Sometimes all you need is one good swing...
Image by the illustrious Christytrekkie from her story Fanart, Fear Not The MultiverseDisclaimer: this story belongs to me. The characters and the universes of Supernatural, Stargate, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel belong to other much richer people. No copyright infringement is intended. The story and all original characters and situations that may appear belong to me and may not be used without my express written permission and credit.
Note 1: This takes place during season five of Angel. It is set in episode one of an AU version of Supernatural. For Stargate... somewhere before SG-1 gets its personnel change.
It doesn't really reference any specific episodes of any of the series so far, though it will probably affect Supernatural's chronology significantly. It will focus mostly on the lives of Connor, Cassie, Sam and Jessica - at least for now. There may be spoilers for anything we know/learn about these characters and their histories no matter when we learn it in the series as long as it was true at this point in time.
Note 2: You should be able to follow this even if you haven't seen the shows, though certain things will probably resonate more keenly if you have.
The demon was trying to kill Jessica just as Connor and Cassandra returned from the library. As they entered the main door to the house, they heard Jessica scream and without thinking, Connor kicked her apartment door in. Jessica was pinned against the wall, obviously terrified, but unable to break free from some invisible force.
Jessica’s eyes widened as the young man she had only known as the kid who hung out with her upstairs neighbor Cassie, burst into her bedroom. Jessica didn’t know whether to be scared or grateful. She felt a sliver of hope as Connor grabbed a weapon, and the Yellow Eyed demon loosened his invisible grip on her chest enough for her to take a good breath.
The yellow-eyed demon trying to kill Jessica was named Azazel, but he was currently occupying the body of a man Jessica Moore knew as Brady. Brady was a close friend of her boyfriend Sam Winchester, which was the only reason Jessica had let him in at this hour of night. Sadly, Jessica had quickly found out that ‘Brady’ was not what he’d seemed – in fact, when his eyes had suddenly turned yellow, she’d figured out he couldn’t be quite human. When he’d taken control of her body without even touching her, Jessica had been more terrified than she’d ever been in her life.
Inside the dormant Brady, Azazel was surprised by Connor’s interruption, but not terribly worried. He regarded Connor curiously for several seconds and his expression turned from surprise to an evil smile. The boy was human. He was no threat.
For a moment while the demon occupying Brady had been distracted, Jessica had been able to move, but as she did, the demon seemed to remember her and she found her body slowly sliding up the wall, moving simply from the yellow-eyed demon’s gestures. Jessica’s struggles just caused her skin to be abraded by the wall. Jessica had seldom felt this powerless. At nearly six feet tall, Jessica was used to feeling strong – to being
strong and confident. Brady, or whatever this thing was that looked like Brady, had her immobilized with a gesture.
Connor had grabbed the first thing that was near at hand and started toward the demon. The demon grinned at him, since what Connor held was a metal tennis racquet, which wasn’t much of a weapon. The demon threw his hand up, and Connor felt a pressure in his chest, but unlike Jessica, it wasn’t enough to stop Connor moving. He kept advancing and he could see the growing strain and disbelief on the demon’s face. The demon finally let go of Jessica and turned toward Connor, a vicious expression of concentration having replaced the mocking look.
Yellow eyes glared at Connor, but for some reason, Connor wasn’t scared. In fact, this felt oddly familiar. Instinctively, Connor swung his weapon and though he moved fast, it seemed to him almost as if he was moving in slow motion, because the demon never even saw it coming. The force of the blow was enough to decapitate the demon instantly. As Connor’s hand slammed into the neck of the dying demon, the demon’s body began to glow from within, as it seemed to be consumed by a fire from the inside, which showed the fiery outline of the skeleton within, like some kind of demonic X-Ray machine. Brilliant light poured from the eyes, mouth and the ragged neck. Then the light show was over and the body was just dead and still on the floor. The head had rolled several feet away from the force of the blow. There was blood everywhere. Connor stood still, staring down at the body, still clutching the ruined tennis racquet. He seemed to be in shock.
Jessica was shaken by what she’d seen, but quickly realized that Connor wasn’t a threat to her. Her gratitude was instantaneous and heartfelt.
“Thank you. I don’t know how you did that – or what the hell that thing was but thank you!”
Cassie’s reaction was rather different.
“Who the hell are you and what the hell was that, Connor?” Cassie demanded, surveying her friend warily.
He took a step toward her and she took two steps back.
“Cassie! What the fuck?!” said Jessica. “He’s your boyfriend and he just saved my life!”
“I’m aware of that and don’t get me wrong – I’m really grateful, Jess. It’s just… there’s something… I knew there was something off about him… and he’s not
Cassie’s denial came out almost as a snarl. Cassandra Fraiser had seen some very frightening things in her life; things no child should see – things she never wanted to see again. Cassandra herself had once been
something so terrifying; people she knew were trustworthy had viewed her as a threat. All but one of them had left her to die, burying her deep inside the earth in hopes of protecting the planet. Cassandra, therefore, was no stranger to the fearsome or threatening. Now, the man she had given her heart to, the one she had dreams of perhaps building a life with had turned into one of them. She couldn’t explain her reaction and she couldn’t wish it away. For the first time in her life, she understood that choice that her friends had made all those years ago. Even as she denied their relationship, she realized that this was the kind of decision she too might be forced to make. Who or what was Connor Reilly and what did he know? Was he a threat? Could even their friendship survive this? The thoughts poured through her mind in a flood and it was all she could do not to simply shut down.
