Title: Number One Fan
Rating: R for violence and language
Word count: ~8700
Spoilers: For 7x23
Warnings:Kidnapping, pummeling, non-explicit animal abuse, non-explicit bad-touching.
Disclaimer: None of this ever happened and hopefully never will.
Author’s note: Non-au, based on a prompt over at spnkink_meme
Author's note 2: Chuck: Is this some kind of Misery thing?
Me: Yes, Chuck. Yes it is.
Summary: Jared is kidnapped by a strange man who keeps calling him Sam...
“Huh!” He jerks awake in confusion, is almost immediately engulfed in pain. Everywhere. Everything.
“Oh thank god,” says a fervent voice somewhere beside him.
“Shhh. Don’t try to talk. You.… took a nasty blow to the head.”
His eyes slide slowly to the left, seeking the source of the voice, but he’s seeing double and his head throbs angrily, hot red pulses that radiate from his temple all the way down to his fingertips.
“Poor Sammy,” says the strange voice as a clammy hand pushes his hair away from his face. “You look worse than that time you died.”
That makes no kind of sense, nothing makes sense, and everything hurts. His hands feel itchy and weird, his back aches, one of his knees seems kinda messed up, and Christ, his head… but the worst seems to be his left shoulder, where something is very, very wrong. Did he screw up another stunt? He feels like he fell off a fucking building. He must have really fucked up this time. He closes his eyes and slumps over in his chair again, welcoming the darkness.
* * *
“Here Sammy, you need some water. Can you take a drink?”
Everything is still kind of shimmery and fuzzy when he opens his eyes again. His head throbs with the beat of his heart and his shoulder … the pain is so intense that his stomach lurches unpleasantly. As he slowly lifts his head, he sees a very blurry, very large man hovering over him, twisting his hands together.
“How do you feel?” the man asks anxiously.
“Awf’l. Wha happen?” he mumbles, as he tries to push himself up with his good leg. He stumbles at the movement, falls back hard in the chair. Confused, he tries again, fails again.
“Hey, man, he’p me up?”
“You just stay right there, Sammy. I’m going to take care of you.”
He closes his eyes slowly and lets his head droop towards his good shoulder. Takes a breath. Another. Hopes that when he opens his eyes again the world will start making some kind of sense.
His hair is tickling his face and when he tries to brush it away, he notices that his hand is not following orders. Ten-hut soldier, he tells his hand. Still it doesn’t obey.
His eyes flutter open and he studies his right arm. Huh. Looks weird. All black and plasticky. He squints and finally brings his vision into focus.
His hand has been swallowed up by some kind of black…mitten? He tilts his head to the left. Huh. Both hands. Wrapped up in some…boxing glove type thing. And … and his wrists are handcuffed to the arms of a chair.
He sits up straighter, sudden surge of fear clearing the cobwebs from his brain.
“—the fuck is this?”
“It’s okay, Sam. Don’t panic.”
“What. The. FUCK. IS GOINGON?” he shouts, yanking his wrists roughly against the scarred wooden arms of the chair.
Panic and adrenaline override even the hellish agony in his shoulder. He thrashes wildly, desperate to free his arms. Suddenly the world swoops around him and he’s cracking the back of his head against something very hard and unforgiving. The pain in his shoulder flares, agonizingly bright. Even though he’s stopped moving the world continues to dip and spin, and he’s sure he’s going to lose his lunch.
“Oops. I was afraid of that,” says the voice, sounding farther and farther away.
He sucks in a breath, dizzy and winded, wondering why he’s looking up at the ceiling. The broken pieces of the chair he’s cuffed to sag and groan around him like a dying animal.
“It’s okay Sammy, I’m here,” says the voice. He looks up into a pair of brown eyes, shining with sympathy.
“You’re so sad all the time, Sam,” the man says, reaching down to caress his cheek. “I just want to take care of you.”
Jared feels a fresh burst of terror squeeze his heart.
