What makes a Future
Disclaimer: I don’t own Angel, BTVS or SPN, and Metallica own the song ‘Nothing Else Matters’, which I’ve quoted lyrics from.
A/N: OMG. Another chapter. Colour yourself lucky. ;)
“I swear, if anyone finds out I’ve done this, I’ll kick your ass so hard that your grandmother will feel it.” The bar was dark and it was past closing time- the Host had taken one look at him and kicked the rest of his clientele out.
Dean really didn’t want to know what that signaled, but there he was, waiting for the demon to give him some kind of signal that he was ready. The green guy was kinda cool and he’d given them a round of drinks on the house, even, so Dean was feeling charitable. Plus, the guy was all smiley and cheery and Dean was certain he could take him- even half drunk and half grief-stricken.
Or half-drunk and completely grief stricken, if you want to get technical, but he was in the company of a Seer and a psychic (and Angel), so he didn’t need to say anything. They already knew.
“Honey, my grandmother would eat you for breakfast- literally- and complain that you weren’t tough enough.” Dean almost laughed, because, seriously? This
guy had family like that? But the Host looked serious, so Dean bit back his snort. He shot an amused look at Angel though, and the Vampire was smiling, too. “I gotta lock up and then we’ll do this thing, okay? Make yourselves at home.” Dean watched as he retreated, keys jingling as he walked, before turning his attention back to Doyle.
Doyle, it turned out, was more than happy to take advantage of the other demon’s hospitality- he’d nabbed the bottle of scotch from behind the bar as soon as the Host had announced he was closing.
“I haven’t been at a Lock-in since college.” Doyle grinned, downing what was left in his glass and refilling. “Those were the days- no visions to worry about; no clan drama; nothing to do but pretend I was studying and drink myself into oblivion.” Dean couldn’t help but laugh, just a little. The Seer was trying to cheer him up- he could tell. It was almost annoying that it was working.
There was another benefit, too- Dean hadn’t known that Angel was originally Irish, but it seemed that the Seer did, and he was happy to tell story after story about the mother-country. Angel listened, wide-eyed. The little guy was pretty good at getting people to like him- even Hunters who should know better and the post-hell crazy Vampire.
“Okay, sweet-cheeks, I’m ready when you are.” Lorne dragged a stool to the end of their booth and sat down, sea-breeze in hand. He looked relaxed and calm, but there was a tense energy in the air around him. Dean was pretty sure that Doyle had already warned the guy what to expect- and, in fairness, from what Doyle said it was pretty bad. A little warning was fair, between friends.
Oh, god. Was he really thinking of these people as his friends? He needed to stop drinking on the job. Or stop having earth-shattering revelations made to him around friendly demons, maybe.
“I just have to sing, right? Anything specific?”
Lorne shrugged, waving his free hand in the air.
“Whatever moves you- it’s easier for me if you give it your all, though.” That made sense, he supposed. The more you invest, the more you get back, right?
“Uh, okay. I haven’t done this in public… ever. So, yeah, sorry if I suck.” He hunched a little into his seat, took one final swig from his beer, and sang.
“So close, no matter how far,” Metallica, of course- if he had to sing, he was gonna sing a bad-ass song, “Couldn’t be much more from the heart,” Eat that, Lorne. “Forever trust in who we are,” Because he was a Winchester
, dammit, and that meant something. “And nothing else matters.” He was just getting into it- getting to the chorus, in fact, when Lorne raised one hand to stop him.
“Okay, that’s enough! I don’t need any more!” He hadn’t paled or anything but he sounded shaken and he finished his drink in one swallow.
“Damn. I didn’t think I was that
bad.” He forced levity into his voice and it worked, a little, to lighten the mood. Doyle had already dropped the big bombshell- demon deals; Slayer bodyguard; something he was supposed to do sometime that made someone think he was the shit.
“You have a lovely voice, kiddo, but honestly, I am not a metal fan.”
They fell silent, waiting, and giving Lorne time to gather his thoughts. Doyle could (and did) sympathize- from what he’d seen, and from what he’d already told Dean, the future was painful and hard.
“First off- there’s a lot of blank spots. Someone, or something, is blocking me from seeing a lot of what’s out there for you.” Doyle nodded- that’s what he’d felt, too. Something was stopping him from seeing the big picture. “Secondly, whoever is behind this has some serious juju at their disposal- splitting the Slayer line has never been done before. There have never
been two Slayers before, so you’ve gotta be careful, kid. Whoever is guiding the Slayer is guiding you- so if she dreams something, you listen
.” Dean could only nod- he’d always listened to Faith and he’d always trusted her dreams. He didn’t like the idea that they were coming from someone, or something, with an agenda, but they were saving people and killing demons- that was his job.
