Rating: PG 13+
Summary: Thirteen grisly murders. When Don stumbles on the scene of the final murder he fears he is about to become the fourteenth victim. Crossover with Supernatural from a Numb3rs POV.
Spoilers: None really, nothing specific anyway. I was midway through Season Two of Supernatural, and up to episode 18, Season Five of Numb3rs when I wrote this.
Disclaimer: I don’t own them, I just borrowed them. Numb3rs, Supernatural and associated characters are the property of those that created them. No copyright infringement intended. No financial reward gained. All real organisations are used in a fictional sense. Original characters and the storyline are mine however.
FBI Special Agent Don Eppes crept forwards slowly and silently. Through the open doorway a few yards away he could see a man hunched over a still form in the centre of the room.
As Don moved his angle of vision changed until he could see that the still figure was dead, very much so. The amount of blood covering the face and head and pooling around the body spoke volumes about the violence of the woman’s death. It seemed he’d managed to stumble onto the latest crime scene with the crime still in progress. He’d been too late to save the woman but at least one of her murderers was still here.
Another few steps and he was at the edge of the doorway. He was taking things cautiously, it would be a while yet before his team and other backup arrived. He’d called for them the moment he’d seen the suspects’ vehicle, an old black ’67 impala parked at the rear of the derelict warehouse. Spotting it had been pure dumb luck, he’d taken a short-cut whilst en-route to joining his team and the other agents preparing to raid the flea-bag motel suspected of being the murderers’ lair. After a few long seconds agonising in the alley after calling it in he’d been unable to wait outside, instead making his stealthy entry in the now forlorn hope that he may save a life.
He adjusted his position, crouching to take cover behind the door frame whilst still keeping the murderer in view. The longish hair suggested that it was the younger of the two murderers that he was observing. Hands shifting on his Glock in frustration the agent couldn’t announce his presence just yet. All their evidence so far suggested that the man’s older brother was his accomplice, which meant he could be nearby, probably still in the building. Even though Don was here alone there was no way he was going to back off and give the one he was watching a chance of escape. Though it grated to wait, the most tactically sound solution to his situation was to avoid drawing attention to himself unless necessary.
Reminding himself of the possible danger he was facing, he took a moment and carefully surveyed the area around him. The warehouse was old and in serious disrepair, the upper level section they were in used to be offices based on the layout. No doors remained, the open doorways making him feel less secure as there would be no warning before anyone appeared. If he could move silently on the old timber floor then so could anyone else. He was exposed, the layout meaning that there was no better cover that he could conceal himself behind if he were to still keep the murderer under surveillance.
He stole a quick glance at his watch, surely enough time had passed since his call to Control that his team weren’t far away. After entering the warehouse he’d had to clear the cavernous main warehouse before carefully moving up the stairs to the mezzanine office level checking each room as he went. He was surprised to find that only five minutes had elapsed. That was not good. He briefly considered calling in for some LAPD units, any back-up was better than none but he would have to leave his position to make the call. Reluctantly he gave that thought up, he would just have to sit tight and hope that he didn’t have to attempt the arrest before he had assistance.
The attack came from nowhere and was as swift as it was unexpected. First his gun was knocked from his hand by a well aimed kick at his wrist. His hand, numbed from the impact was ineffectual at fending off the hands that grabbed at his vest hauling him to his feet. His left was not so useless and after landing a solid punch reached for the spare weapon in the holster attached to the right side of his vest. He never reached it. A flurry of blows followed, coming so quickly he wasn’t able to block them all, let alone land any further real hits of his own. He was reeling and barely realised that he’d been forced back into the room. But he caught enough of a glimpse to recognise his attacker.
With increased motivation he successfully blocked the next punch. Trying to keep the momentum going he stepped in and tried a countermove but his attacker was already a move ahead of him. A strike to his head had him seeing stars, the next to his solar plexus had him gasping for lost breath. The final kick knocked his feet out from under him and suddenly Don was lying on the floor, half stunned and fighting to draw in a full lungful of air. He felt a hand at the side of his head before his earpiece was ripped away followed an instant later by the microphone cable to his radio. He forced his eyes open and found himself staring up at the twin barrels of a sawn-off shotgun.
“Dean!” The murderer at the body called in surprise once all movement ceased. “What are you doing?”
“Saving your ass, Sammy. The fed had the drop on you.”
Sammy looked first to Dean and then to the agent lying on the floor. “What are you going to do?”
“I don’t know.” One hand had released the shotgun to move towards a pearl handled, silver semi-automatic pistol at his waist.