He is so screwed.
* * *
“My name is Jared,” he says for the thousandth time. The guy (“Dru-with-a-u”) ignores him, also for the thousandth time, as he picks up the pieces of the shattered chair and carries them outside.
“Jared! Jar-red! I’m an actor! What the fuck is wrong with you?”
Jensen would never have let himself be caught in this stupid, humiliating situation, Jared thinks sourly as he tugs and twists at his cuffs. Which are, yep, still made of steel.
After he’d toppled over in his chair there had followed a short and furious struggle between Jared and his captor. One of the chair arms had snapped off, giving Jared a chance to free his right hand and get in a punch or two.
A chance. Right. A punch. Riiiight. He was injured, hobbled, gloved, concussed, cuffed, dehydrated, and confused as all hell. Also, Dru’s like, 6’3 and probably has a hundred pounds on him. When he gets out of this mess he’s definitely telling people he fought like a champion but suspects all he managed to do was flail around like a fish in a rowboat. The scuffle was over quickly when Dru grabbed Jared’s left shoulder and squeezed, hard, pushing his considerable mass into it.
Jared had screamed in agony, and then he had cried. That detail was also going to be left out when he’s telling this story over beers in the hopefully very near future.
After the dirty trick with the shoulder, it had been nothing for Dru to manhandle Jared over to the dusty bed in the corner of the room and re-secure him.
He can see now that he’s in some sort of run-down cabin, really just one big room with a tiny kitchenette, a saggy brown couch, and the bed he’s currently lying on. Oh, and he’s pretty sure there’s a family of mice living in the couch. Hopefully mice.
He tries not to worry about the fact that there’s only the one bed. He’ll be well away from this shithole before nightfall anyway.
Dru had tried to stretch Jared’s arms over his head and cuff them to the headboard, but his left shoulder ached so bad he couldn’t raise it and when Du had tried to force it, Jared had finally lost the battle to keep his nausea under control and started puking down the front of his shirt.
“You might’ve broken your scapula,” Dru had said apologetically.
So, Plan B apparently was cuffing his wrists and ankles to a chain around his waist, like a prisoner under transport.
Jared does not like to think about what Plans C or D might involve.
Then, there’s the mitts. Don’t forget the goddamn-motherfucking-mitts.
After the fighting and flailing and crushing, and the manhandling and the puking, when Jared can finally control the dueling pains in his skull and his shoulder enough to think a little more clearly, he finally asks.
“Umm…Dru… the hell are these…things… on my hands?”
“Just a precaution,” Dru says as he picks up the pieces of the broken chair.
Jared’s hands are folded into fists and trapped in these bizarre gloves that are so tight, he can’t even wriggle his fingers. The loss of mobility, his thumb locked away and useless, causes such an intense feeling of helplessness that Jared is dizzy with impotent rage.
Dru straightens up and walks toward the bed. Jared shrinks back as much as possible, which isn’t much.
“I know how good you are at picking locks and getting out of handcuffs,” Dru explains, as he tips a bottle of water towards Jared’s dry lips. “I had to pick them up at a … specialty store,” he adds, blushing.
Jared looks at the mitts again, realizes they’re made of some PVC-type shit, and closes his eyes.
“I got the handcuffs on Amazon though,” Dru adds brightly.
“Were these the only things you bought at the … specialty store?” he asks, ashamed at the pitiful note of hope in his voice.
Dru turns away and goes back to fussing around in the kitchen.
So. He is one ball gag away from being the gimp in Pulp Fiction. Or, God, Marcellus Wallace.
Jared closes his eyes again and follows the fluttering wings of panic back down the rabbit hole.
* * *
Awake. Again. Agony. Again. Also, strange fabricky tickles on his chest and a gentle shhch, shhch sound.
“Gen?” he mumbles.
“It’s me, Sam. How do you feel?”
His eyes fly open. Fuck. It’s still not a nightmare.
