Chapter 1: Sept.18, 2008: 127 Days Later
Thank you A.J Hofacre for all of your help. I really appreciated it. To everyone else: This fic is nearly finished. All I have left to do is to flesh out the last chapter. And again, there are major spoilers for Supernatural's season four in this fic.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners, Whedon and Kripke. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
“Sir? Sir!” An urgent voice penetrated the fog surrounding his mind. The sound of busses downshifting, the soft hiss of breaks, the pungent aroma of diesel, and the clacking of bus doors sliding open and closed registered. When he opened his eyes the harsh florescent light caused him to quickly shut them again. The pounding in his head increased.
“Sir, you can’t sleep here. If you don’t leave, I’ll be forced to call security.”
Groaning, he sat up, hands rubbing his head. Everything was too loud, too bright. He could hear people arguing, a child screaming for a toy, a wife quarrelling with her husband, a group of teenager‘s excited chatter. Where in the goddamn hell was he?
Peeling his eyes open once more, he looked at the bus station attendant and gave a weak smile. At least it was dark outside.
“Sir, please, you have to leave.” The girl’s voice was annoyed, but it still had an inflection of worry that pushed him to follow her request.
“Okay, okay.” His voice sounded raspy and sent shockwaves of pain through his much-abused head. Lowering his arm, he noticed a key dangling from his wrist. Like brass, it was scratched and tarnished and had the number forty two printed on the side. Going on a hunch, he stopped the attendant.
“'Scuse me, uh, sorry to bother you, but can you tell me where to find locker forty two?”
Sighing, the attendant pointed out a row of lockers behind him before going back to her counter. Nodding his thanks even as she walked away without a single look back, he stood and slowly made his way over to the lockers, trying to keep away from as many people as possible. Subconsciously, there was something telling him that if he even looked at someone else, his brain would be in for a world of pain much worse than what he was already experiencing. Reaching the neat rows of lockers, he slowly walked up one aisle and down the other, eyes scanning for the correct number. When he found the locker, he took a deep breath before trying the key. A part of him wasn’t sure if he even wanted to look, but he needed answers and this was the only clue he had.
It was either luck or fate stepping in, but the key fit and turned the lock easily. Inside was an army green duffel bag, with only the name Dean W. printed on the tag attached to the handle.
“Huh,” he said as he pulled the bag from the locker. “Is this mine?”
Looking around, he saw the familiar symbol declaring that the Men’s restroom was off to his right. Quickly making his way to the restroom, he slipped inside. Once he was sure no one else was there, he locked the door. With a sigh, he leaned against the cool stone walls, letting his aching head fall back. Even with the closed door between him and the outside world he could still hear the grinding sounds of raised voices, the screeching of luggage across tiled floors, and the low, growling rumble of the busses’ engines as they roared to life.
Letting out a deep sigh, he walked to the sinks and let the bag rest on the counter. Pulling the zipper open, he peered inside. Clothes, all neatly packed greeted him. A black wallet rested on top of a folded pair of worn jeans. Pulling the wallet out, he opened it and found nothing but a thousand dollars in cash. No ID, no credit cards, nothing. Not even a library card. Cursing, he placed the wallet back in the bag and took out a change of clothes. The ones he was wearing were stained with dirt and other substances he didn’t wish to examine. The sinks provided him with a place to wash up while he changed, and once he had his filthy clothes bundled up, he felt somewhat better. Opening the bag, he reached inside to place his dirty clothes at the bottom. A box of rock salt, a machete, and sawed off shotgun greeted him. There was even a box of ammo.
“Holy fuck!” he yelled, taking a few startled steps back, dirty clothes momentarily forgotten.
Approaching the sinks again, slowly this time, he placed his dirty clothes next to the bag and pulled out the shotgun and ammo. The shotgun was placed next to the bag for later inspection. Taking one of the buckshot’s in his hand, he twisted it apart. All he found were white crystals that looked suspiciously like salt. Placing a few on his tongue, he discovered that the crystals were salt.