“You can’t ki-“ Sammy started.
“I said ‘I don’t know’!” Dean kept the shotgun firmly on target, not giving his captive a chance. His right hand shoved the half drawn pistol back into his waistband before returning to its original position on his other weapon. “Get it done before his fed friends get here. They’re coming, right?”
At the twitch of the shotgun Don understood that the question had been directed at him and a response was required. “Yeah, they’re coming.”
That one the agent didn’t want to answer. The two murderers would probably think his back-up were too close but he knew better. They were going to be much longer than he needed right now. There was more than enough time for Dean to make good on the threat of the shotgun if he was so inclined. He kept his mouth shut as he tried to avoid fixating his gaze on the end of the shotgun, looking up instead at Dean’s face. Why he was still breathing, Don didn’t know.
Dean nodded as he drew the most reasonable conclusion from the agent’s reluctance. “They’re close, Sam. Hurry it up.”
Don turned his head to see what Sam was up to. The younger man was pulling items out of an old duffle bag that had been at his side. The first was a small can of gasoline followed by a large economy sized container of salt. A black stick was next. Sam consulted a battered diary that the agent hadn’t noticed before and started scratching at the floor around the body with the stick. Don realised that the stick was actually charcoal and although from his angle he couldn’t see what was being written he knew it would be a series of arcane symbols usually seen in horror movies involving Satanic worship. It had been the same at the other crime scenes. Sam put the stick away and reached for the gas can.
Don had a fair idea of what was going to happen next and could only watch helplessly as Sam set about methodically destroying the evidence. At each of the previous scenes the bodies had been torched with the aid of an accelerant thought to be gasoline. The gas can was opened and the contents splashed liberally over the body, empty it was capped and tossed safely to one side. Then in a move that had Don confused the body was liberally covered in the salt until the empty container went the same way as the gas can. Sam slung his bag over his shoulder and backed up patting at his pockets with his left hand as his right held the diary open.
Looking up he saw Dean throw Sam a lighter. For a bare moment Dean’s attention was diverted. Don had to take the chance, it was likely to be the only one he would get. Scissoring his legs he managed a kick that had Dean stumbling away. Continuing the movement he rolled and started to his feet. That was as far as he got, Dean was surprisingly quick and had already recovered from Don’s move. The agent saw the blow coming and just barely managed to fling up his left arm to block the worst of it. He wasn’t ready for the next that had him back on the floor again.
He was no slouch where it came to hand to hand combat but it was becoming painfully obvious that he was outmatched here. Knowing that such thoughts were the precursors to losing confidence in himself he shut them down, concentrating on what he needed to do. He knew that he had to keep moving to present a more challenging target and it was the only way he was going to generate an opening that he could use. He rolled and looked around for his opponent in time to see Dean fling the shotgun aside. Don had no time to draw any conclusions from that surprise move as Dean’s feet kicked his out from under him again. His opponent moved in quickly towards the floored agent, hands flashing towards his face. Don blocked what he thought was going to be a combination attack only to find it hadn’t been Dean’s intention at all.
There was a tug on his vest and the backup weapon he hadn’t yet had a chance to draw himself was taken. The agent instantly went still. Not done yet, Dean lifted his leg and placed a heavy foot on his captive’s chest. Don stared upwards once again, expecting this time to be staring down the barrel of his own weapon. Instead he watched as the small gun was swiftly unloaded by clearly well practiced hands. It was barely an instant later that the Glock was tossed aside.
“Piss-ant useless toy. When are they gonna give you lot real guns?” Dean’s voice was contemptuous. He illustrated his point by drawing his own .45 calibre pistol. Pulling back the hammer his voice changed to a growl. “And when I put your ass down, I expect it to stay down.”
“Okay, okay.” Lying flat on his back on the floor with his hands held palm upwards in surrender there was nothing more that Don could do.
“Dean-“ Sam started, a warning tone in his voice.
“Sam, we don’t have time for this. Do it.” Dean ordered.
Sam instantly turned back to the body, flicking the lighter he started reading from the diary. Don didn’t understand much of it at all, it seemed like some bastardised form of Latin mixed up with some words he recognised as ancient Hebrew and others that hurt to hear let alone speak. Sam’s voice seemed to reach a peak and the lighter was thrown onto the body. There was a flash as the gas soaked body erupted into flame and the room was soon filled with the reek of burning human flesh.
