What makes a Minion
A/N: Where did Dean get to, anyway?
Disclaimer: Don't own jack. Or Dean, or Faith or any of the rest of 'em. :)
Dean fought his way back to consciousness, head pounding and concrete cold beneath him. He opened his eyes to darkness and bit back a groan. Every part of him was stiff and sore but he wasn’t restrained; nothing holding him back when he rolled onto his side and slowly lifted himself to standing. His head swirled a little and he thought about vomiting, but he stayed on his feet and shuffled forward in the dark, arms outstretched, until he found a wall.
Ten minutes had drew a mental map of the room- one locked door, no windows he could reach, no light outside. Four walls, no furniture; the room felt like a cell. It would have been okay- well, not okay, but manageable- if Dean had been able to shake the feeling that he was being watched. In the darkness, his paranoia might be rising to new heights but it didn’t feel like that. It felt as if there was something in the dark with him.
“Is there someone there?” He felt almost stupid, hearing his own voice echo a little. There was no response. “Guess not.” Not someone willing to talk to him anyway- but on the Hellmouth, who knew? There could be a dozen angry spirits in the room and he wouldn’t have been surprised. His weapons were gone- he’d known that the second he woke up and couldn’t feel the blade against his ankle- but John Winchester hadn’t raised any idiots and Dean had lock picks hidden in the seam of his jacket. Some in the seams of his jeans, too, but not the pair he was wearing, unfortunately. A few minutes liberated the picks and he made his way back to the door, stepping carefully. The last thing he wanted to do was trip over his own feet and knock himself out head-butting the door. His head alright hurt quite enough, thanks. He wasn’t going to sit around talking to air when he could make a run for it. Hopefully.
The lock was old and rusting and it took him longer than it should have to open it- but it was dark, he was injured and had been kidnapped, so getting it open at all was a win. The hallway beyond was faintly lit, light spilling through gaps in the door-frame at the end of the hall. Some light was better than none and Dean moved silently in the hallway, checking each of the other rooms. All cells, all unlocked, all empty. That was surprisingly comforting- rescuing a bunch of civilians would have been far more difficult than just trying to get away. He brushed away the worry that his dad was hurt, or worse, and continued to the end of the hallway. Whoever had left him in there, must not have been expecting any trouble because there were no guards on the door that he could see.
As quietly as he could, he eased the door open and slipped through. He focused on keeping his breathing steady and hoped that he was the only one who could hear the pulse beating in his head; his wound was itchy, pulsing to the beat of his heart. He knew, too, that any of the nastier inhabitants of the Hellmouth would smell his blood from a mile away- he needed to get out of there, and fast, or he’d be dinner. Or worse- he’d be rescued. He hated needing to be rescued.
There was no room beyond, but stairs and Dean wondered briefly if he should stay at the bottom and wait. Would it be safer to try and lay in wait, weaponless, or make his way up there, weaponless? His head throbbed once and behind him there was the quiet snick of a door closing and he shivered. Paranoia or not, he wasn’t going back into the dark with (maybe) something that might kill him. Decision made, he climbed the stairs cautiously but quickly, not willing to wait for something to come along and spot him. His body was pressed tight against the wall and the cold was seeping into his bones. Whatever this place was, they clearly hadn’t bothered with heating it in a long, long time. The light, meager that it was, came from candles lining the walls and that almost made the Hunter stop in his tracks to laugh- seriously? Candles? Someone was polishing the cliché stick around here.
He was almost starting to get hopeful when he made it down the hall and started seeing windows again- blacked out, boarded up windows, but at least it meant he was likely above ground and if he could find something to stand on, he could get out and get gone, right? Of course, that was about the time that his luck changed and he found out just who had taken him.
“Huh. I really thought that you’d be dead by now. Interesting.” Dean spun, instinctively falling into a defensive stance. The vampire facing him was well-dressed, appeared mid-thirties and his smirk made Dean want to punch him. Well, to be fair, Dean probably would have wanted to punch him anyway because, you know, vampire. Plus, he really did seem surprised to see the Hunter alive which was another tick in the ‘there’s a creepy thing in the basement’ box. Dean decided to count that as a win because it meant he hadn’t been hallucinating. That was good news- it meant his concussion wasn't as bad as he'd thought it was.
“Yeah, well, bigger and nastier things than you have tried.” The vampire grinned and stepped a little closer. Dean was tensed, ready for a fight, until he saw the other three vamps behind him. He was good, no doubt about it, but he couldn’t take four vamps unarmed and injured. Maybe he would need that rescue after all.
“I have no doubt. You Hunters don’t seem to understand self-preservation.” Dean actually laughed, shocking himself. He was still alive, wasn’t he? “Though you are young for a Hunter- let me guess… you had a little girlfriend killed by a nasty demon and now you’ve vowed revenge on the underworld?” Dean could hear the sneer but ignored it and just shrugged.