“What the fuck?” he said, the opened cartridge held in one shaky hand. Tossing the slug, he began to dig through the bag, opening zippered compartments on either end as well as the small pocket in the center. In one of the zippered ends he found an ornate handgun.
Replacing the items, and placing his old clothes on top of the weapons, he quickly zipped the bag closed. His hands came to rest on the counter on either side of the bag, his forehead resting on the rough material. His breathing was coming in shallow gasps, his heart beating a furious rhythm in his chest. He was shaking like a leaf in a thunderstorm, and all of his attempts to calm his jittery body failed. Squeezing his eyes shut, he tried to fight off the nausea. The world was spinning madly out of control and he felt that if he let go of the sink, he would be lost with it.
A loud pounding on the door, which was quickly accompanied by an angry voice, startled him from his thoughts.
“Hang on a minute!” he yelled. “Can’t a man be sick in peace?”
Taking a deep breath, he stood upright, grabbed the duffle and stalked towards the door. He jerked it open right before the guy could pound on it again.
“It’s all yours,” he spat, muttering insults toward the man under his breath as he walked away. Still a bit unsteady on his feet, he quickly made his way out of the bus station. With the bag he was carrying he didn’t need anyone calling the cops. It wasn’t like he could tell them where the stuff came from. Hell, he didn't even know where it came from.
When he reached the sidewalk, the smell of gas fumes hit, making him gag and stumble against the rough brick of the bus station's wall. Cars roared past, honking at the car in front as if the deadly speed the other vehicle was going wasn’t nearly fast enough, and sirens wailed shrilly in the distance. Sighting a bench, he quickly made his way over and sank down on the hard seat. Leaning his head back, he stared up at the sky. He could see the moon shining overhead, but the light pollution blocked the stars.
Groaning, he leaned forward, letting his head rest on the bag in his lap. So far, he suspected that his name was Dean, the clothes in the bag had fit him perfectly when he‘d changed, and that he had a wallet with a thousand bucks in it and shit all else. Cursing, he wondered how he had ended up in a bus station in L.A. of all other places in the damn world, and why he had no memory of who he was, or where he‘d come from.
Sighing, Dean tried to figure out what to do. He knew he should go to the police, but the large machete and sawed off shotgun advised him otherwise. Plus what kind of guy carried around a shotgun with rock salt buckshot instead of proper ammo? Oh and the handgun he’d found? Fully loaded with what looked like silver bullets. Yeah, so going to the police was very much out of the question.
Suddenly pain -- fierce, blinding pain unlike anything he'd ever felt -- ripped through his skull. Squeezing his eyes shut, he gripped the sides of his head and clenched his jaw. He tried to stay quiet through the assault on his brain, the last thing he needed was for someone to notice. Along with the pain came pictures -- a blonde man was fighting a group of things... Vampires, his mind supplied when one of the creatures crumbled to dust. A young woman was cowering behind him. From the looks of things, the blonde guy was losing. And then the image shifted, and Dean saw the blonde guy slip, his head hitting a brick wall and fangs, yellow eyes, and a ridged forehead springing to the fore as he roared in pain. It was all the opening the others needed and the stake in the blond's hand found its way to his own heart, courtesy of one of the more exuberant vampires. The man -- who Dean now knew was a vampire, too--crumbled to dust and the girl was drained.
When the images stopped, Dean took a few deep breaths, trying to calm his shaking body and racing heart. Grabbing his bag, he stood and ran. He had to know if what he’d seen was real.
When he came to the corner, Dean frantically looked around, hoping something would spark his memory, anything to tell him where he should be going.
Another stab of pain assaulted his mind, followed by an image flashing quickly before his eyes. His startled and agonized gasp had people edging away from him, but Dean didn’t notice. He turned left and ran across the street, dodging cars trying to turn, and shoving people out of his way when he reached the other side.
At the next corner, another flash told him to turn right, and so on until he reach the mouth of a familiar alley. Dean could hear the sounds of fighting coming from the other end, the panicked cries that he realized belonged to the girl he’d seen. Dropping his bag, he opened it and pulled out the machete, and charged.