Don would never mention it to anyone and tried to deny even to himself that he had seen it but for a moment it looked like some sort of creature was writhing in the flames. The vision was gone at almost the same instant that it had appeared. He glanced up at the two murderers to see if either of them had seen it but both men had shielded their eyes from the flash and were just now lowering their hands.
“I am never gonna get used to that!” Dean complained, starting to cough. “Bones burn so much cleaner.”
Sam was backing away further. “That was the last one.” He glanced down at the agent as a sudden thought occurred. “You don’t think it could have jumped do you?”
“Yeah, but he isn’t.”
Don saw Dean regard him with a strange expression on his face, part calculation part something else. He didn’t understand most of what had just happened and now there seemed to be something more involving him. Normally desperate to know the whys and wherefores of a situation Don realised he would be quite happy if such revelations did not occur this time. He was just as sure unfortunately, that he would have no choice in the matter.
“I don’t think so. He didn’t move like one of them, just a better than average fed.” Dean pronounced after a few more seconds of observation. He wiped at the side of his mouth where one of Don’s few punches had landed and split his lip.
“We’d better be sure.”
Dean coughed again before looking with distaste at their handiwork. “Yeah, but not here.”
Don finally managed to draw a full breath as the heavy foot was lifted off his chest. He instantly gagged and coughed at the thickening stench as the body blackened and charred no more than ten feet away.
There was a tug at his shoulder and he was suddenly moving, dragged from the room by his vest. His feet scrabbled for purchase but he was moving too fast to get his feet under him, especially with the years of accumulated dirt and dust coating the floorboards and making them slippery. They turned a corner and he spun out from the speed of his slide and slammed sideways against the door frame before being dragged into another room. He automatically curled sideways over the injured ribs as he was abruptly released to slide and roll to a stop. One arm protectively covering his side Don forced himself to sit up only to come nose to muzzle with the .45.
“I’m not gonna say it again, Fed. Get your ass down.”
Breathing in shallow gasps from the pain in his side Don eased back until he was lying flat on his back once again. Dean gave it a moment, standing over the agent with his gun aimed straight down before suddenly backing off. Don, mindful of the weapon still pointed at him, held still as the two men conferred in low tones a few feet away. Taking the time to assess himself as his breathing eased Don probed at his side and came to the conclusion that his vest had taken the worst of the impact against the door frame, his ribs bruised but not broken.
“Isn’t there something a little quicker?” Dean suddenly complained loud enough for the agent to hear.
“I think that this is the best way to be sure.”
“Well, hurry it up then. We don’t want to be here when the cavalry arrives.”
Dean kept the weapon aimed at the agent as Sam approached, reaching into his bag. The charcoal stick was pulled back out and the diary re-opened. A deep feeling of pure dread passed over Don as Sam bent and started to move around him in a wide circle writing more symbols onto the floor. As he felt the blood drain from his face Don looked back at Dean knowing that the terror he was suddenly feeling was being projected through his eyes. He was about to become the fourteenth victim with one important horrific distinction.
“You’re not going to burn me alive!” He started to rise, determined to make Dean shoot him rather than endure the alternative.
“We won’t.” Dean’s voice was suddenly compassionate.
It was enough to make Don hesitate as he could hear nothing but pure honesty in Dean’s words.
“If you’re still you then I know you don’t understand,” Dean continued, his almost kindly tone in sharp contrast to the weapon still held on target. “But we have to make sure. We won’t burn you if it’s gone. If it’s not, then you’re already dead and it’s not you I’m talking to.”
As Don tried to make sense of what Dean had said Sam continued moving in an arc around the agent, steadily writing more symbols. More Satanic signs, clearly these two brothers were psychopaths. But if they were now prepared to talk he would go along with that. Every moment he remained alive was an advantage. He seized on the repeated references to the mysterious ‘it’. “If what’s gone?”
Ignoring the question Dean instead spoke to Sam. “Hurry up.”
“The first part’s done. No reaction?”
Dean’s head cocked to one side as he gave the agent a penetrating stare. “Nothin’.”
“Alright.” Sam dug once again into the bag and came up with a clear plastic bottle shaped roughly like a church steeple. The cap was undone and the fluid quickly squirted at their captive.
Instinctively Don protectively raised his hands and ducked to keep the liquid out of his face. He was surprised when his sharply indrawn breath didn’t bring with it the odour of gasoline or lighter fluid. As the spray of liquid continued for a few seconds more he realised it was water and definitely non-flammable to his great relief. Even as his body remained tensed he managed to hold himself back from launching a last ditch suicide attack on Dean to force a quick death.