“Something off about me?” Connor was scared, because he was wondering the very same thing. How had he known how to do that? How had he been strong enough to do it?
“You’re different,” said Cassie, her voice flat, her face almost devoid of expression. “Nobody human could have done that!”
She gestured at the bloody mess on the floor.
“I’m sorry?” said Connor.
Connor was startled by how hostile she seemed – startled and rapidly becoming angry. The reality of the whole thing suddenly hit him. At his feet was a body, minus a head and both he and the ceiling were covered in blood. The head was several feet away and the ruined racquet in his hand looked as if it had been run over by a tank and doused in very bloody ground beef, as did the bloody fist that still gripped the broken weapon.
“I’m sorry Connor… it’s just… I’ve seen things… things I can’t… You know what? Thank you for what you did, but I think you should go,” she gestured toward the door, her expression stony.
Connor stared at her. Her expression didn’t change.
“If that’s what you want,” said Connor sourly, his confusion evident.
“I’m sorry, Connor. I can’t… look, we’ll talk later, OK? I just need to… to take care of Jess…” said Cassie.
“Oh, God! How are we gonna explain this room?” asked an overwhelmed Jessica.
“Wild party?” said Connor, in a weak attempt at humor.
He still stood there because he didn’t really know where to go or what to do.
“Wild party?” echoed Cassie. The words obviously didn’t compute.
“Looks more like a war zone,” said Jessica, soberly.
“Yeah,” said Cassie, her voice sounding hollow and almost distant to her own ears. “It really does.”
Connor and Jessica were still standing there, but Cassie was somewhere else entirely, her eyes open, but obviously not seeing the room around her. Connor and Jessica exchanged a nonplussed look. That was when the broken door was pushed fully open and Jessica’s boyfriend Sam walked in cautiously, dropping his bag by the door when he saw Jessica, the body, the state of the room and Connor’s bloody clothing.
“Oh my god, Jess! What the hell happened?” cried Sam.
He rushed to her side and swept her into his arms. She clung to him for a long moment before pulling away.
“I don’t know exactly, Sam… Brady… or whatever he it was… some… thing… He – it attacked me.”
“What do you mean whatever it was? Something?” Sam echoed, as his gut clenched. “Brady?”
“Well he looked like Brady, but he couldn’t have been. Nothing human could do that!” said Jessica.
“Do what, Jess?” asked Sam. “Tell me exactly what happened.”
Connor had been hovering near the door, not sure what to do. He desperately needed to know just what it was he’d prevented from hurting Jessica. He had no idea who to ask. Something in Sam’s voice made Connor focus on him.
“You know something,” said Connor. “What the hell happened?”
“Weren’t you here?” Sam looked at him suspiciously.
“I heard her scream. I kicked the door in and saw this… man with yellow eyes pinning Jessica against the wall without even touching her. I had to do something.”
“So you decided to kill it with a… shit! Is that my tennis racquet?” asked an incredulous Sam.
“Sorry?” said Connor, realizing he still had the broken racquet in his hand.
He dropped the twisted, bloody metal next to the body, and looked at his hand, again noticing how bloody it was. My god, he thought. I just killed someone… How could… That’s not possible. He was stunned that he didn’t feel more weirded out by what he’d done. He would have thought something like this should shatter him, but he felt no remorse. In fact, he was beginning to realize he was more than all right with what he had done. It had been the right thing to do and that was good enough. Of course, he had no idea how he’d explain it to the cops!
“Don’t worry about it,” said Sam. “What I don’t understand is how you were able to kill it.”
“Yeah, me neither. This isn’t exactly the world’s greatest weapon. Whatever it was, it couldn’t have been human. Not with those eyes and all that fire that came out when I killed it. Even the bones were glowing!”
“No, it’s not much of a weapon. So you really don’t know what that was?” Sam was stunned. Fire? He’d killed the demon, not just the vessel? How was that even possible without a blessed weapon?
Everything he’d heard about the yellow-eyed demon had suggested it was almost impossible to kill. Yet, here was Cassie’s boyfriend and he’d apparently killed it with a tennis racquet! Evidently, he didn’t know anything about demons either. It didn’t make any sense. He needed to call Dean – and maybe his father too.
“Of course not,” said Connor. “I just know it was trying to hurt her. I had to stop that, didn’t I?”
“Thank you,” said Sam, earnestly. “Look, man. You look like… you’ve been in a war. Why don’t you go wash some of that… off. Take a shower. You can borrow some of my sweats or something.”
“He’s got a change of clothes upstairs. I’ll get them,” said Cassie, grateful for an excuse to leave the room.
While Connor showered, Sam called Dean and tried to decide what to do with the very dead body and the very bloody apartment.
Sam and Dean were cleaning up the place with a familiarity that made Jessica really uneasy. Connor had offered to help, but after an exhaustive barrage of some very strange questions, and a bunch of very odd rituals, they’d suggested he head home instead.
“What was that, Cassie?” Jessica asked after Connor left. Cassie was keeping her company while Sam and his brother worked on the clean up. “What’s going on with you and Connor?”
“I’m not sure,” said Cassie. “Don’t you think it’s weird that he’s so… strong?”