Spike was bored. He was more than bored. He was so bored that he was ready to actually do some spring cleaning, even if it wasn’t technically spring. No one was walking through the doors, and it seemed no one was calling.
Sighing, he sat back and placed his feet on the counter. Some days he had no idea why he had taken Angel up on his offer. Sure, the Hyperion was nice and big and comfy and free, but it was also lonely, cold and isolating. There was nobody around to make it feel warm. Dawn only came back on her days off, if she wasn’t out with her friends, and she rarely stayed, preferring to go back to her dorm. Right now she was out with some friends being a normal college student, and Spike wouldn’t begrudge her that for all the world.
Angel on the other hand, was off in Europe trying to get back into Buffy’s good graces. After the battle with the Senior Partners had ended rather abruptly, thanks to Willow transporting the demon army back to their home dimension and closing the portal, Angel had decided that Los Angeles held too many painful memories. His team were all gone, Gunn having died not even ten minutes into the battle. Even Illyria had decided to leave, demanding that Willow open a portal to an appropriate hell dimension for her to take over. The grief of losing Wesley was still strong, even though Illyria denied it, and Spike figured that was reason enough for the God-King to want to leave.
Spike had thought of leaving too, until he’d finally managed to talk to Buffy. Their talk hadn’t gone well, stilted as it had been. When she had simply told him that yes, she did love him but she couldn’t be with him, Spike had snapped. Now their conversations went through Dawn, and they only ever spoke directly when a crisis was brewing, or when Spike was giving a report on the latest bit of demonic activity in the area. And sometimes he got really unlucky, had to warn her about a run in he’d had with one of her pet slayers. Those were fun conversations that Spike tried to avoid.
Glancing at the clock, Spike grimaced. It was only a minute after he had looked the last time. It was definitely time to go kill something before he really did start cleaning. This helping the helpless (or hopeless--it depended on the day) was a colossal pain.
Roaming the streets of L.A alleviated some of Spike’s restlessness, but his nerves were still on fire, his demon restless in his mind.
People walked past, cars zoomed by. It was a cacophony of sounds and harsh lights, each distinct but blending into a whole creating a unique symphony for the city. Spike thrived on the noise. It got his blood flowing, and sharpened his senses. Despite how he arrived, Spike considered Los Angeles his city, abandoned by the so-called real Champions, and left to be looked after by the second-rate souled vampire that no one seemed to want either. The city of lost souls, of sinners and saints, welcomed him as one of its own.
Turning a corner, Spike heard a scuffling sound. Standing still, despite the constant flow of people passing him by, Spike extended his senses. He felt a faint prickling along the back of his neck. There were vampires in the alley; how many exactly, Spike didn’t know. What Spike did know was that they had someone with them and that if he didn’t get down there soon, that someone would die.
Taking off down the alley, Spike sprinted, jumping to land atop a blue dumpster. Luckily for Spike the alley was lit buy a lone streetlamp and he could see the five vampires surrounding the young prostitute.
“You lot willing to save some of that for me?” Spike grinned as the fledges turned their attention to him, and away from the young girl.
“Get your own food!” One vamp snarled. “This one’s ours.”
“Sorry, mates,” Spike said with a patently false put upon sigh. “This is my turf, and I can’t let worthless sods like you ignore that.”
Pulling a stake from his pocket, Spike lunged, heading towards the closest vampire. The fact that the git happened to be wearing a Sex Pistol’s t-shirt with tight skinny jeans and Converse shoes was all the incentive Spike needed. He knew from living in Sunnydale how expensive the jeans were, and Spike felt it was his duty to rid the world of sorry posers who insulted punk rock. And, er, save innocents in the process, of course.
The vamp turned as Spike drew near, snarling. They met halfway, in a tangle of limbs. The others soon joined the fray, and Spike was quickly fighting for his life.
When one of the vamps ripped a pipe from the side of one building, Spike knew he was screwed. Fledges weren’t supposed to be smart, and in fact these five weren’t. But what the others hadn’t thought of, this group had. They attacked at once, using their greater numbers to their advantage.
He cried out and vamped as the pipe met his head, slipping backwards and knocking his head against the brick wall behind him.