“Look up.” Dean ordered. “Show us your hands.”
Completely confused Don complied, his hands betraying him by trembling as he held them up for inspection. Trying to still the shakes he found both men staring expectantly at him.
“Nothing?” Sam queried.
“Nothin’.” Dean confirmed. “Do the last bit.”
Sam flicked over several pages of the diary before again reading out that strange jumble of words Don had heard in the other room. About a minute later Sam wound down and both men stared at the agent a moment longer.
“Well, I guess that’s it then.” Dean relaxed slightly.
“If it were in him it would have reacted violently by now.” Sam’s relieved tone was almost clinical. “We’ve done it Dean. We’ve finally got all of them, the whole nest.”
“Good. It’s time to blow this overdressed city. I don’t know about you, Sammy, but the sooner we’re on the open road the better.”
The other man had packed away his stuff. He gave the agent a moment’s consideration. “What about him?”
Dean looked appraisingly at the federal agent before his lips quirked unexpectedly upwards in a cocky grin. “Sorry Fed, but this is gonna hurt.”
Don tried to scramble upwards as Dean moved rapidly towards him, gun swinging. He was too slow, the residual effects of the earlier attacks and the pain in his ribs hampered his attempt to avoid what was about to happen. The murderer’s weapon caught him on the side of the head and he went down. The last thing he saw was the floor coming up to meet his face.
“Don?” The familiar voice called urgently. “Don, c’mon man, wake up.”
“David?” Don finally recognised the voice. He groaned and raised a hand to the side of his head as it began to pound.
“Don, what happened? You alright?”
“Help me up.”
“EMTs are on their way. Everyone else is clearing the warehouse. Just rest, okay?” David said pressing firmly downwards on his boss’ shoulder as he tried to sit up. “Don, tell me what happened.”
“They were here. I caught them at the body.” Don started, not fighting against David’s hand. His body had finally woken along with his head and he found that he had more than a few sore spots. He lay back and told the rest of the tale, as best he understood it.
David tried to make sense of what had happened. “So it was like an exorcism or something?”
That fitted. “Something like that, I guess.” He unwillingly remembered the strange shape he’d thought he’d seen in the flames. Despite his new found faith he knew that there was going to be no explanation of whatever it had been that he would ever be happy with. Shaking his head he dismissed the image.
The other agent looked at the symbols drawn onto the floor around where Don was lying. “And the symbols around you?”
He couldn’t bring himself to try to look at the marks he knew were all around him. He’d been trying hard not to think of them. The moments of horror came back all too strongly. His throat tightened and his voice came out in a whisper. “I thought… I thought for few moments there that they were going to burn me too.”
Hearing the remnants of terror in his boss’ voice David knew what he had to do, preservation of evidence be damned. “You up for me moving you?”
“Please.” He was grateful beyond words, he needed out of there. He relaxed as David took hold of the shoulder of his vest and gently pulled him from the room unknowingly copying Dean’s earlier move. It was the safest way to move him to avoid aggravating any injuries. David eased to a stop a short distance away in the corridor.
“Hey, what’s this?” David suddenly asked. He reached down and plucked away a folded piece of paper from under the edge of Don’s vest. It had been dislodged as he’d pulled Don from the room. He unfolded it and saw that it was a note.
“What’s it say?”
David turned the paper so Don could read the messy scrawl for himself.
‘Don’t waste your time looking, we’ve gone where you won’t find us. Chalk this up as a Satanic cult as you usually do but it’s all over, there will be no more deaths. PS: Sorry about the head.’
“You think that this really could be it?”
Don gave it a moment’s thought as he rubbed at the side of his head at the reminder of Dean’s blow. “Maybe. They killed thirteen people. That’s a magic number for Satanists, right? They didn’t kill me. Maybe they’ve reached their quota.”
David re-read the note. “Or maybe they’ve just moved on to start somewhere else.”
“Yeah. Or maybe that.” Don agreed.
He really hoped they were wrong but he didn’t believe they were. From what Dean had said moments before knocking him out they were taking their show on the road. If they started up somewhere else he could see another thirteen lives being taken. The Los Angeles Field Office had thrown everything they could at the case but they’d had no luck in preventing the deaths that had occurred over the last three weeks. Hell, he’d come far too close to getting killed himself.
As the EMTs finally arrived and started fussing over him, Don knew that they, the FBI, had their work cut out for them. The murderous brothers had just made it back onto the FBI’s most wanted list.
Sam and Dean Winchester, two names Don was not going to forget in a hurry.
Link to sequel - Explained