Dru is standing over him with a wicked sharp pair of scissors, cutting his shirt to ribbons.
“Don’t you fucking touch me!” Jared yells, struggling to sit up.
“Calm down. You’re covered in vomit, I’m doing you a favor.”
Jared sees the shredded rags of his shirt falling around him. Man, Wardrobe was gonna be pissed.
As Dru continues snipping away at the sleeves, he begins to speak.
“I knew you would need me now,” he says. “I knew it was time to find you and take care of you.”
Jared gives up trying to sit, he can’t get any leverage with his hands cuffed in front of him. He just keeps jostling his broken shoulder. He’s playing a macabre game now of which he’d rather cut off to stop the pain. Head? Shoulder? Right now his head is leading by a hair. Haha. He imagines his skull as the edges of two tectonic plates grinding against one another.
“Continental drift,” he mumbles to the ceiling.
Hmmm. Maybe he does have a skull fracture.
Dru ignores him, gently lifting Jared up enough to ease the shirt from behind his back.
“When I learned you’d been left alone again, that Dean was gone, I knew you’d need my help.”
Jared’s only half listening. He’s mostly wondering how long it took Gen to notice he was missing. And then how much longer to realize something might be wrong and he hadn’t just wandered off like the goofball he was. If he was grateful for one thing, just one, it was that she hadn’t been with him when this happened.
“So if I can just keep you safe till Dean returns—”
“He’s in Purgatory you know. You probably figured that out. Crowley could have been a little more helpful but I knew you’d figure it out.”
“Dude. Fuck. There is no Crowley. There is NO DEAN!”
“Tssh. That temper of yours. You make really bad decisions when Dean’s not around, Sammy. I’m just trying to protect you from yourself.”
Jared tries to sit up again. “So, wait, if I promise not to do that…thing…I did last time, the blood thing, right? If I don’t do that will you let me go?”
“I’m doing this for you, Sam. It’s for your own good.”
Jared is quiet for a minute, wondering how long he can continue arguing with a man who’s clearly deranged before his head actually breaks apart, and then says uneasily, “Why are you cutting off my t-shirt? It’s fine, really, totally clean, no puke—” But then it’s gone too, to be discarded with the busted chair and the blue plaid shirt that he had totally been planning to return.
He thinks of all those rows of tees and henleys and plaid shirts safely locked up, waiting for him and Jensen to return, and he feels homesick.
Jared clears his throat. “Kinda cold in here, you maybe have a shirt for me?”
Dru is silent. He sets down the scissors and then puts his hand back on Jared’s chest, slowly tracing the lines of his chest and stomach muscles.
* * *
Jared hates watching himself act under the best of circumstances. Now, watching his onscreen persona fake-fuck his actual wife—while he’s being cuddled by a very large, very crazy superfan—Jared feels like he’s trapped in a Mobius strip of insanity.
Earlier, it had taken 10 minutes of Jared babbling a steady stream of cheerful-sounding nonsense before Dru had snapped out of it and stopped stroking Jared’s bare chest. Even during the (assault oh holy fuck) whatever it was, he knew he should be grateful that Dru’s hands hadn’t strayed below his waist (yet, a nasty voice whispered in his mind), and that he was still wearing his jeans (for now). That Dru had put the scissors down, instead of tracing the sharp edges of the blades along the same paths his hands were currently moving. The trick, finally, had been to throw ‘Jared’ under a bus and start pretending he was Sam Fucking Winchester.
“So, hey, this is nice ’n all,” he’d said, his voice sounding absurdly fake to his own ears, “but you…you should really stop touching me. Dean’s not gonna like it.”
Dru’s hands had stilled, though they were still splayed out over his naked skin.
“He’s just, heh, you know how protective he is.”
And finally, Dru had pushed himself away and stood up, bending to retrieve the soiled and tattered shirts and taking them outside.
That nightmare had been followed by a shuffling, awkward trip to the tiny bathroom off the kitchen so humiliating that Jared couldn’t bring himself to think about it. Didn’t want to think about it ever.
