Disclaimer: They're Kripke's, unfortunately.
Characters: Victor Henrickson, Dean, Sam, surprise character
Word count: 4742
Summary: "Ready like a court order to keep you in a maximum security prison in Nevada until trial, ready like isolation in a soundproof, windowless cell so small that between you and me it's probably unconstitutional. How's that for ready? Take a good look at Sam, you two will never see one another again."
Notes: AU for Jus in Bello, spoilers for the general situation of s4
Warning: guess I can't forget to warn for death of major character.
The prisoner sat on the bed. His weight left an imprint in the mattress, while one of his long legs hung off the edge. He leaned into his pillow, holding on to a book; it was hard to make out what book it was. There was little or no movement. His face was half in the shadows, shaded light from the hallway moving over his eyes as he stared up at the ceiling. Even with the low quality of the imaging, you could notice a slight tremor in orange garbed limbs and the way that his eyes kept a constant watch on the clock. Almost as if he was waiting for something to happen.
Victor had watched the scene three times now. It had almost become an automatism to get to the end of the tape and press rewind. Yet despite all that, it still came as a surprise when the man’s fingers tore into his hair, his eyes wide open in a look of utter terror and despair. Winchester screamed and didn’t stop, even as he fell of the bed in his thrashing. Guards came running, knocking on the door, telling him to shut up. Sam tried to get up from the floor, stumbling, his eyes still wide open, and he started towards the light coming out from the hallway. He fell to his knees, still stuck in the shadows
Special Agent Victor Henrickson stopped the scene there, just at the moment Winchester’s head came close to hitting the floor. He rewound the tape, checking the time, noting the exact date, hour, minute, down to the seconds, and checked it with the information in his file. It was midnight on the dot. Then he let it start up again.
The footage was clear as two of the guards stood beside the door, both of them holding tazers, ready for anything. A third guard grabbed the handle and strode into the cell. The guard was the very picture of confidence as he aimed his flashlight at the prisoner. The tension was nearly palatable as the guards’ attention stayed at an all time high. This wouldn’t be the first time a prisoner pretended an illness in order to lure a guard inside to use as a hostage. These men were well trained and they knew better than to be careless. When Winchester grabbed the man’s arm, the other guards were on to the prisoner almost before he had a hold. Winchester went down.
“They’re coming for Dean! Let me go, you bastards, they’re coming for Dean!”
The second guard told him to shut up as he forced his nightstick under Winchester’s throat, pulling him back. The third was already alerting a medic.
“Nobody’s after your brother, Winchester. Nobody cares about either of you. Now stop being a paranoid ass and shut the fuck up.”
“Dean!” The prisoner’s screams pierced through the speakers even as the guard fought to hold him down before he hurt himself trying to get out. But Sam didn’t even try to make a break for it. He kept screaming until the medic injected him with a tranquilizer.
The first guard relaxed a bit as he held onto the large prisoner, who sank down like a life-sized toy robot whose batteries were running dry. He held on to the prisoner and gently placed him on the bed, Winchester made another grab for his arm.
“I have to stop them; the Hell Hounds are coming for Dean.” His voice rasped out. “I have to save him.” By the end, Winchester’s voice could just barely be heard as he passed out like a light.
The medic checked out his heart rate and respiration one last time before leaving. Then the guards left, leaving the prisoner behind in a six foot by six foot, windowless, soundproof cell up in the Nevada Supermax. It was a mere block away from the maximum security division where his brother had been kept.
All Henrickson could remember doing at that same time was lying in his bed and wondering why he’d suddenly felt like someone was walking over his grave.
Henrickson pressed pause on the image of the youngest Winchester. Sam’s face was tracked with tears; he seemed caught in a restless sleep. Victor stared at the files in front of him, autopsy reports. It had been a struggle to gain permission to be there for the autopsy but after the last time that Winchester had faked his death he wasn’t about to let it happen again. He couldn’t let the monster slip through his fingers, not again. Not after…
Victor gritted his teeth, staring at the pictures. There were two sets of them: the one in St Louis and the one in Nevada. Both looked real, both were convincing as hell, and still Dean had survived to kill again after the first.
How could he ever be sure?