“You’re talking to the girl who was just about dead before he came in. I’m kinda past caring how strong he is,” she said. “Past caring how comfortable my boyfriend and his brother seem to be with cleaning up dead bodies and blood.”
“Yeah, I guess,” said Cassie. “Forget it, I’m just overreacting.”
“No, you’re not. You know something,” said Jessica.
“No, just forget it, Jessica… everything… I think maybe I was just being… hysterical,” said Cassie.
Jessica raised an eyebrow but said nothing. Cassie was the most unflappable, least hysterical person she’d ever met. When Jessica had ended up in the lurch at the start of the school year and she’d wound up with a freshman housemate, she’d been afraid that she would be into the usual freshman nonsense – partying and boys, and the kind of frivolity that Jessica had no interest in at this point in her college career. She soon discovered that Cassie studied harder than she did and didn’t date at all. Cassie had been exempted from both freshman English and Math and was taking differential equations and studying math Jessica had never even heard about. Cassie was pre-med, but she was currently working on some type of engineering degree. She wasn’t surprised to discover that Cassie was in college a full two years ahead of schedule. She was also at the top of all her classes. Maybe that was the reason she’d also been exempted from living on campus, though technically, all freshmen were required to live on campus.
Apparently, Cassie’s mother had vetoed the idea of her coming the previous year because she’d felt Cassie was just too young. Jessica suspected she would have done just fine. Cassie was not a typical nerd, nor did she seem particularly naïve or overly impressed by the sorts of guys that tried to ask her out. She was practical, hard working and extremely focused. She’d made Jessica laugh when she shared her universal answer to all the guys who asked her out: ‘I’m underage and I’m not sleeping with you.’ Most of the creeps were apparently put off by that, though a few took it as a challenge. It seemed that the better class of guys found it amusing and they and the girls in her classes seemed to find her easy to talk to and willing to help. As a result, Cassie had lots of good friends, though she didn’t seem to let anyone get too close. Connor had been the only exception. He was the only person of either gender who’d ever stayed over. Jessica had found out by accident that he slept on the futon in the living room. That had actually been when Jessica had discovered just how young Cassie was.
Jessica honestly wouldn’t have noticed how much Cassie kept others at arm’s length, except for one fact. She knew someone else exactly like that. Sam Winchester. Her own boyfriend. Friendly. Easy going, loving and generous, but never letting anyone get too close. Not even her. She knew he loved her, but there was so much she didn’t know about him. Now, she realized, she’d never met his family until Dean had shown up suddenly the other day. She knew she had to uncover the mystery of tonight’s events, whatever it was. For some reason she was sure ‘it’ had everything to do with Sam and was far from random. Sam’s secrets had almost gotten her killed tonight. She intended to find out why.
“I need to go,” said Cassie, not needing to feign exhaustion. “I have to tutor someone first thing in the morning.”
“Sure you won’t have nightmares, Cassie?” Jessica asked.
Cassie just shrugged and let herself out. Her reaction left Jessica with the distinct impression that nightmares were nothing new and that made Jessica feel very sad for her young housemate.
Dean had left for the night. He and Sam had both left for a while before Dean had brought Sam back. Apparently, they’d torched the body, the tennis racquet, and all the other various bloody items they’d bagged as they’d cleaned the apartment from top to bottom. The ceiling would still need to be repainted once it was dry, but there was no sign of blood anywhere.
“God, Jess, I can’t believe I almost lost you,” Sam said, horrified that this aspect of his life had caught up with his girl.
“You would have if it hadn’t been for Connor,” said Jessica.
“I’m glad he was here,” said Sam.
“What was that thing, Sam?” Jessica asked.
“I’m sorry?” said Sam, seeming startled by the question.
“You know what that was,” said Jessica flatly.
“I think so. I think it was the thing that killed my mother,” said Sam.
“I thought your mom died in a fire,” said Jessica.
“She did,” said Sam. “He burned her.”
“He burned her?” asked Jessica. “How?”
“He was… He was a demon, Jess,” said Sam, hanging his head. “He pinned her to the ceiling and lit her on fire.”
“A demon. So demons are real?” she asked.
She wasn’t surprised by the admission. Demon was the only thing that fit what she’d encountered tonight. Jessica couldn’t help picturing herself on the ceiling. Was that what Connor had prevented?
“Demons are real,” said Sam, sighing heavily.
“And you never told me this, why?” she demanded.
“I wanted to keep this life from you. I wanted to protect you from things like that.”
“Protect me by keeping me in the dark? By lying to me? You really thought that was possible?” she demanded angrily.
“No! No. Of course not! I thought… I thought I’d left that life behind, Jess,” said Sam. “I didn’t want it for me either.”
“So, wait… when you went off with your brother… you weren’t just looking for your father, were you?”
“No,” said Sam.
“Did you find him?”
“No,” said Sam.
“Does that mean you’re gonna go off with Dean again?”
“I don’t know, Jess,” said Sam. “I don’t want to.”
Connor had planned to study with Cassie until they were too exhausted to study any more; then sack out on her futon couch as he’d done many times before. He really liked her and he was sure all her friends thought they were a couple, but she’d told him she was only 16, and whatever he felt, he’d decided he’d rather spend time with her than push things when it was obvious she wasn’t ready to get involved with anyone. After all, he was young too. He was sure his parents would think him much too young to be thinking of the sort of commitment he’d found himself wanting with Cassie. If they were still hanging out at the end of the school year… well, those had been his thoughts before tonight anyway.