“And you’re definitely important, kid. That much is crystal clear. Your mom made a deal with the Yellow-Eyed Demon that your father has been hunting and I don’t know what he got out of it but… You and your brother- you two are gonna do something that’ll change the world.” Dean noted the significant lack of Faith in that sentence. Sammy and him, but not Faith? Something in his gut clenched.
“And my sister?” He was terrified to hear the answer.
“She’ll be there too but whatever they want you for, the Slayers are playing second fiddle.” The relief was instant; washing over him in a wave and Dean let his head fall into his hands, scrubbing his face to clear any embarrassing emotion.
“Any idea how to get her out of her freaking coma? And what attacked her in the first place?”
Doyle frowned, holding up his hands and waving them around to catch everyone’s attention.
“Wait, wait, wait- your sister was attacked? But she’s been in that hospital for years. I thought a human drove her crazy?” Dean blinked, confused.
“No… my sister was attacked a few weeks ago. She’s in a hospital in Montana, in a coma. The girl in the hospital is the new Slayer.” He didn’t like revealing it- not when the Council thought Faith was dead- but they’d have figured that out alone anyway. Seer. Psychic. He couldn’t hide much.
Lorne and Doyle shared a loaded glance and Dean didn’t like it. What the hell did they know that he didn’t?
“Dean, the new Slayer… She’s important, too. She’s part of this.” Yeah, okay, he kinda wished they hadn’t told him. He could suddenly see where this was going and he really didn’t like it.
“But she’s not my sister- what about Faith?” He pushed away the thought of the poor, crazy, Slayer, and glared directly at Lorne instead.
“If you want to save Faith, you’re going to have to save this girl, too. The Watchers Council won’t leave her there forever- a crazy Slayer is a useless Slayer.” Dean didn’t need it explained. He knew what the Council were capable of. He knew all too well.
“Save the girl; save Faith… and then what?” Lorne shrugged, apologetic.
“That’s all I’ve got for now, kid. Save the Slayers, so they can keep you alive until you do whatever it is you gotta do.”
That was just… a giant ball of suck. Dean said as much, slamming his fist against the table-top and rocking it enough that Doyle’s drink spilled a little.
“How the hell am I supposed to do that?! Not to mention, what the hell am I supposed to do with her if I do
get her out? You said she’s been in there for years- she’s gotta be buckets of nuts to be locked up for that long! Not to forget that she’s a Slayer
and therefore completely capable of breaking me in half!”
Silence fell; Doyle contemplated his drink as Lorne stared at the ground. For all they’d seen, they couldn’t predict how to manage a crazy Slayer.
“She’s not just a Slayer. She’s a girl, too, and she’s been trapped in there for a long time.” Dean startled; surprised. Angel's voice was rough; tired from lack of use. “And if anyone can help her come back to herself, it’s you. You know how.”
Son of a bitch.
“You think?” It wasn’t completely appropriate, but Dean was so proud he wanted to cry.
“I know. You’ve done it for me, haven’t you?”
Angel; Angelus; Liam; whatever his name was, smiled and ducked his head, almost embarrassed, and the Hunter felt something swell in his chest that he’d been missing since they’d seen the hospital.
“Damn right, dude. We can do this.” He had no other choice. Besides, if a hell-crazed vampire could crawl back to sanity from wherever he’d been trapped, then surely a human girl could do the same? “I can do this.” The words bolstered him a little; settled him in his seat and suddenly, he was eager for action. He could get his sister back- all he had to do was get into that hospital and get the girl out. Cake.
“Okay, let’s do this. We’ve gotta get the jump on those Council bitches.” The Council were the priority- they were the ones most likely to either hurt the girl or take her away and he couldn’t afford either scenario.
Faith was on the line, here, and he’d be damned if he didn’t do everything in his power to save her.
He didn’t know, but it was exactly that train of thought that led Mary Winchester to making a deal with a demon, years before. Sitting around a table with three of them, Dean didn’t even wonder about the irony. He had a job to do and determination hardened and settled in his belly.
He was a Winchester, dammit, and he was going to do what he did best- save people. Hunt things. He’d be damned if he was going to let her down.
Sam stared at the glass in his hand, repulsed. The liquid within was kinda yellow and viscous… like jello that was just starting to set. And it had a hunk of Faith’s hair in it, too, which was gross.
“Sammy, if you don’t want to do this we can find another way.” His dad meant it, too, which was enough to make Sam square his shoulders, take a deep breath and drink it all down in one swallow. He almost choked at the taste; gagging a little and praying that he wouldn’t vomit. Bobby only had so much of the dream-root; they couldn’t afford to have him vomit it up. Stop being a little bitch, Sam. You’ve gotta do this
. The voice in his head sounded strangely like Dean and he wished, suddenly, that he’d been able to talk to his brother before doing this.