He’d identified Winchester’s remains as the doctors started cutting into the body. Not that they needed an ID but he’d needed to do it. He’d touched the flesh and brushed his fingers over the face, closing the man’s eyes. Even after death those damn green eyes still pierced through him. Victor had pushed his fingers in the caked up blood; it was real, all real. If he didn’t know better, he’d have said the man had been mauled to death by wild dogs.
But he did know better. There was no way that any wild dogs could have gotten into a maximum security prison, past over five checkpoints, to a prisoner locked up in solitary confinement. Winchester had been under 24:7 surveillance. After the Winchesters’ last escape, Dean was considered high risk. The both of them were.
And yet he’d died, at the exact same moment that Sam Winchester had started screaming about Hell Hounds. How did they manage it? They must have done something, agreed to something beforehand. There had to be a plan. Something they were up to, something he had to stop.
Henrickson had no idea what could have happened. But he’d been there in that cell; he’d stared at Dean’s blood spilled all over the floor, walls and ceiling. He’d seen the traces of the man’s nails as it seemed he’d tried to hold on to something, anything, the floor even, to keep something invisible from dragging him away.
It had to be a trick, had to be, but still… He had to know, he had to stop Dean from showing up in his dreams, throwing that smirk at him, smiling all the damn time as if he knew something that Henrickson didn’t. He had to be sure it was really and truly over. He had to know that Dean would never kill another innocent person ever again. If he didn’t, he’d never be able to have another full night’s sleep in his life.
He could hear them coming from outside the visitors’ room. The gates opened and Sam Winchester entered the room between four guards big enough to tower over even him. Winchester’s shackles rang as he moved and one of the guards ordered him to stand still, as he removed the link between leg braces before locking them to the table. His hands were tied to the chair. The silver of the shackles clashed violently with the orange of the prison jump suit
Winchester’s shoulders slumped and his eyes turned downward. Victor compared the prisoner in front of him with the man he’d hunted all across the country and couldn’t help but note the differences. Sam’s hair had been cut short and Victor could see a hint of a tattoo on his arm. Winchester pulled his sleeve down as soon as he noticed Victor looking at it.
Victor wasn’t an expert on prison tattoos. But he knew that the one on Sam’s shoulder belonged to one of the most violent prison gangs in the country. It was to be expected. You didn’t survive in a place like this if you were on your own. And gangs like that, they didn’t take no for an answer.
Under normal circumstances Sam Winchester loomed over him. Right now, with the way he was slumped down into his chair, he looked like a little boy who’d just lost his entire family. Which he had. Victor knew better than to think that made him any less dangerous. It was the broken ones, the ones that were hurt and cornered, that you had to most look out for. They had nothing left to lose.
Victor put down the remote and picked up the file. His superiors had told him that they could leave the case to someone else. He’d caught the Winchesters. His job had ended once they’d arrived in Supermax. For a few months, everything had gone back to boring. He’d been in some small town nearby, following up on some leads on an arms dealer the bureau had been after for a few years now when he got the news. It was like something had come over him then and there was no way he was going to let this go until he knew just how Dean had died and what had happened to the bastard. He’d started this and it’d be his job to finish it or die trying.
Reidy had called him an idiot over it. Victor couldn’t give a damn if he tried. All that mattered was that the two of them had been coming here for the past four months and they still had squat in regards to answers. So he’d been left with one last lead.
“Well hello there, Sam. Seems like prison hasn’t been treating you too badly.” That was a bald-faced lie if he’d ever uttered one.
Sam just sank down further in his chair, biting his already chapped lips. It was only when he tried to act tough that the sense of danger around him faded for a second, leaving you with a glimpse of the little lost boy hiding underneath. Some Peter Pan that would take out anyone that he saw as a ‘demon’ or ‘witch’, or god forbid, a ‘werewolf’.
Sam threw those innocent eyes at him and Victor reminded himself of Madison. Sam had most likely made those puppy dog eyes at her too. The neighbors had described him as ‘that charming police officer.’ He’d fooled her into thinking he was to be trusted until she let him into her apartment, into her bed. They’d found evidence of intercourse but no signs of struggle, other than a thin cut on her arm. A recording of one of Madison’s favorite soaps had been in the video player; it had played to the end. He must have seemed like the perfect boyfriend.
Until the moment that sweet little boy started seeing her as a monster. Once he did, he’d tied her up, abused her, and shot her with a silver bullet. That was the truth. Sam Winchester might have been innocent once. But living with his father, with his brother, had messed him up as much as the rest of his sick twisted family. He couldn’t be soft on him because the only ones Winchesters cared about were other Winchesters.