Tonight, he had seen something that should have stunned him, but didn’t. Tonight he
something that he didn’t understand and it scared him, mostly because of how comfortable he felt with all of it, almost as if he’d done it before. It had also erected a wall between him and Cassie that he wasn’t sure they could get past.
She’d brought his clothes down – not just a change of clothes but everything that he’d left in the gym bag and in her apartment – including his jeans, sweats, a couple T-shirts, deodorant and his toothbrush. That was everything, except for one book, but she’d probably overlooked that, because Connor was almost certain he was getting the brush off. He couldn’t blame her either. It was not every day you watched your not quite boyfriend decapitate something that had looked almost human moments before and which left a corpse that looked completely human afterward. In spite of the fact he’d saved Jessica, Cassie had still had to look at the mutilated dead body on the floor. Oddly enough, she hadn’t seen quite as upset about either the body itself or the blood splattered everywhere as someone her age might easily have been. Apparently, she really wasn’t squeamish. Probably a good characteristic in a premed student.
No, her reaction was all about him, Connor felt sure of it. She’d stared at him with narrowed eyes when she thought he wasn’t looking. Her expression was full of suspicion and puzzlement. It was clear that she was, if not afraid of him, at least extremely wary. Of course, she was so very young – too young to be dealing with dead bodies and friends capable of decapitation. This was her first semester in school and he was the closest thing she’d had to a boyfriend since leaving Colorado – and she’d only dated the one guy in high school – the one she didn’t want to talk about. Still, Connor couldn’t help thinking there was something else going on. He just didn’t know what.
Of course, she wasn’t the only one weirded out. Everything about tonight had been weird. The weirdest part of all, however, was just how normal it all felt. In fact, he had felt uniquely comfortable in those few moments fighting. He’d felt free in a way he couldn’t remember feeling, yet it felt familiar. Comfortable. Now Connor felt antsy, so instead of trying to go to sleep, he went for a long walk.
Even an hour after his walk, he was still wide-awake. He’d never needed that much sleep anyway. He mostly kept the hours his family kept because that’s how he’d been brought up. When he’d been much younger, he’d fussed about going to sleep ‘so early’, but his parents had insisted he at least lie down, and once he had a clock radio in his room, he’d listen to some kind of talk show until late into the night. His mom still called him her little night owl. Connor smiled. He was so lucky. His family was so uncomplicated. So many of his friends from school had divorced parents or didn’t get along with one or both of their parents.
His family had always been so close. He wondered how they’d react to what happened tonight. His father was ex-military and probably would be proud his son had protected someone else. However, he was sure none of them would be pleased that he’d killed someone, even if Dean and Sam had been right that the person had been possessed by the demon, possibly for years and that it was unlikely the person’s body was even still alive, given the nature of some of the scars on the body.
He wasn’t going to tell his family. They’d think he was nuts if he went home spouting tales about demons being real. One of his friends in high school had believed that vampires were real and it hadn’t taken long for everyone in the school to hear about it. It had taken the next big thing on campus to make people stop teasing him about it, but his life had never really been the same after that. Connor wasn’t sure just why he’d remembered that. He’d never been friends with the guy, but he’d felt really sorry for him. Now he wished he remembered the guy’s name. Maybe he really had known about something real.
When he finally fell asleep, it was almost daylight and he was emotionally exhausted, even if his body was still relatively untired.
He was sitting at a table. It was Christmas. There was a huge ham in the middle of the table piled high with all kinds of treats, and it was obviously a family gathering. It felt like his family. Except these weren’t his parents. There was a dark haired man and next to him sat a pretty, blonde woman, who smiled at him indulgently, just like mom did. She also smiled at the dark haired man, leaning in to whisper something occasionally. To the man’s right was another woman. She was dark haired too, her skin was a little bit more tanned, or maybe she was just darker – yes, she looked almost Mediterranean. She too seemed close to the dark haired man, but something about this really bothered Connor. She was beautiful and her smile was almost heartbreakingly brilliant. He forced himself to take his eyes off her.
Around the table were several other people. Across from him were a dark skinned bald man, and another dark haired woman, this one pale and small boned, but something about her was anything but fragile. They were obviously a couple – they seemed to have lots to giggle about. Another dark haired man sat on the other side of the Mediterranean looking woman – to Connor’s left. For some reason, his stubbly face seemed slightly less distinct, but he too felt familiar – like family. Everyone seemed so happy. Happy to see him, for some reason. The room filled with laughter.
Someone – he didn’t quite see who it was, but he caught a flash of festive green and red – had poured two glasses of red liquid for the blonde and the dark haired man at the head of the table and they both picked up their glasses to toast… apparently it was a toast for him. Everyone else, including him, had a similar glass filled with champagne. The toast was raised and everyone drank. As the two blood red glasses touched their lips, the couple’s faces changed. For some reason this was not a surprise. It should have seemed monstrous, but for some reason, this was what Connor had been expecting. He felt himself relax as though something had fallen into place.
“To Connor!” said the dark haired man with the golden eyes. “Welcome home, m’boy!”
“To my wonderful son!” said the blonde woman, speaking distinctly despite her elongated canines. “You have grown into such a good man. We’re so proud of you Connor! You’re our hero!”
As she spoke, the brow ridges receded, and her beautiful human face came to the fore; warm brown eyes gazed at him lovingly.
