pause, though. A pair of legs shifted weight, standing directly in front of the door she was heading toward.

“Alice Halstead?” the first suited man called out. “FBI, open the door.” )


Once upon a time, Ben used to be excellent at working over people. )


As if the last two hours hadn’t been stressful enough, Claire’s muscles had knotted up double for the fact that the circumstances left her in the transit without a car. Granted, she was glad the GTO wasn’t in the parking lot when the Feds came knocking. Truth be told, she was actually a little amazed she got away without them giving her a second glance; surely that good luck won’t be repeated if they caught up to her in this town. By now, they had to have a description--and it would match the sweet southern Sally that pointed them down the interstate.

Which was the reason for a stop at the local mall, after the new hotel had been procured (using a completely new identity). Claire now sat in the far corner booth of the diner close to the new place; sporting a look she thought completely opposite of what the law would be looking for. With streaks of bright green and pink mussed through her natural blond hair, heavy eyeliner, and the purposefully dark (and in some places, torn) clothing, ‘rebellious youth’-Claire tensely sipped at a mug of coffee around an uncomfortable false lip ring... looking very much unapproachable.

Walking through the diner door, Jesse did a poor job of not looking overly concerned as he scanned the place. It was mid-afternoon and not very busy, so it was short work in seeing that Claire wasn’t there yet. “Should we give her a call?” )


His heart thumping harder than the bass, Jesse’s eyes were overly wide as he moved through the dance floor. Being the lure was probably his least favorite job, but he was the only one the harpies got a look at. Of course, it didn’t make him all that comfortable that he only ever got a look at one of them. The other two could be anyone.

But at least he’d already spotted the one he knew. More importantly, he’d made sure she spotted him. Now to get back to the car and hope the girls were pissed enough to still want a piece of him.

Stepping into the sweltering night, he tried to keep his calm as he headed back towards Ben and Claire. Despite himself, his steps were quick, and they were also being followed; not from just inside the club foyer, where a tall brunette in violet stilettos trailed him through the crowd, but from each side on the walk that cut through the entertainment district of Arlington.

He was just within sight of the car when the familiar harpy called out to him: “Back for more, are you? You’re not getting away so easily this time, sweetie.” )


Jesse’s hands shook slightly as he cut open the thistle, carefully squeezing what liquid he could from it. “Right,” he breathed, tossing the bud aside before spinning the jar three times clockwise.

He looked over at the notebook, where Claire had written out the incantation. He was pretty sure he had it down. The lid lay right by it, and the knife on top of that. Now all he needed was the harpies.

On cue, he heard the distance roar of the GTO’s engine. His heart leapt. Not that he’d doubted a moment that Ben and Claire would be fine. But he felt better as the car screeched into the clearing with Claire half hanging out the passenger side window, hanging on to the rear view mirror with one hand and aiming a gun with the other.

Another shot rang out, slamming the winged creature on the roof of the car in the shoulder joint right before the talons closed around her arm. Ben threw the door open, just barely aiming before he fired his gun at the harpy’s leg.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck,” Jesse hissed, running forward. He’d expected the harpies to be quick, but not literally on top of them. The panic ratcheting up his throat, he yelled the first order to come to mind. “DON’T MOVE!”

The sheer force of the words hit Claire’s every muscle, freezing her, and apparently everyone else, in place. One of the harpies, having been mid-flight, fell to the ground. Her eyes went wide, meeting Ben’s equally frozen gaze, then locked on her precarious grip on the mirror, the only thing holding her upright.

“/Specifics/, Jesse!” she barked in a bit of panic. )


“It’d have to be airtight, but strong enough to stand the concrete moving like that.” )


It shouldn’t have bothered Claire that the vending machine was out of what she was really craving, but it did. She cracked the seal on some generic brand of cola and took a reluctant sip, rounding the motel corner toward the walk that led back to the room. The hunt was over, for the most part--they’d be leaving soon, and the edge to her nerves could soften a little bit with every mile they put between themselves and this town. As she brought her eyes up from the ground, however, she found them settled immediately on the two federal agents in her path. The same two from earlier. This time their guns made an appearance.

“Hands were we can see ‘em,” the taller agent said, his voice low but as sharp as a knife.

Fuck! She complied slowly, still palming the open soda in one hand as it raised to shoulder level; a million and one thoughts buzzing through her head, and all drowned out by the automatic repeat of various curse words.

“C’mon now, boys,” she said, her voice tight. “You don’t need those.”

“We’ll be the judge of that, ma’am. Put down the pop,” the second man said, his feet shifting. Claire stitched her brows together at them, completely fine with showing a little more of her true anxiety and agitation. Normally, she’d talk her way out of this, but the chances of that happening a second time with these two all but disappeared.

“You gonna shoot me for holdin’ a ‘pop’, Slick?” she countered defiantly, her feet planted where she was. If they wanted her, they’d have to come and get it.