“So what happened to your brother, Sam?”
Sam glared up, struggling with the shackles for a second, before his hands dropped on the table. “Why don’t you tell me? I was a little bit locked up at the time.”
Looking at Sam, Henrickson just wanted to wipe the expression off his face. Sam’s glare accused him of Dean’s death. It pulled him down as if he were the villain in Sam’s personal story. He’d prefer Dean’s smug smile, some hint to show that he was in control. Anything was better than that look of pain and accusations because part of him agrees with it. He’s the one that brought them here, and he wonders if Dean would have lived if he hadn’t. And he hates it for being a lie, because somehow, some way, this can’t be true. Dean has to be out there somewhere and Sam had to know it. Because this couldn’t be over. Not so soon, not now.
He knows he’s right, that the both of them deserve to be here; they are murderers, at least Dean definitely was. So maybe his sins just finally came down calling. Victor has no way of being sure. All he knows is that a man he captured and imprisoned died screaming for his brother with his blood smeared all over the very cell that Henrickson threw him into. He shouldn’t feel guilt or doubt or confusion. Winchester deserves to be in there, more than anyone else he’d ever hunted down. Dean’s dead, he has to be, and still…he can’t help wondering. He wished he could stop.
Henrickson points the remote at the screen, rewinding it to the moment he’d picked. The screen flickers on at the moment where Dean is pushed into his cell for the first time. Winchester is smiling, no smirking at the guard, making the usual smart ass remarks, telling the guards to keep their hands at home. They’re used to it so they ignore him. One of them removes Dean’s shackles while two of the others stand nearby, ready to take him down if he tries anything. It’s all very matter of course, all business, no tricks. Winchester is acting as if none of it is affecting him, except for a few lines around his mouth that seem to twinge at the guards lack of reaction.
Dean pointedly turns away from the guards, though it’s obviously that he’s waiting for the door to fall shut and the locks to close before he sits down on his bed. He stares at the door, his shoulders slump, his arms hanging tight by his side. “So so screwed.” he mutters before lying down.
Henrickson fast forwards a few hours. Sam seems to be about to try and make him stop; one glare from Henrickson keeps him quiet. Even in high speed, Henrickson and Sam both notice as Winchester starts pacing the cell. He heads from the bunk bed, to the toilet/sink combo to the door and back. There’s not much room to pace around in but Winchester gives it the old college try anyway.
Henrickson finally presses play and they both notice as Dean lies down, staring at the ceiling before turning to the wall. There’s a calendar there. It’s standard issue, one piece of paper that has all the days of the year on it. Dean gets up and goes to the small table. There’s a crayon there and some paper, also standard issue.
Henrickson looks as Dean goes to the calendar and draws a circle around a date, three months away. At the time it meant nothing, just some random day. It wasn’t like Winchester had a court date set or anything. Just a random date… that happened to coincide to the exact same date that Winchester died on. Coincidence… right?
"Tell me, Sammy,” Victor got up and loomed over his way too large prisoner, glad the youngest Winchester was sitting down so he could even try it. “How did he know?"
"Know what?" Sam glared at him. “And don’t call me Sammy.”
“What Sammy? Not clear enough?” He placed the calendar in front of Sam “Most people, even people with critical conditions, don't know what day they'll die.” And they were probably better off for it. He thought but didn’t say. “People on death row might know but even they can't be entirely sure.” And if Victor had gotten his wish, Dean would have been on death row in a couple of months. “Yet your brother, without a doubt, knew the exact day that his number was going to be up.” Victor wasn’t sure why, but somehow he imagined that if he’d asked Dean, the man would have probably been able to give the hour, probably even the minute and the second. “How did he know?"
"You wouldn’t believe me."
The same old excuse, the same old rhyme and reason. Sam was right, he wouldn’t, not if Sam was going to start up about demons or monsters all over again. Victor was too rational to believe in that crap.
Henrickson started up the video again, pressing the button to move on to the next scene. It didn’t look too different from the first one. Dean was pulling himself up on the door, the usual prison exercise. Suddenly he dropped down, his legs slightly bent for a second before he straightened up and turned. He looked startled. Victor looked at the date tag: less than a week before Dean's death.