“Yes, we’re all proud of you Connor!” said the bald man, grinning at Connor. “Don’t you think the kid’s got a bit of my style with the axe?”
“Oh Charles!” said the slender dark haired woman next to him teasingly. “Y’all know he’s got moves none of us have seen yet.”
“You haven’t showed us all you learned in Quor'toth, son!” said the dark haired man, who was smiling at him with a mixture of love and pride.
“Maybe you can teach your dad and me some new tricks!” said the blonde woman.
“After dinner, you two. Angel, Darla can’t you see the poor boy’s hungry!” said the beautiful dark haired woman who made Connor’s heart ache. “It’s been a long trip. Stopping evil is hard work!”
“Oh Cordelia, you’ve always been able to tune into Connor’s feelings… even when he was a baby!” said the quiet man sitting between him and the pretty woman.
The man with the stubble smiled at her indulgently, and she took his hand, smiling back with that brilliant grin that plucked at something in Connor’s heart. Connor envied him. They made such an attractive couple. When would he have a girl like that?
“I’m not the seer for nothin’ Wes!” she said, poking him in the side. “I’m supposed to know these things! We all love to fight, but no one should fight hungry. Come on, we worked hard in the kitchen this year! Let’s get this party started!”
“Oh Cordy,” Connor said, “I can’t believe you and Wes went all out this year. This is such a treat!”
“Only our best for our favorite kid,” said Cordy.
“Oh, you wound me!” said Connor. “I’m not a kid any more.”
“You’ll always be a kid to us, C,” said the dark skinned man. “You know how it works, man. You’re always baby to all the aunts and uncles.”
“Sure, Uncle Charlie.”
Suddenly, Connor realized he knew all their names.
“Now, you’re making a man feel old!” said Charles.
“You’re the one who keeps reminding me you knew me when I was a baby!” Connor made a face.
Somewhere in the distance, there was a thumping sound. No one else seemed to notice except the woman who must be his mother.
“It won’t get you,” she said. “We promise you’ll be safe. Just remember everything we taught you and you’ll be fine!”
“Yes mom! We can’t lose with the stuff we use!” he found himself pumping his fist and saying it almost like a cheerleader leading a cheer.
There was laughter at the table.
Then Connor was wide-awake. That was when he realized that someone was really knocking at his door. He pulled on a T-shirt as he went to answer the door, the dream still vivid in his mind. Who were all those people, and why did they all feel so familiar?
Connor wrenched the door open as the knocking continued insistently.
“What’s wrong with you people? You’re gonna wake up the whole building!”
“Are you Connor Reilly?” asked a tall man with close-cropped salt and pepper hair. Connor thought he looked military, despite the casual clothing.
“Yeah, what’s this about?” said Connor, staring up at the man.
“We’d like to talk to you,” said the man. He didn’t wait for Connor to give him permission; he simply strolled in, followed by two other men and a woman, all of whom appeared extremely fit. Yup, definitely military.
“You can’t just barge into my place at the crack of dawn…”
“It’s eleven o’clock,” said the man. “Hardly the crack of dawn.”
“I don’t see what business it is of yours,” said Connor irritably.
Connor didn’t know what to make of the group. The blonde woman looked familiar and suddenly he knew. Cassie! “Wait, did Cassie send you?”
The man didn’t seem to have an answer to that.
“She did, didn’t she?” said Connor. “You’re the woman in the picture with her mom.”
Connor pointed at the blonde woman.
“I believe he is familiar with you, Samantha,” said the large dark man who stood furthest away from him, but who seemed to be on full alert.
“Who are you?” asked the man who had spoken first.
“I think the correct question is who are you people, and why did Cassie send you here?” Connor asked.
Connor was slowly regaining his confidence. Dean and Sam had talked to Cassie and she’d agreed not to get them into trouble with the police. Whatever her behavior last night, Connor really didn’t believe she’d turn him in to the authorities. But he really didn’t know what to make of these people. He wasn’t sure how he knew, but he could tell that they were all armed. They seemed almost nervous around him, but he didn’t think they were here to arrest him.
“Leave Cassie out of this,” said the man.
“Since she’s the reason you’re here, I don’t think that’s gonna happen,” said Connor, taking a step toward the man.
“I don’t think…” The large dark man shook his head and looked at Samantha. She nodded and they both looked at O’Neill.
“I think you’re right, but then what’s the explanation?” asked the woman. “It just doesn’t make any sense.”
“What doesn’t make any sense?” asked Connor.
No one answered, they just exchanged uncomfortable glances.
“You know what, while you people speak in riddles and give each other funny looks, I’m gonna make myself breakfast. And no, you’re not invited. The only reason I don’t kick you out is that you’re clearly people Cassie cares about. I really don’t know what kind of joke Cassie had in mind, but it’s really not that funny.”
Connor grabbed a frying pan and set it on the stove to heat while he began pulling eggs, bacon, butter, cheese and bread from the fridge. For some reason, he was ravenous.
“There is no joke,” said the third man, who was sandy haired and seemed younger than the other two men, “Cassie was concerned about… you.”
The man trailed off lamely.
“She was concerned, so she sent four Air Force types to investigate me. What? You think I’m some kind of threat to national security?”
Connor turned the burner off.
“Pretty much,” said the older man, his expression grim.
“What kinda drugs are you people on?” asked Connor, finally relaxing enough to begin to get really angry.