They were a lot harder to kill than he’d originally thought. Or maybe he was losing his edge, or hell, maybe he was just tired of trying, but for the split second that he was down, Spike gave up. As one of the fledglings wrestled Spike's stake out of his grasp, he drew in a gasp of air, apologizing in his head to Dawn... and to Buffy. He stopped fighting and the stake was soon making its way towards his heart. Closing his eyes, Spike waited for the end, waited for the hell fire to greet him, waited for the tortured cries to mingle with his own. But that didn’t happen. Suddenly dust was falling down on him, and one of the vampires was gone. His abandoned stake clattered to the ground.
Everything seemed to freeze. A young man had entered the alley and managed to kill the vamp that would have killed Spike. The guy said nothing, just stood there, a dark look on his face, a machete held in one hand.
As one, the two remained vamps turned and charged the new comer, giving Spike a chance to scrabble for the stake that had fallen into the vamp dust and climb to his feet. With expert aim, Spike threw the stake and dusted one of the vamps before it could reach the new guy. His savior stood still, waiting for the last vamp to reach him before twirling the machete and swinging it with all of his force behind it. The blade bit into the vamp’s neck, sliding through bone and tendon to take the head off.
Blinking in disbelief -- after all, it wasn't too often that a stranger saw fit to save his ass -- Spike glanced away to see the young girl he'd been trying to protect huddled in the corner, shaking and sobbing. Edging closer to her, he helped her up and calmed her down before letting her go with a not-so-subtle warning to find a new profession that didn't involve standing on dark corners in the dead of night in Los Angeles.
The girl seen off safely, Spike turned toward the young man poised in the mouth of the alley once again. “Hey, mate,” Spike asked as he slowly approached. The young man before him said nothing, just continued staring at his hands as if he had never seen them before. Spike could hear the guy’s heart beating furiously, and could tell by the rise and fall of his chest that his breathing was way too shallow. “You all right?”
“At least I know I’m not crazy,” the young man muttered to himself, voice as shaky as his hands. Turning his gaze towards Spike, “You okay?”
Spike didn’t answer for a second. He had thought the guy was human, but on closer examination, he saw that the guy’s eyes were pitch black, and unlike Willow, this guy didn’t reek of magic. Some type of demon, or half demon, then, Spike figured, and one that apparently went around saving people.
“Yeah, mate,” Spike said with a brief nod. “You got here just in the nick of time.”
“That’s good,” the young man said with a nod, his eyes now a green tinted hazel.
“How did you know to get here?” Spike asked, taking a few tentative steps forward.
“Saw it happen,” the young man replied. “Had to see if I was crazy or not.”
“You don’t know if you’re crazy?” Spike asked, eyebrow raised. “In my experience that’s something you can’t miss.”
“Huh,” the young man replied. “Guess it should have been obvious then.”
“You got a name?” Spike asked. He was now less than three feet from the guy. He was dressed in a black t-shirt, a green (unbuttoned) button-down, a battered black leather jacket, thrifty, ripped blue jeans and shiny leather biker boots. He had short dirty blonde hair and several days stubble covering his chin.
“Uh…Dean, I think.”
“I don’t really know,” Dean said with a shrug. “I woke up in a bus station with a key to a locker. The bag inside had a tag on it that said Dean. The clothes fit so I figured the stuff was mine. And why in the hell am I telling you this?”
“Cause you just helped save my ass?” Spike said with a smirk.
A sheepish chuckle greeted his words. “Yeah, I guess I did.”
“So, Dean,” Spike said. “All thoughts of insanity aside, what really brought you here?”
Dean sighed, hand raising to rub at his still aching head. “I had some sort of vision.”
“A vision?” Spike asked, eyes narrow. He’d been played with once, and he wasn’t about to let some upstart try it again.
“Yeah.” Dean looked up, his eyes meeting Spike’s. “Look, dude, I know this sounds crazy, but I saw you get killed. I don’t know why, but…Look, you’re safe, the girl is safe, so I’ll just be on my way.”