Dean’s head tilted as if he were listening to something. For a moment there was a look of fear in his eyes. He started searching around. Henrickson pressed fast forward again. A few hours later; it was dinnertime. Onscreen, Dean grabbed the saltshaker and started throwing a thin line of salt in front of the door. He started shaking as he realized there wasn’t enough.
“What’s with the salt, Sammy?” Sam looked away. “Wherever you guys went, wherever you stayed, the easiest way to identify one of the locations you used was by checking for salt. What is it with the salt?”
Henrickson barely even understood Sam’s next words; they weren’t said to him anyway. “He couldn’t find goofer dust. God, where could he have gotten it to begin with?”
“Goofer dust?” Henrickon leans over him again. “I’ve heard that name before.” He went back to his file and flipped through one of the interviews. One of the prisoners he’d questioned had mentioned Winchester trying to get his hands on some kind of voodoo stuff.
“He was scared, man, shaking like the hounds of hell themselves were after him.” The transcript said. “Asking me for some of that houdoun stuff, goofer dust; it’s just some stupid superstition.” But the prisoner hadn’t sounded like he thought it was some kind of superstition. He’d sounded like he’d believed in it as much as Winchester had. “I told him I could get it,” the prisoner had continued, “but that it might take me two weeks. Then the crazy piece of shit lost his marbles, said he needed it within days or I might as well forget it. Bastard threw me up against the wall. I was lucky the guards got him away from me.”
Dean had lost yard privilege for a week after that. He hadn’t seemed to care. Just sank down in his cell, crumbling against bricks filled with graffiti. Pentagrams, some kind of symbol one of the experts had identified as a devil’s trap. Henrickson didn’t even bother to show Sam the footage of that.
Victor went right on to the last day, dinnertime. Dean was eating the chicken as if there was no tomorrow. He’d been right. Then he started writing something: a few notes, names; it was in some kind of code. Henrickson had decided not to show it to Sam. Sure he could probably read it but they couldn’t be sure that Sam would be willing to tell them what it was about. And if he recognized it and didn’t tell them they’d never know what Dean’s plan had been.
A guard came to check on Winchester, opening the latch in the door. Victor wondered if it was some kind of camera flash that made the guards eyes look pitch black for a second. There was a look of rage, of murder in Dean’s eyes as he glared up. Dean was a smart ass, easily agitated, but he didn’t usually look at the guards if he wanted to tear their throats out like he did in that instant. The guard didn’t even seem surprised by the look. So maybe Victor had missed something, somewhere. On tape the guard just grinned and whispered something. The cameras hadn’t quite been able to catch what that was.
Sam was holding on to the desk now. Staring at the scene, Victor noticed that the man’s eyes were glued to the bottom of the screen: the date and time. Victor grabbed the remote and clicked on to the next scene. He skipped over several hours that started off with pacing, a very short attempt of what looked like meditation, and agitation that increased with every hour that past by.
Things got worse as Dean threw over his bed and kicked the sink, his face twisting as he tried to pretend it didn’t hurt, even in the privacy of his cell. Then he grabbed one of the three books in his cell and paged through it for several minutes. Henrickson kept his eyes on Sam, who’d moved up, leaning towards the screen. If he hadn’t been chained in place, he’d probably try and reach out to it.
Sam winced as Dean finally grabbed another one of the books and started tearing up the pages, muttering insults against the guards, their kin, and even Henrickson himself, cursing his name. Dean’s eyes stayed glued to the clock.
It was getting close to twelve.
“Oh God, Sammy. I’m so sorry.”
Victor didn’t know what Dean was sorry for but he doubted it was any of the things he should be feeling guilt over.
Then it started, something bouncing on the doors, pushing at them. Something very strong and very heavy scratched out against them, tearing harshly enough that it left marks even on the inside. They still didn’t know what had caused the gashes in the metal.
Dean started screaming then, as something invisible pushed him towards the floor.
The light above them started to flicker and Victor could feel his ears ache as some kind of barely audible noise rang out underneath the sound of the screams on tape. Henrickson hesitated for a second as he realized that it wasn’t coming from the speaker. It was that hesitation that made him look at Sam again and notice the tears in the younger man’s eyes. He aimed the remote towards the screen to stop the footage. Just because he dealt with heartless monsters didn’t mean he had to be one.
