What makes Escape
Disclaimer: Don't own SPN or BTVS.
Wide, dark eyes stared out at him and Dean felt a shiver run across his spine. She said something, but he couldn't hear her through the door. All he could do was stare back, trying to relax and not frighten her. He heard Crawford coming back, the nurse with him, and he looked away finally to watch the doctor approach.
"Bo is having some trouble with the security feed. He said that he video from last night seems to be on a loop- we have no proof that those men were ever here." Clever watchers. Dean was almost impressed. He frowned, though, looking worried for the doctor's sake. The nurse, whose name-tag identified her as Caroline, looked worried, too.
"No one has noticed anything out of the ordinary, according to the logs, but we've been understaffed this week because of the virus." She looked worried. "But I'm sure someone would have noticed if anyone tried to gain access to this floor." Dean just nodded and thanked her, hoping that she'd go back to her desk, but she pulled out the door key instead. "Deputy Director Crawford said you'd like to speak with Dana? It's hospital policy that no female patient is alone with a male employee or visitor at any time, so I'll be in there with you both." She brushed by them both and opened the door without looking inside. Dean held his breath, anxious, but he needn't have- Dana was on her bed, her eyes open and staring, but the straps were in place.
He shook his head, confused, but took it in stride, following the doctor and nurse into the room.
"Dana, this is Agent Bonham. He'd like to have a few words with you, if that's okay?" The nurse spoke slowly and calmly, even as she moved the visitor's chair to the edge of the bed and motioned Dean forward to take a seat.
"Hi Dana, my name is John." Her eyes narrowed, as if she knew he was lying. He wouldn't put it past her- Slayers had some nifty powers. "The director might not like me telling you this, but there are people coming for you." Behind him, Crawford tensed and grabbed at his shoulder, but Dana just blinked. After a few tense moments, the doctor relaxed, though Dean heard him grumbling under his breath. "I'm not going to let them hurt you, okay? I swear, I won't let them take you." He met her gaze, startled by the intensity he saw there. She might be crazy, and she might have been locked in a small room for years, but she was far from stupid. Crawford said she didn't react much and spent a lot of her time drugged up, but Dean couldn't see that in her eyes.
Instead, he could see Slayer. He could see strength and power and what it took to survive in a world that had forgotten about you. She had what Faith had, whatever that was. He felt a warmth of something in his chest, but tried to squash it. She wasn't his sister. She wasn't Faith. He had to remember that.
He wasn't quite sure what to do next- he wanted to get her out of here and get her away from the Watchers, but maybe she'd be safer here, now, with the staff informed? Or would that be worse, now that they knew? He cursed himself quietly, wishing that he'd brought back-up with him. His father or Bobby would be really useful about now. Even Doyle would have been great- but he was glad Angel had never made it inside. The hallways had mirrors on every corner and Caroline was wearing a cross around her neck. As much as he wanted the girl out, he wasn't willing to risk Angel. He was thinking, waiting for inspiration to strike, when Dana made his decision for him.
"Brother?" Dean startled, though he wouldn't admit to it later. The medical staff jumped, too, surprised to hear their patient talking. She almost never talked and when she did, it never made any sense.
"No, Dana. This is Agent Bonham, not Tommy."
"Not Tommy." She repeated, agreeing. "Dean." There was no change in her tone; nothing to indicate that she even knew what she'd said, but Dean felt the blood drain from his face. How the hell did she know who he was? He forced himself to raise a questioning eyebrow at the doctor, who could only shrug. She'd never spoken of anyone else in all the time she'd been with them.
Dean wondered if the Slayer being called had woken the girl. Was that possible? Hell if he knew.
"Dana, how are you feeling?" Crawford leaned in close, using a penlight to check her pupil response. Dean wondered why- the girl was obviously lucid. Ish. Well, maybe it was more obvious to him because he knew who Dean was.
"Strong." She grinned, a half-terrifying smile. Crawford didn't seem to notice, moving his hand to her neck to check her pulse. Behind him, the nurse was noting something on a clipboard.
"Do you remember who I am, Dana?" He'd said that he'd been seeing her for years, but she only sometimes knew who he was.
"Yes." She didn't sound sure though and when the doctor stepped back and out of the way, the girl's eyes met Dean's and he was reminded once again of his sister, years younger and hiding in a dirty, smelly apartment in Southie. "Doctor." That seemed to satisfy him and he moved back fully, conferring with the nurse about dosages and medications and other crap that Dean didn't really understand.
She was conscious; she was lucid, and she was definitely aware. Whatever Slayer mojo had been injected into her was keeping her up at night, he knew. Maybe she'd even been waiting- if her dreams were anything like Faith's, then she might have been expecting him. He hadn't anticipated that.
"Do you want to sit up?" He asked, reaching forward to the restraints, ready to let her go. But he didn't need to- she sprang up on her own, leaping past him to Crawford and forcing the doctor down onto her bed. With her other hand, she grasped Caroline by the neck and forced her to her knees.
"Leave now?" Dean, half-standing, registered it as a question, aimed directly at him. He forced himself to stand properly and looked down at Crawford. The man looked confused, but not afraid. He didn't know that there was any reason for him to be afraid.