The vampire's eyes narrowed in concentration. There was something familiar about this situation, and there was something nagging at him, saying that this man was completely on the up-and-up. After debating with himself for a moment, it was Spike’s turn to sigh. “Do you have anyplace to go?”
Dean’s shoulders slumped. “No.”
Walking forward, Spike placed a hand on Dean’s shoulders. “Come on. I’ve got this bloody massive hotel all to myself. There’s plenty of room, and it’s a safe place for you to figure out your next move in.”
“Thanks.” Dean’s words were quiet. When they reached the mouth of the alley, Dean stooped to pick up a green duffle bag. They didn’t speak the whole way back to the hotel.
After showing Dean to one of the many empty rooms, Spike headed downstairs and grabbed the phone, dialing as he settled into his chair. Dawn picked up on the first ring.
“The world better be ending.”
“You shouldn’t say things like that, Bit,” Spike said with a chuckle. “You know how often the apocalypse happens.”
Dawn snorted. “Every other week it seems like.”
“About right,” Spike answered. “Listen, Dawn. It looks like I’m going to have to bow out of tomorrow’s plans.”
“Why?” Spike could envision her glare. Not surprisingly, it looked remarkably like Buffy‘s.
“I’ve got a bloke staying here for a few days,” Spike said. “Doesn’t know anything about himself, and I just wanted to make sure he was, well, safe.”
“Yeah.” Spike sighed. “He claims he saw me dust in a vision.”
“Ow! Bloody hell, Bit! Watch the ears.”
“I’m fine,” Spike said, voice firm. “I just want to keep an eye on him without having to worry about you as well.”
“Fine.” Dawn huffed. “But call me when it’s safe to come back.”
Hanging up the phone, Spike sighed in relief. He didn’t think Dean was a threat, but Spike would never take those kinds of chances with Dawn’s life.
Hearing the shower cut off upstairs, Spike slowly made his way to the room he’d let Dean use. A sharp knock herald his entrance.
“Getting settled in okay?”
“Yeah. Um…Hey, thanks for, well, letting me stay here,” Dean said, hanging his wet towel on the bathroom door.
“It’s no problem. Know what it’s like to be a bit lost.”
“Lost, yeah. Good way of describing it. I don‘t know a God damn thing about myself except for possibly my name, and that I‘m apparently psychic.”
“Yeah, about that,” Spike said. Leaning against the wall, he ran his hand through his hair, unsure of how to start. “Can you tell me exactly what happened tonight?”
“You think you know something about these things, don’t you?”
“I was sitting on a bench outside the bus station,” Dean said. “I was trying to figure out what to do when massive amounts of pain just bashed through my skull. Had no clue what was happening. Then I started seeing images, right in front of my eyes. I just…I had to see if it was real.”
Spike nodded. “A few years ago, I met someone who got visions. From the sound of it, they were a lot like yours. Won’t know for sure until I talk to a friend, but I think you’re supposed to be someone’s seer.”
“Seer of what?” Dean asked, eyebrow raised. “Violence, death, and destruction? No thanks.”
“Sorry, mate,” Spike said. “Don’t think you have much of a choice.”
“And why is that?”
“Because if I’m right, then you’re meant to be helping some poor bugger save the world.”
“Great.” Dean flopped back onto the bed, eyes focused on the ceiling. “A mission statement. Just what I needed.”
“Bloody Powers are an irritating lot.” Spike chuckled.
“Powers?” Dean asked, raising his head.
“The Powers That Be,” Spike said. “The irritating Higher Beings I think are responsible for sending you that lovely vision you had earlier.”
“Look, don’t worry about it. We’ll talk things over tomorrow, see if anything comes up.”
“And if I have another vision? Then what?” Dean asked, voice hesitant.
“Then we’ll take care of it.” Spike shrugged, sounding as if there was no other option. “It’s what I do.”
“That’s good to know,” Dean said with a nod.
“Look, I’ll just leave you to get some rest. We’ll discuss this more tomorrow, okay?”
“Yeah,” Dean said. “Thanks, again, for letting me stay here.”
“No problem, mate,” Spike said with a gentle smile, leaving Dean to his thoughts.