“Please,” Sam suddenly said. “I need to see it.”
Victor looked at him, trying to make sure. His hand moved to his ears again; as he took it away he noticed a drop of blood. The light started to flicker again and Victor shivered as something cold ran down his spine. He turned the tape back on, getting up from behind the table, leaving Sam to watch the scene on his own. Even someone like Sam Winchester deserved some privacy as he watched his brother’s death.
He opened the door for a second, hoping to ask one of the guards for a tissue or possibly a medic, when he found himself in the middle of a scene right out of the Matrix. A white Caucasian male, brown hair dressed in a grey raincoat covering a white dress shirt, complete with tie and dark slacks stood there at the end of the hallway, staring at him and the other guards. Victor could see the man’s lips moving as that weird sound pierced through the hall once more. He nearly sank to his knees and reached for his ears; the bleeding had intensified.
The guards ordered the stranger to stop and freeze. Henrickson could hear that it worked at first but it seemed as though the man was merely curious about it all rather than worried. As another guard attempted to bring the man down, Victor could almost imagine a pair of shadowy wings reflected on the walls.
The stranger passed the first guard and his fingers reached out to the man’s head. Victor could hear a soft whisper; he didn’t quite understand any words, just had a sense of something important being said. The guard went down a second later before the stranger’s fingers even left his forehead. It had to be some kind of trick, some kind of nerve touch, maybe some kind of drug, but if it were, why wasn’t it affecting the bastard? Did he have some kind of immunity?
Victor wanted to start shooting but he remembered just in time that the guards had made him leave his gun at the first security check point. No weapons allowed; one of the prisoners might try and get their hands on it.
Victor hurried back into the visitor’s room and locked the door. When he turned around, he noticed that Sam had gotten up and out of his shackles. He should have known better than leave one of the Winchester brothers on his own. Even though he was pretty sure he hadn’t left any paperclips behind.
A nightmare situation for sure: Victor was unarmed, locked in a room with a madman while another nut was heading towards them as if he’d stepped right out of the Terminator. But Sam didn’t seem interested in him. He was too intent on something in his hand; he pushed it into the glass that Henrickson had been using that stood on his side of the table. All Victor could see was a small wooden crucifix, it looked like something homemade. How the hell had Winchester managed to keep it on him through all the checkpoints he’d been put through before arriving?
The tape had gone to static. There was some king of noise bursting in his ears and he winced, backing into the table as the light bulb hanging over them snapped.
“What’s going on?”
Victor didn’t know, but he wasn’t sure if he should tell Sam that.
“Who’s your friend out there?” he finally asked, bluffing beyond all hope that Sam would fall for it and think that Henrickson still had the upper hand.
“What friend?” the words were said just as the door cracked open, breaking out of the lock.
The intruder seemed to shine light as he stood there, blocking out the view of the hall. Sam was backing up, holding the glass behind his back. It almost seemed as if he was as scared of the stranger as Victor was.
Then, just as the man came in, Sam threw the water in the glass towards him. He seemed almost surprised when it didn’t have any effect. The man didn’t even bother to wipe the water from his face, he just pulled his raincoat straight. Like some kind of Constantine, moving into his own world.
When the stranger finally glanced at Victor he looked right through him. Cold shivers slipped down his spine and for a moment it felt like someone was dancing the Macarena over his grave.
No weapons, no back up, but he had a responsibility here. Either to protect his prisoner, or make sure he didn’t get away. He was a federal agent for crying out loud, he wasn’t helpless, not by a long shot.
“What are you?” Sam whispered, still stuck in his delusions, still stuck in that idea of fighting demons and monsters.
Victor took a step forward and it felt like a light snapped on in the stranger’s eyes. As if this person had noticed him for the first time, looking at him as if he was the thing that was wrong in this picture, as if Victor was the one who didn’t belong.
He didn’t say a word, just came up to Victor. Henrickson tried to get away, as far away from those poisoned fingers as he possibly could. A second later he felt himself drop to the floor and stared up as Winchester pulled something out of his pocket. It was some kind of powder that glittered in the brief flashes of light coming from the hall. Was that salt? What was it with the Winchesters and condiments?
He couldn’t black out, he couldn’t, but he did anyway.
By the time Victor woke up, Sam was gone and so was his psycho friend. All he was left with was questions.
The hunt was back on.