"Yeah, Dana. We're leaving now." He reached over and took Crawford's radio, smashing it against the wall, and returned to snag the doctor's I.D. Crawford protested, but Dana had closed the door and Dean knew that no-one would hear him calling out.
"I'm sorry, doc, I really am. But you heard the girl- we've gotta go. She's been here long enough." Dean tied the doctor down quickly, trapping his arms in the hand restraints before moving slowly toward Dana. He reached out, taking Caroline by the shoulder, and tugged the woman from the Slayer's grip.
"You can't do this, John, she's not ready to face the world! She could seriously hurt herself. Or someone else! She's dangerous." He was pleading, and Dean had to give him kudos for trying. Caroline remained silent, tears snaking down her cheeks.
"I'm really sorry." He took her radio, too, and her I.D. and secured her hands in the leg restraints. The angle was awkward and looked uncomfortable, but he hoped she wouldn't be there for long. "Dana, I need you to wait here until I call you, okay?" She nodded, eyes bright and watching his every move. Dean made his way out of the room- the cell- and down the hallway to the nurse's station. The lone security guard, turned to watch his approach, cheerfully unaware of what had just happened.
"Hey, Larry. Can you pull up the logs on the computer here? Caroline said that no-one had reported anything strange, but I'd like to take a look for myself." The man nodded and turned, and Dean hoped he didn't feel any pain when he used the butt of his gun to knock him out. His I.D. and radio made it into Dean's pocket and the Hunter called out for Dana to join him.
She was quick and quiet and when he glanced up from behind the nurse's station- Larry, bound hand and feet and out of sight,- she was standing over him. Her shoulders hunched forward a little and her white hospital scrubs just made her look younger than she was. And she was looking at him with such friggin' hope in her eyes… how the hell did these things happen to him, anyway?
"Why do you trust me so much, kid?" Because he'd finally realized why she reminded him of Faith- the look she was leveling his way was completely trusting; almost awed and even thankful. He hadn't seen it from Faith in a long time, but he remembered it.
"Dean good. Kill bad things. Heart, head. Sister strong, like Dana. Say Dean good. Good brother." Her words were muddled, but the meaning seemed clear. Ish.
"Can you get dressed? You need to put these on." He'd found the nurse's scrubs and coat behind the desk and his heart was in his throat as she nodded. She stripped in the open, not even trying to hide herself. Dean caught a single glimpse of her scar-littered torso before he turned his head away. She dressed quickly and he was relieved to see that she looked closer to her actual age in blue scrubs. The coat was a little big on her and she had no shoes, but it would have to do. "Let's go." He remembered to swipe her file from the top of the nurse's station, tucking the large packet into the inside of his coat. He didn't want to, but he thought he should probably read it.
He used Crawford's I.D. to get them to the stairwell, instructing Dana to keep her head down and her face hidden from the security cameras. The last thing he wanted to do was fight his way past the security guards. They found a staff room on the second floor and he found her some shoes, though they didn't quite fit, and she shoved her feet into them happily. She didn't talk and she was happy to follow him and do as he asked, and Dean could only wait for the other penny to drop. It couldn't be this easy. Not that it had been easy- he was sweating and stressed and Christ but he'd kill someone for a strong drink, but… she'd come with him willingly.
That notion had never even crossed his mind- in every scenario he'd thought of, she'd been unwilling, or unable, to follow him. This girl, dancing along behind him in an almost-carefree manner, taking the stairs two at a time and smiling, was nothing like he'd expected.
They reached the ground floor in what must have been only minutes but it felt like days. He'd parked just outside the front door, but he couldn't risk taking her that way- instead, they made their way through darkened hallways, searching for an emergency exit. There was one, far at the back, and Dana watched, intrigued, as Dean tried to pick the padlock in the dark, using the wrong tools and with his hands trembling. Seriously, who padlocked an emergency exit?
"Dammit." He cursed, resisting the urge to shoot the frigging lock. Taking a deep breath, he moved to try again, only to find Dana's hand blocking his way.
"Dana strong." She reminded him, her tone almost scolding. With a single twist of her wrist, she snapped the lock from the chain, the door opened and they were free.
Seeing her standing there, her stolen coat gleaming in the orange light of the parking lot as she took a deep breath of fresh, night air, Dean felt his stomach clench tight. He'd felt like this once before, when he'd met Faith for the first time. As if the world were shifting and changing around him; he stood from the lock, dizzy, and ploughed forward through the doorway.
"Wait, Dana." She stopped moving immediately, spinning around to face him, the coat swirling around her. It was long and made of a heavy material, dark against the light blue scrubs. It looked good on her, he noticed, if a little big. But she was young- she'd grow, maybe. He could already tell that she wouldn't be giving it up. He smiled at her, trying to ease his own concern. "I have to do this so that the Watchers can't find you, okay? They're not going to be good to you if they do."