But they didn’t have time. The doctors were saying that Faith’s body was never going to wake up. They wanted to take her off the ventilator; take her off life-support.
Sam had to do this, and he had to wake her up- there was no question. She was tough; she would be okay. She just needed some help, maybe.
He swallowed hard, pushing back down the bile that was creeping up his throat.
“That was gross.” His dad smiled sadly and wrapped one strong arm around Sam’s shoulder.
“I’m proud of you, Sammy. Now you just need to go to sleep and when you dream, you should be where Faith is.” They were pretty sure she was trapped in her own mind, and Sam knew there were enough crap things in Faith’s mind to keep her trapped in there forever.
She’d never told him, exactly, what her life had been like before she’d been with them. Hell, Sam barely remembered what it had been like before they found her. But she’d said enough, and he’d heard her screams in the night-time often enough to know that there was some seriously heavy shit. He could imagine the rest; he didn’t need the details.
“Be careful in there Sammy. You’re gonna see things you don’t want to and there’s gonna be some scary shit, okay, but you’ve gotta remember that anything that you see in there has already happened. You can’t change it, and Faith isn’t there anymore, okay?” And jeez, they should have had this conversation before he drank the dream-juice because Sam was suddenly convinced that he couldn’t do this.
“Dad, I don’t know if I’m the right one for this. You should do it. Or Dean, maybe.” Dean wouldn’t fuck it up; Dean wouldn’t be so afraid of what he might find. John’s arm tightened around his shoulder and Sam curled into the embrace, just a little.
“You can do this, Sammy. I wouldn’t have let you drink it if I didn’t think that.” And John sounded certain, too, which was almost enough to squeeze down the panic in his throat. “Take care of yourself in there and look out for your sister, okay?”
Look out for Faith. He could do that. He’d been doing it for years, long before she was a Slayer. He blinked slowly, eyes heavy, and barely noticed his dad lying him down on the bed. Look after your sister
. Dean wasn’t here, but Sam could do it, just this once. Look after your sister.
She was waiting for him, wasn’t she? She needed him to come and get her. His eyelids sank shut and blackness; never-ending darkness, claimed him.
This wasn’t sleep.
This wasn’t a dream.
This was empty and alone, and Sam couldn’t see or hear Faith anywhere. Faith!
In his head, the word echoed and echoed and bounced back to him from a thousand directions and Sam spun ‘round, trying to catch it. Trying to find something; anything, that resembled anything that he recognised.
But there was nothing- empty space and cold, empty air. Sam shivered, wrapping his arms around himself, trying to keep himself together. It was difficult- there was so much space
and he was so small in it all.
Where was she? Where was she hiding?Faith! Where are you?
He wished his father was there- John would know what to do. He always did. Even when Sam didn’t agree with him, John always had an idea. Brother.
Sam spun, shielding his eyes from the sudden light. You are not my brother.
She was crouched and dirty; hair matted and her skin painted crudely.
She was not his sister, but part of him recognised her, all the same. Slayer?
The woman’s eyes flashed and the light flared and suddenly there was desert where there had been darkness; an endless stretch of red sand and blue sky.You are not my brother. But you are like him.
She was watching him carefully; cautiously. Considering. I have no brothers now.Faith is my sister. Do you know where she is? I’ve come to get her out of here.
Wherever here was. He blinked against the light and watched the Slayer watch him.
Silence stretched between them and Sam felt the sweat building on his forehead and across his back. The air was hot and dry and he was already thirsty; the taste of dream-root in his mouth was acrid and he felt tired, though he knew he was sleeping. She is not here. She is with the other.The other?
The other what? Another version of Faith? Another part of her, somewhere in her mind? The Slayer seemed to know his thoughts, because she laughed and he could see her teeth.
Some of them were filed to points and he winced. They are bound. There should not be another.
Sam could only blink and watch as she approached him, sniffing the air and staring at him. Soon I shall be free to rejoin my brothers and then there will be none.
He couldn’t pretend to understand any
of that. What the hell?Where’s Faith?
He needed to find her; quickly. He was too warm and he could feel his body slipping toward wakefulness. The sun began to dim and he could see the Slayer’s teeth gleaming in the darkness. You can’t have her. Give her to me! She’s my sister! She doesn’t belong to you!
He fought against the pull of waking, but he couldn’t win that battle- the Slayer was laughing at him, amusement clear in her eyes and her smile.She is not yours, child of Cain. Begone.
And he woke, clutching his chest and wiping away furious tears. His father, standing over him, didn’t look disappointed or angry. He looked sad; heartbroken and sad.
That was worse.