The taller agent’s eyes narrowed. “You’ve killed for less, isn’t that right, Claire?” )


Claire was finally getting her wish: they were leaving the city of Arlington behind, with an hour or two of darkness left before the sun would blanch the horizon. However, she was clearly far from as elated as she’d expect. They’d left in such a hurry, she hadn’t even changed out of her blood stained clothes, now turning deep brown and black as they dried. She could smell it on herself; stale and coppery and mixed with dirt and sweat. She felt the ghost of pain where Kadiel had stitched her together; as if pain left its impression in guilt. She should be in pain. And in many senses, she still was. Claire hadn’t said a word since the parking lot, and within fifteen minutes on the open road, emotional and physical exhaustion finally overtook her, leaning against the window in the back seat.

Jesse, on the other hand, had hardly stopped talking. His words were frenetic, not unlike his driving. It had been years since he’d physically crossed paths with an angel, and he’d gotten distracted and let her get away. If that thing was so concerned with Claire, it was a safe bet she wouldn’t be leaving them be.

“We should get out of the country, that would be safer,” he said, changing lanes to pass a slow car. “Some place unexpected, where they won’t be looking.”

“They’re angels, man,” Ben replied. “They’re not just limited to one continent.” )


Episode 1x14: Jar of Hearts (Part 1 of 2)

Think before you shoot. Ben and Claire had ingrained that in him before he’d even picked up a gun. You couldn’t take back a bullet so be certain before you pull the trigger.

He thought he understood what they meant. He was wrong.

Curled up against the wall, his eyes kept wandering to the six little bodies. Sometimes the flickering candlelight made it look like one moved, sending a spark of hope through his spine that reality quickly shattered.

He held Claire’s phone in his hand. He didn’t know how long he’d had it out now, unable to dial Ben’s number. What would they say when they found out what he’d done? Could they even look at him the same? He wanted so desperately to call them, to have them tell him what to do to make it better, but what could they do? He was much more powerful than them, and he couldn’t do anything. What he needed was someone even stronger than himself.

Someone stronger...

He scrabbled for his wallet, pulling out the card with a sigil on it. Inside he knew it was desperate, and probably dangerous, but what other choice did he have?

With Claire’s trunk stockpile, Jesse had no problem getting oil of Abramelin and powdered Acacia. Bringing them back into the house, he set about putting things together in silent determination.

Kneeling on the floor before the chalk circle, he only hesitated a moment before setting the card on fire, the chalice glowing with the flames.

“Well, that was a lot sooner than I expected.” )


Jesse hardly said two words through the whole process of burning Allweather’s body and returning the kids to their homes... )


When they’d finally escaped the heat wave of the South, Ben took the first exit off the highway and headed for a nearby hotel. They all needed a good night’s rest, Jesse especially, and he wanted to take a couple days to work on the GTO while they started checking for leads on the demon again. It sucked not having a full garage at his disposal, but the nearby salvage yard was just as easy a place to work as any, and with the convenience of being able to locate any parts he could make off with for a decent price. It took about three hours to figure out just what all the GTO needed and to find all the parts he could before hunger started kicking in, and a quick chat with the salvage yard’s owner gave him safe passage to return the following day so he could start working. He made sure to stop at a nearby burger joint to pick up dinner as he was passing through town.

From the moment they walked into the new hotel room, Claire was already aware of another phantom smell, something that seemed to happen every three or four places they stopped. Usually she described it as mildly rotten, or stale, or ‘organic’ smelling, which usually meant some form of body odor. This time she was reminded of cooking cabbage, a meal she detested as a child. Rather than complain, she simply lit the lilac candle carried around in her duffel and opted to escape the room while it took effect. In the meantime, it turned out to be a gorgeous day, if a little on the hot side; Claire found herself pool-side, stretched on a towel, two-piece and laptop in place.

She heard her car’s signature rumble roll up the parking lot hill and die in a space close to the pool’s chain link fence, even over the music pumped from ear-buds that disappeared under her hair. )


Even at 3 AM, the streets were sweltering, waves of heat pouring upwards off the asphalt. Which meant everyone was piled in the club, where the air conditioning at least made the heat drier. The smokers hovered around the doorway like moths, making escaping the club like squeezing through a smokey birth canal.

Which made it really easy to notice when a little, hot thing in a little, hot dress managed to make it through.

One smoker was set slightly away from the crowd, not seeming to mind the thin sheen of sweat that tightened his t-shirt to his skin. His eyes immediately flickered to the brunette as she clicked along in her stilettos and silver sequined dress that caught the light from the door. As she headed for the corner, he glanced back at the crowded doorway then moved to follow, flicking his cigarette aside.

“Hey, darlin’,” he called, his long stride making catching up to her pretty easy. “You got the time?”

The girl’s dark eyes snapped to her side, the space there now occupied by something she obviously had no intention of entertaining, by the look on her face. Her heels kept clicking in long, scissoring strides that off-set the swing of her arms and long, twitching hair. She shook her head decisively, and set her eyes forward.