“She said you exhibited signs of exceptional strength; that you were capable of things you should not be. Apparently you killed some type of… wild animal with a tennis racquet?”
The woman hesitated over the ‘wild animal’ description for some reason. Connor wondered just what Cassie had told them. Clearly, she hadn’t accused him of murder, or they’d have showed up with police. No, something else was going on, and Connor really didn’t know what it was.
“And if I did?” asked Connor. “Since when is that a crime? She did tell you it was attacking someone, right?”
“Are you on steroids?” asked the woman, ignoring his comment about the attack.
“You’re kidding!” said Connor, thinking this conversation was getting stranger by the moment.
Apparently, Cassie hadn’t told them that it had been a person that he’d killed. He’d been right, however. She’d been upset by what he’d done. So had he, but for some reason, she’d involved… the Air Force.
“Wait, do you people have some kind of super soldier program?” Connor didn’t even realize it, but he was listening to their heartbeats. There was no reaction. “You’ve encountered people with super strength before, haven’t you?”
This time all four heartbeats sped up, though the big guy’s sped up the least.
“You have,” said Connor, crossing his small living room and coming to stand in front of the four. “Well, you’re gonna tell me about it, because you know what, I have no idea what’s going on. Apparently, you
“You are not the same as the others,” said the dark man. “We are unaware of the origin of your abilities.”
“Who speaks like that?” asked Connor. “You’re not from around here, are you?”
“Stop!” said the older man.
“No!” said Connor. “You come banging on my door, waking me up and accusing me of god knows what and I don’t even know your names. I don’t have to stop. Sit down, or I’ll call the police.”
“You don’t want to do that,” said the older man.
“Why not? Unless you think I’m some kind of foreign enemy, you’re not supposed to be here questioning me. I know that much,” Connor said. “So, I need some answers.”
“We don’t have any,” said the younger man with glasses.
“Who are you?” asked Connor. “And, no lies. I want IDs. Now!”
“We’re leaving,” said the older man.
“NO, I don’t think you are. You came into my apartment and treated me like a criminal and you don’t have that right. Maybe you did it as a favor to Cassie, but you don’t have any right to come in here, not without my permission and certainly not as Air Force personnel. Names!”
Connor deliberately put himself between them and the door and held his hand out for IDs.
“My name is Samantha Carter,” said the woman, obviously reluctant.
“I'm Daniel. Daniel Jackson,” said the younger man.
“Oh, for crying out loud,” said the older man. “Jack O’Neill.”
The fourth person remained silent.
Connor raised both eyebrows, giving the man a pointed look.
“I’m… Murray,” said the large, dark skinned man who wore a knit cap, even though it was a warm day.
“Murray?” asked Connor. “Just Murray? Like Cher? Sure, right!”
“I am unlike Cher,” said Murray, a little haughtily.
“You can say that again,” said Connor. “She doesn’t talk like some kind of alien.”
This time the big man’s heartbeat sped up. In fact, all four heartbeats sped up – a lot.
“OK, now that’s interesting. You’re really some kind of alien?”
“What!” said O’Neill. “Oh come on! Don’t be an idiot!”
“I said the word ‘alien’ and all your heartbeats sped right up,” said Connor.
“You can hear our heartbeats?” asked Carter, looking stunned.
“Yes?” said Connor, immediately sorry he’d admitted it.
“I’m ten feet away from you. That’s impossible,” said Jackson.
“Is this new since last night?” asked Carter.
“I’ve always been able to hear heartbeats. I never really paid much attention to it before though,” said Connor.
“Have you always been strong?”
“I don’t really know. I guess… I’m not really much of a jock,” said Connor, shrugging.
“You’re not an athlete?” asked Carter, exchanging another meaningful look with O’Neill.
“Not really. No one in my family is really into sports. We’re all bookworms,” said Connor. “We like going walking together, but that’s about it. I guess I’m a geek.”
Carter was staring at him with undisguised skepticism.
“You have a problem with that?” Connor demanded.
“No, of course not,” she said quickly.
“Are you stronger than the rest of your family?” asked O’Neill.
“Well… Maybe. I guess so. I’m the one who opens all the jars, if that’s what you mean,” said Connor.
“So, this isn’t a one shot thing?” said Carter. “No one ever thought it was strange?”
“Not really,” said Connor.
“Have you ever been in a fight before?”
“It’s like I said – I’m not that kind of guy,” said Connor. “I don’t even like violent video games and I’d much rather argue than fight.”
“That’s what Cassie told us,” said Carter, nodding thoughtfully.
“She seemed kind of weirded out last night,” said Connor. “I was weirded out too, believe me. I’m just glad I got there in time.”
“Apparently, so is the girl downstairs,” said Jackson.
“So, what, you guys thought I was some kind of dangerous alien, and you guys are like the Men in Black or something? Are you gonna neuralize me?”
“That is a work of fiction, Connor Reilly,” said the man named Murray.
“But aliens are real,” said Connor, enjoying the uncomfortable looks that appeared on all four faces, though no one either confirmed or denied what he was saying. It really wasn’t necessary. “So, is Cassie an alien?”
“What?” asked Carter.
“Wow,” said Connor. “So, she’s from Mars or something?”
“Don’t be ridiculous!” said O’Neill.
“I was kidding,” said Connor, grinning at them, with a manic sort of glee at having the upper hand. “Well, you can tell her I’m not dangerous. She could be. After all, she’s an alien!”