“You gonna take these things off my hands?” he’d asked as he limped his way into the bathroom.
And no, Dru was not.
Jared had never tried to take a leak before with someone else aiming his cock for him, and he hoped fervently never to have to do it again. He was surprised he could even start, he was so ashamed and repulsed, but he’d been knocked out for a long time and his bladder was uncomfortably full.
On his way back to the bed he’d spotted the rubber mallet sitting on the kitchen table.
He had already been starting to piece together the events that led him here, though his memories were still a jumbly confusion. But he definitely recognized that mallet as the source of every fresh hellish pain in his body, and he wanted nothing more than to grab it and start beating Dru until his insides were a mushy pulp.
He’s barely hanging on after the (don’t think about the bathroom, just don’t think about it everever) walk around the cabin, but seeing that fucking mallet resting on the table, still speckled with Jared’s blood, sent a new wave of rage through his body.
He took a deep, shuddery breath and tried to force himself to calm down. There was no way a fight right now would end in anything but another broken bone. His body was so wrecked that even without the chains he could barely fucking move, and the walk to the bathroom, his slow steps a pitiful shuffle slide, shuffle slide, had awakened the pain in his twisted knee to the point where it was trying to give his broken head and busted shoulder a run for the money.
So. So he’d just have to wait it out. Someone would find him soon, right? People had to be looking for him.
He pulled himself together enough to make it back to the bed without launching himself at Dru in a self-destructive rage.
“Hey man, I could sit on the couch,” he’d offered shakily, but Dru ignored him.
So, back to the bed, sitting up against the headboard, shoulder screaming, head pulsing like an egg sac about to burst, with the helpful addition of a spasming knee.
After the …events… of the last half hour (oh god, he was touching me) Jared had wanted to close his eyes and forget he existed. But Dru had pulled the remaining kitchen chair up beside the bed and just sat there, watching him. Jared tried to ignore him, hoping if he slept he might be able regain some strength (hah), but being watched was too unsettling.
Plus, he was starting to realize that a quiet Dru was a …handsy Dru. A Dru who preferred him stretched out on the bed. A Dru who may or may not have a stash of even more appalling items that he’d picked up at “specialty” stores.
So, Jared gave in and started talking. Or rather, let Sam start talking.
“So, my, er, my brother, he’s going to be looking for me, you know,” he said, staring at the ceiling to avoid looking at the shiny gloves that suffocate his hands.
“I’ll keep you safe right here till he gets back.”
“Other, um, other people too, probably wondering where I am.”
“I don’t think so, Sam,” Dru leaned forward and rested his elbows on his meaty thighs. “You’re alone in the world now. That’s why I knew you needed me.”
Right. Fucking writers. “I, um, I was supposed to be on a, um, hunt,” he tried again, feeling like a fool for talking about ghost hunting like it’s an actual thing. “People could—there’s this monster, thing—”
“You’re not really in any shape to be hunting right now.”
No shit, you hammer-swinging dick, he’d thought savagely. But he tried to do some of that deep breathing stuff again to keep his emotions in check. Raging and flailing was not going to get him anywhere.
When Jared had run out of things to say that Sam might talk about, Dru had pulled a laptop from one of the duffels lined up against the wall (the contents of which Jared had very consciously not been thinking about) and set it on the bed. Before climbing on the bed with him.
But Dru hadn’t gotten too close (although really, Venezuela would be too close as far as Jared was concerned). Instead he’d set the laptop between them and queued up Netflix.
And now Jared is trapped watching himself make out with his wife on tv while Dru chastises him for his life choices.
“I really, really don’t want to watch this,” Jared says, again, but of course Dru has extremely selective hearing. God, he hadn’t even wanted to think about Gen while he was trapped here, like just imagining her while he was in this hell would defile her somehow. And now he’s not allowed to look away from her.