He'd known that the second he'd met her- the Watchers couldn't rely on broken things, and Dana was definitely broken. All that was holding her together was the Slayer, he thought, and he wasn't sure how much of the girl was even left. Quickly, and reassuring her that it was okay because she looked alarmed, he sliced his arm with the knife from his boot and watched the blood well up in the cut. And, from memory, traced the familiar sigil on her forehead.
When he finished, her smile was beatific, and she leaned forward into his personal space, breathing deeply.
"Brother." She sounded relieved, almost.
Huh. How did these things always happen to him, exactly?
Faith was alone again, the desert stretched out around her for miles. The sun was beating down, but she didn't feel the heat. If anything, she was cold, but it wasn't uncomfortable. The other girl was gone, had disappeared in a flash. But she'd done that before, too, and she'd always come back.
She squeezed her eyes shut and took a deep breath, ignoring the echoing sound of Sam's voice; she couldn't reach him. She couldn't find him in the desert and she wasn't even sure that he was really here. How could he be? She wasn't even really here, was she?
She could feel her hope fading- she'd been here for so long, now, hadn't she? Was this it? Was there nowhere else for her to go? Her stomach clenched as she refused the idea that this was hell. She knew she wasn't dead yet; she could tell. Sometimes, she could almost feel her body; almost feel cold cotton under her fingertips and something lodged uncomfortably in her throat. Almost. So she knew she wasn't dead. Or was that part of hell, too, letting her think that there was a chance that she could get out, and never actually getting there?
It certainly wasn't heaven, anyway. Not that she really believed that heaven would take her- she was too broken. She liked the fight too much. She wasn't like her brothers, and her dad, and anytime she'd thought about it, she'd always imagined that when the end came, she'd end up in purgatory, maybe, like Fr. Jessop in the old neighbourhood used to tell her she would. A lost soul, he used to say. Of course, he'd meant that drugs, drinking and petty crime would be her end: she'd never told him about the rest. She'd never been able to tell anyone, not until Dean had saved her.
In the desert, she let herself fall to the ground, exhausted. It was hard, being here. Draining; reliving all the crap and trouble she'd ever been in; thinking and rethinking and over-thinking. She could rest, just for a minute, couldn't she? She was alone- there was nothing here to guard against but herself.
"Faith?" Her head snapped up and she was glad she was sitting when she saw who was speaking- standing two, maybe three, feet away, was a tall, blonde woman, dressed in jeans and a simple shirt and smiling warmly.
"Mary?" She was as familiar with the pictures of Mary Winchester as the boys were. She used to take them from Dean and imagine Mary as her mother instead of her own. She'd shared that thought with Sam, once. He'd just smiled and told her that he did it, too. The woman nodded and, still smiling, sank to the ground next to her, close enough to touch.
"I can't stay for long, but I need you to listen to me, okay?" Faith nodded, wordless. She didn't know what to say; this wasn't her mother, no matter what she might wish. "You have a job to do, Faith. You and Dana- you've been chosen for something special. I don't know what it is, but I can tell you that you're going to make it out of here, okay?"
"Okay." Could she believe that? How the hell had Mary even gotten here? Where the hell was here? "I guess that's what being the Slayer is, right?" The Chosen One(s).
"Sort of, but not just being the Slayer. This is about being a Winchester, too. You and Dana need to protect my boys- they have things to do, and they need to be alive to do them." She was already doing that, so no biggie. She said as much and Mary's smile widened.
"I know, sweetie. You've always done your best." The blonde woman reached out, running her hand across the top of Faith's head and down her face to rest lightly on her cheek. The hand was warm, and Faith could feel herself blushing, embarrassed. She wasn't sure why.
"How do you know? How did you get here?"
"I know because I dreamed it, Faith. When I was alive, I was like you. I could have been a Slayer. I was never Called, but I still had the dreams, sometimes." The older woman glanced around at the sand and sky and her grin faded. "This is her place; the first Slayer. When I was alive, I dreamed myself here, talking to you."
Faith couldn't explain the rush of warmth in her belly; a feeling of kinship that she hadn't felt with Buffy. Mary Winchester had been like her. She'd been like her.
"What killed you?" She was horrified to hear her voice cracking, thick with emotion.
"The same thing that killed you, sweetie, and for the same reason. They want to stop my sons from saving the world."
"What are they?" She couldn't remember what had happened to her; something had grabbed her from behind, maybe, but when she tried, all she could recall was the scent of forest pine and snow.
"Demons. And they won't stop until they get what they're after." Mary's face was serious; calm but forceful. "You need to find a way out of here and get back to your family. They need you." Faith knew, better than anyone, that the Winchester men couldn't lose another woman to the same monster- it would destroy them.
"I will, I swear. I'll look after them for you." She'd look after them for herself, too. She needed them more than anyone could know.
"I know you will." The woman leaned forward, pressed a kiss to Faith's forehead the same way John always did, and the girl's eyes fluttered shut, feeling a rush of warmth washing over her. Was this what it felt like to have a mother?
When her eyes opened again, Mary Winchester was gone and the desert was empty around her, once more. For the first time since she'd woken here, what felt like years ago, Faith let herself cry- not in pain, or fear, or anger, but because there was hope swelling in her chest.