“We don’t know that you’re not dangerous,” said O’Neill. “We just know you’re not what we thought you were. Do you know what that thing was that you killed?”
Connor noticed O’Neill ignored the comment about Cassie completely, but his expression was pained. Connor couldn’t help smirking.
“A wild animal?” Connor shrugged.
“Quit playing games,” said O’Neill.
“I don’t know what it was,” said Connor. “Never saw anything like it before.”
“Cassie said it had glowing yellow eyes,” said Jackson.
“I guess it did,” said Connor. “I was kinda busy keeping it from killing that girl. It came at me and I took my best shot.”
“You do realized what you did was impossible, right?” asked Carter.
“Well, no. I mean, it must have been possible for me,” said Connor reasonably, earning a fresh glare from the one called O’Neill. “No idea how, though.”
“We’d like to do some tests,” said Carter.
All eyes turned to her, not just Connor’s.
“Tests?” he was nervous again. Suddenly he remembered just how powerful an institution the military was. Who would know if they decided to make him disappear?
“Blood tests,” she said.
“No,” said Connor. “I don’t think so. I don’t even know if you’re good or evil. Anyway, I don’t like hospitals and doctors and I really don’t like needles.”
“Why is that?” asked O’Neill, with what Connor thought was a ‘deliberately innocent’ look.
“Dunno, just don’t,” said Connor, honestly, shrugging. Thank god, he had nothing to hide.
“You had to have your vaccines,” said Carter. “You couldn’t go to school without them.”
“Yup, and that’s all the needles I want sticking in me,” said Connor. “Besides, I’m not eighteen for another nine months. You’d have to get my parents’ permission.”
“Well, unless you agree, we’re gonna have to tell Cassie to stay away from you,” said O’Neill, using what he rightly suspected was his best bargaining chip. He underestimated Connor’s reaction.
“You bastard,” growled Connor, his fists balling up at his sides. Connor was livid.
O’Neill’s hand instinctively reached into his jacket.
“What the fuck?” asked Connor, taking a step back, and throwing up both hands. “You’re gonna shoot me?”
“I thought you were gonna hit me,” said O’Neill.
“I’ve never hit anyone in my life,” said Connor emphatically.
“You killed that thing last night,” said O’Neill.
“I saved that woman’s life last night,” said Connor, his face twisting into a sneer. “I bet you’ve
killed people for less.”
O’Neill had the grace to look ashamed.
“You should go. If Cassie doesn’t trust me enough to be around me, that’s her loss. I’d never hurt her and she should have known that. Frankly, after her siccing you guys on me, I’m not really sure she’s the person I thought she was.”
“You’re in love with her,” said Jackson.
“I was,” said Connor. “Right now, I don’t know what I feel.”
“She was scared,” said Jackson. “She was scared you were… something very dangerous…”
"Daniel," said O'Neill, concerned Daniel would say too much.
“She should have asked me,” said Connor.
“If you were… what she thought you were… it would have been too dangerous,” said Carter. “You really shouldn’t hold it against her.”
“So you’re not gonna tell her to avoid me?” asked Connor.
“I— ” Carter looked over at O’Neill and stopped in mid thought.
“Look, I don’t know what’s wrong with me – or why I’m different or whatever. I don’t know if this is something new. If you want to take some blood and you promise to tell me what you find, I’ll give it to you,” said Connor.
“You’re a minor,” said Carter. “We can’t do that without your parents’ permission.”
“I can get my family doctor to take the blood,” said Connor.
“Actually… that might not be such a good idea,” said Carter, putting her hand on his arm.
Connor stared at Carter. He could tell she was extremely tense. She seemed genuinely afraid for his safety. Interesting.
“If you… if your blood is different… people… could find out and you could find yourself on the receiving end of the wrong kind of attention,” said Carter.
“You can keep it out of the wrong hands?” asked Connor, searching Carter’s face for any hint of guile.
Something about these people made him believe they were trustworthy, despite their current attitude to him. Plus, Cassie trusted them. Anyway, he really didn’t know where else to go for answers. Dean and Sam knew about demons, but they had no clue what he was either, except they didn’t seem to think he was a demon. Connor decided he had to find out.
“Yes,” said Carter.
“Carter!” said O’Neill.
“He needs to know. We need to know…” said Carter. “I think maybe we should take him up to the mountain…”
“I’m not going anywhere with you. The blood’s one thing, but how do I know you won’t lock me up somewhere and do experiments on me?”
“I’m not Dr. Mengele,” said Carter, bristling.
“And I only have your word for that,” said Connor. “The only reason I’m considering doing this is because of Cassie. If she trusts you…”
“Other than her mother, we’re the closest thing she has to family,” said Carter.
“So, what do you think he is?” asked Sam Winchester.
“Hell if I know!” said Dean. “He ganked that thing good. Dad said that thing’s killed a whole boat load of people.”
“Hunters,” said Sam. “That thing’s killed hunters.”
“Yeah, hunters – plural,” said Dean. “And he just shows up and kills the mother with a fucking tennis racquet.”
“So you think he’s some kind of demon?”
“No,” said Dean. “Not unless he’s immune to devil’s traps.”
“Oh, yeah, forgot about that,” said Sam. “Maybe we should clean it off the floor?”