“Time to fuck-off, pal.” )


There was a definite sunburn blooming on Ben’s skin by the time he made it back to the hotel that afternoon, but at least the GTO was finished. He didn’t even feel a single bump on the drive back, which was saying something considering how bad it had been before. He couldn’t wait to see the look on Claire’s face when she got behind the wheel again.

Swiping the key through the electronic lock, Ben sighed in relief as the cool hotel air hit him all at once.

Laid out on the bed, his head hanging upside down off the end, Jesse rolled over as soon as Ben was through the door. “Finally,” he said, propping up on his elbows. “We have a car again?”

Claire bit back a subtle smirk at Jesse’s enthusiasm, but turned an expectant look at Ben, away from her laptop screen on the table. Ben tugged out the keys and gave them an underhand toss in her direction.

“Purrs like a kitten,” he replied. “Now with air conditioning!”

Jesse lifted a fist in victory. “Yes. You get treated special tonight.” )


The air conditioning worked overtime in places like this: the Coroner’s office and Morgue in the sublevels of a Birmingham hospital. It made the air oddly heavy, like being in a meat locker without the smell. And it was always just a little too quiet.

Claire, posing as Federal Agent Alice Halstead, stood with her hands lightly pushed into the pockets of her fitted charcoal trousers at the foot of a storage unit in the Morgue. Her hair sleeked back into a straight, no nonsense ponytail, and a pair of narrow glasses sat on her nose, filtering looks between Jesse and the Assistant Coroner who had escorted them in.

Feeling more comfortable in his role as Federal Agent James Spencer than he had the last time he had to put on the suit, Jesse was already leaning over the body bag as the coroner unzipped it. Turned out it was a bad idea.

“Wow. weren’t kidding when you said it looked like an animal attack.” )


The walk between the car and the hotel room was enough to remind them both that professional type clothing was not Southern Summer friendly. Claire felt like she was wrapped with a thin layer of film by the time the room’s A/C hit her like a wave of water, enough that she let out a very relieved breath. Ben was sitting in front of his monitor without a shirt on, hair pulled back with a thin sheen of sweat on his forehead. He looked up immediately.

“Hey, how’d it go?”

“Our suspect is the Bird Man,” Jesse said, instantly stripping off his dress shoes and sweaty socks. “What’ve you been doing in front of the computer that’s got you so sweaty? Oh wait. Look who I’m talking to.” Jesse gave him a grin as he took off his button-down. Claire’s soundless chuckle disappeared in her breath as she stripped off her blazer and hung it up.

“It’s hot, shut up,” Ben snarked back, his sunburned cheeks flaring an even darker red. “A Bird Man? The hell are you talkin’ about?”

“Best guess, so far,” Claire injected, replacing the silk undershirt with a white wife-beater to keep the heat out. “Seriously looks like a pterodactyl got a’hold of these guys.” She wiggled out of the suit trousers and wandered across the room, effectively claiming the air conditioning vent for herself. “If pterodactyls had building-sized feathers.” )


At the risk of being watched --there was always a possibility when they were hunting creatures-- Ben had parked the GTO a block down, and they’d planned to stagger their heading into each of the clubs. It had taken three days of tracking to see who on their lists were regulars, and another four to figure out their schedules. In the passing of time, one more man ended up in the coroner’s office. They were all getting a little anxious about how long it was taking to catch the elusive killer in the act.

“If something happens, remember the drill,” Ben said lowly. Claire nodded without saying a word. Same as usual when they were headed into this part of the chase, she had her game-face on, though her eyes may’ve been slightly harder than usual. She was the first to break off from them, and disappeared into the small group of people filtering into the first club.

Jesse purposefully turned his back; otherwise he’d just watch her the whole way and not even be able to appreciate it. Anxiety gnawed at his gut at the idea of splitting up again, but he wasn’t about to say so to Ben. Ben’s hands settled on his shoulders, giving him a nod and a grim smile.

“Good luck,” he said solemnly. “Stay safe. See you in a few hours.”

“You too,” Jesse said, giving his hand a squeeze before heading towards the club he was supposed to scope out. The loud thudding of the music assaulted his ears the moment he was through the doors and had “paid” the cover, and the press of dancing bodies easily filled every possible open space. Normally it was the kind of place Jesse thrived in, but right now it was stifling. He took deep breaths and waded through the crowd, willing himself to go unnoticed. In his case, it was particularly effective.

It was a while before he finally caught sight of of their suspects-slash-impending victim. The guy, Marc Weston, was lounging against the wall, beer in hand, not really interacting with anybody. Sitting back against the bar, Jesse watched him for a while and started to notice a pattern. Marc kept looking up at intervals, always at the same spot. That spot being the women’s bathroom door, and the intervals being whenever women went in or out. /That’s not pervy at all./ )



Soundtrack 3

Jun. 5th, 2011


Deleted Scene #10: Behind the Wheel

Cut from 1x11, when Ben is out interviewing )


Extended Scene: 1x13.5 - Push & Pull

Takes place in 1x13.1, as Claire and Jesse comfort Ben )


Deleted Scene #9: Smoke Rings in the Dark

Cut from 1x13.1, when Ben comes back from his stakeout )

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