“Something like that.”
“So, you’ve gone up against a monster or two and think you’re ready to face the Hellmouth? Silly boy. I almost feel sorry for you- ten, twenty years from now, with some experience under your belt, you might have been a worthy foe.” Dean was kinda used to be underestimated, but it wasn’t usual for the bad guys to monologue about it. He rolled his eyes and sneered back at the vamp, employing John Winchester scowl number three with the sole aim of pissing the vamp off.
“Why not let me go, and I’ll come back for you when I’m more seasoned?” The vampires laughed and Dean suppressed a shiver. Creatures that laughed when they talked about eating him for dinner were capital F freaky.
“I like you, kid.” The vamp stepped closer. “My name is Mr. Trick and I think the boss will appreciate you. You have… spunk.” Dean caught himself before making a dirty joke, knowing it wouldn’t be well received. Whatever else this guy was, he was a poser, playing at civilized and mannered, even though Dean could see the blood staining his suit. He’d fed, and recently, and Dean could only hope that it wasn’t on his father’s blood. “Grab him, boys, and the boss might even let us play with his insides when he’s finished.”
Dean knew exactly who the boss had to be, and he’d read enough of the reference texts to know exactly what Kakistos did to his victims. His eyes slid over the two vampires approaching him, calculating his odds. He’d rather go down fighting than be tortured to insanity, and he’d rather escape than go down fighting. Lefty was armed- a short dagger that wouldn’t be much use against four vampires, so Dean ignored it- and Righty was holding an unlit wooden torch like a club. Dumbasses. All of them. He could smell the kerosene from four feet away. He moved quickly- feinting left and then spinning right, snapping a kick into Righty’s groin and snatching the torch in one move.
The candles lining the walls had never seemed so far away, but Dean made it in two strides, thrusting the torch behind him and keeping his eyes on the vampires. Trick looked amused and the other three looked furious, striding forward with the typical minion strut and Dean felt the rush of heat and air that signaled his torch was alight and he let himself grin. In the shadow of fire, with blood marring his features and the torch reflecting in his gaze, he looked… menacing. Every inch the Hunter, and the approaching vampires slowed, just enough.
Goddamn, but minions were dumb as rocks- they came at him all together, sure, but so close together that they got in one anothers way and by the time Righty realized he was on fire, Lefty had the other end of the torch stabbed through his heart. The middle one took stock carefully and stayed out of arm’s reach, darting in and jabbing punches at Dean’s torso and a kick to his knee that left the Hunter on his back, his leg aching. The torch went spinning away and Dean braced himself for the end, teeth baring down on his neck as he struggled to stand, scrabbling for the torch or for Lefty’s dagger or for anything at all that he could use as a weapon, but to no avail. He was one man- they were vampires (admittedly stupid) and he couldn’t hope to win without the element of surprise on his side, could he?
He swung his elbow as the vampire descended, just connecting with the vamp’s teeth, and he could feel the hot rush of blood on his arm; he couldn’t feel the pain- what was a scratch when his knee was aching and his head was pounding? Lucky strike or not, the vampire was distracted for a moment; a flash of hunger in his eyes as he licked the blood from his fangs with an inhuman grin. The chance was small; miniscule, even, but Dean took it- striking up, hard and fast, with the dagger and opening the vamp’s throat in a practiced motion. It fell back, trying to scream, and Dean lunged, driving the dagger into its throat and pushing as hard as he could, down and to the side.
Winchester luck normally sucked- there was no denying it- but when it came to life-or-death struggles, sometimes it struck gold and this was one of those times. Buoyed by adrenaline and desire to not die, the dagger sliced through flesh and muscle and the blood leaking onto him slowed and stopped as the vamp turned to ash. It was slow and agonizing, but Dean could barely see it. He just knew the weight on top of him was gone and he forced himself to stand, eyes blurry with blood and dust and dizziness, and face Trick. The vampire was clapping and Dean tightened his grip on the dagger and swallowed, blinking twice to clear his vision.
“Maybe you’re not as useless as you look, kid. I like that in a mortal. How’d you feel about becoming one of us, huh? Hunter-trained vamps make for the best minions.” Trick smiled blandly, hands clasped in front of him, standing at a safe distance. Dean kept the wall at his back and coughed a laugh, shaking his head almost sadly.
“Hate to break it to you dude, but I’m no-one’s minion.”
And then the Hunter cast his eyes over Trick’s shoulder and raised one blood-covered eyebrow. The last thing that Mr. Trick ever saw was the Hunter’s questioning expression. He didn’t have time to turn and see who was behind him before the torch was thrust into his back. He looked surprised as he died; eyes wide and mouth open. The last thing he heard was someone behind him, growling.