“Maybe we should leave it,” said Dean. “If demons are targeting you now…”
“Or Jessica,” said Sam.
“Or Jessica,” said Dean. “We really can’t be too careful.”
“I think this was about us,” said Sam.
“Why is that?” asked Dean.
“It was the anniversary of mom’s death,” said Sam.
“Shit,” said Dean.
“Yeah,” said Sam.
“Wonder what Dad’ll make of that,” said Dean.
“Maybe that’s why he returned your call. How many months has it been since you saw him?” asked Sam.
“He didn’t sound like he believed ol’ yellow eyes really got ganked. That’s the reason he’s comin’,” said Dean
“Well, if I remembered Mom’s death anniversary, I’m sure he’s figured it out,” said Sam. “Hell, Dean, I saw the body, and I can hardly believe what happened. If he was gonna light Jess up on the ceiling, I totally owe that guy.”
“Well, Dad said he’s killed others with the exact same M.O., so I would bet he was gonna off her the same way,” said Dean.
“Frankly, I’m surprised she didn’t dump me,” said Sam. “Most people who figure out what we do? They’re pretty creeped out.”
“Guess you picked the right chick,” said Dean. “Not that you can really afford…”
“Don’t give me the stupid attachments speech,” said Sam. “That’s your life, not mine. Besides, I had enough of that from Dad.”
“He’s right, you know,” said a new voice.
“Dad!” both men said in unison. “You got here quick.”
“Had to come see for myself,” said John Winchester.
“Well… about that…” said Dean.
“You salted and burned the corpse?” asked John.
“Yeah,” said Dean. “Kind of didn’t need that kinda bad shit hangin’ around and I wasn’t sure what the chick upstairs was gonna do. Figured the less evidence, the better.”
“I took a picture,” said Sam. “Here.”
“Jesus,” said John. “I really don’t want to meet the guy who did this.”
“He’s just a kid,” said Sam. “He’s friends with the girl upstairs.”
“You’re sure?” asked John. “Because I don’t know anything human – at least nothing that’s not possessed – that could do something like that.”
“We sort of made him sit through an exorcism,” said Dean.
“And gave him holy water to drink,” said Sam.
“He just let you do it?”
“Yeah,” said Sam, “After Dean threatened to kill him if he didn’t cooperate. We even put a devil’s trap under the carpet while he was showering.”
“I think he wanted to make sure he wasn’t a demon too after he saw the way that demon burned up,” said Dean. “It didn’t take much convincing. His girl was totally spooked. She brought him all his stuff. I think she ditched him. Thing is, I think he was just as shocked as she was.”
“Yeah, he was totally spooked,” said Sam. “Maybe it was just adrenaline strength, dad.”
“I don’t think adrenaline could do something like that, Sammy,” said Dean.
“You have a better explanation?” asked Sam.
“I’m workin’ on it,” said Dean.
“I don’t think he’s gonna hurt anyone,” said Sam.
“You don’t know that,” said Dean.
“You’re not seriously thinking about killing a Stanford student?” asked Sam.
“You know he can’t be human!” said John.
“I won’t let you do it,” said Sam. “Not without proof that he’s a bad guy. You can’t just come here and start killing innocent people. Besides, if it wasn’t for him, my girlfriend would be dead, and your demon would still be out there.”
“Fine!” said Dean. “For now. For one thing, we don’t know how to kill him, anyway. If he did that to a demon that strong, I don’t wanna see what he could do to us!”
“You need to make friends with him, Sam. Figure out what he knows. Who he is. What
he is,” said John.
“He doesn’t know anything. He’s never seen a demon before last night… That’s what he said and I don’t think he was lying,” said Sam. “He really was in shock afterwards.”
“Yeah, if he’s not human, he’s either the world’s greatest liar or he’s really got no clue,” said Dean.
“We’ll hold off doin’ anything for now. We need to do some more research and you need to become his new best friend and figure him out,” said John. “He’s probably got family that’ll come looking for us if he turns up missing.”
“He has family,” said Sam. “I heard him talking about his parents and his sister last night.”
“Crap,” said John. “Well, we better find out what we can about them. If he’s gonna turn into something dangerous, maybe we can figure out what from them…”
“What if he’s a danger to them?” asked Dean.
“It’s possible,” said John. “Or they could be demons too!”
“Dean! Dad! God, you’re making me sorry I called you guys,” said Sam.
“Relax, son. We’re not gonna do anything until we figure out what’s going on,” said John.
For some reason, this did not reassure Sam.
Author’s Note: For sanity’s sake, and given that the two characters will have to interact extensively, I’ve decided that all dialogue tags for Dr. Samantha Carter will be ‘Carter’, rather than ‘Sam’. I hope you’ll forgive the awkwardness. There are three Sams in this extended universe (Sam Finn being #3) and therefore the potential for confusion can only increase. Other than using both first and last name 100% of the time, this is the best solution I could come up with.
This is probably why most fiction doesn’t include multiple characters with the same name!! When they are addressed by others as Sam, hopefully, context will make it clear who is being addressed – I seriously doubt that will be an issue unless my writing is truly incompetent. In order for it not to sound completely odd, I decided to refer to all of SG-1 by last name in dialogue tags. So, Daniel Jackson will be 'Jackson' rather than 'Daniel' and so on. Carter, Jackson and O’Neill seemed less peculiar than Carter, Daniel and Jack… OK, stopping channeling my inner Willow now!