He focuses on the keys of the laptop so he doesn’t have to look at the images, though of course he can still hear her voice, that snide tone that he doesn’t hear very often in real life. He remembers filming this, of course, how awkward it had been, how they were already into each other but trying to keep it a secret. Remembers how much it sucked to get half-naked on a soundstage full of teamsters.
Thinks about how much it sucks to be half-naked on a bed in front of Dru.
“That demon bitch really fucked you up,” Dru is saying, and Jared tries to shut down his depressing train of thought and follow the ‘conversation’ again. “And you’re not even over her. I saw her picture in your wallet.”
Huh. Gen’s picture. In his wallet. Huh.
Icy dread spreads over Jared slowly like a poisonous fog. This psycho, this crazy fuck, who had been hanging out only a block from Jared’s house, waiting for him to stroll by like the oblivious fool he is… and how had Jared been so stupid, so completely fucking stupid, to assume Gen was safe at home, wondering where he was? What if she was, if she was, if he had….
He stops breathing while the implications of this possibility play through his mind in a hideous series of crime scene photos. Gen dead. Gen shot. Gen stabbed. Gen dead.
“You…” he gasps, struggling for control. “You haven’t seen her, have you? Dru? Have you seen Ruby??” Oh god. Oh god ohgod.
“Of course not, Sam. She’s dead.”
“She’s, she’s,” and he’s still struggling to breathe.
“Dean killed her. You were there.”
“And you, you,” deep breath, “haven’t seen her since? Since Dean killed her?” He tries to feel relief but this guy is so clearly incapable of telling fantasy from reality.
“How could I? Though I think he might run into her in Purgatory.”
Oh god. She was safe, right? She had to be safe. Of course she was safe. She was probably, she was probably out having sushi with her friends. Or at the movies. Or…no, that would be stupid. Her husband was missing. Okay, but even if she’s sitting by the phone unhappy, she was safe. She had to be safe. She was safe.
This time Jared wants to pass out, just to get away from his aching body and the rabbity panic in his chest, but he stays alert. He shifts himself as close to the wall as possible and pretends to fall asleep though, and after awhile he’s calm enough to actually drift off on waves of pain. He listens with half an ear to the oddly comforting sounds of Jensen and Misha doing their Batman growls at each other before sliding into an uneasy, nightmare-filled sleep.
* * *
Jared stares at a slice of moonlight on the ceiling, mentally cataloging his wounds. Wondering which ones might be fatal, if he doesn’t get out of this mess soon.
Dru snores softly next to him. The laptop has gone dark.
He’d snapped awake a few minutes ago to find Dru’s hand resting on his stomach, but a quick reflexive swat with his mitt and it had retreated.
Still, there’s no going back to sleep now. Not with that hand ready to crawl back across his defenseless body like a fat ugly spider.
He starts with his toes and works up to his head, trying to remember how each injury occurred.
Some of his aches are the result of his confinement; his lower back has started twinging because he can’t stretch his arms or move his torso very well. The skin beneath the chain around his middle is raw and abraded from the constant grinding of metal against flesh, and his bare ankles are torn and bleeding in a few spots. His fingers, forced into fists for so many hours, have begun to cramp painfully. He flexes them as much as he can, but it doesn’t really help. He figures the mitts were designed to be one-size-fits-all, a designation that’s never really worked for him.
Also, he has to pee again, which he’s trying very hard not to think about, for many reasons. He’d been tempted to just let his bladder go and damn the embarrassment, until he imagined Dru stripping away his jeans with the same scissors that had destroyed his shirts.
(He’ll say he’s doing you a favor because you’re covered in piss. )
But those are all minor annoyances in the scheme of things, so he focuses on the injuries he received from Dru’s fucking rubber mallet.
(He could have used a hammer, you know. Pierced right through the skull. )
The last blow he remembers receiving is the one to his head, and he glumly wonders how long he’s going to last if his brain is bleeding.
* * *
28 hours earlier
“Hey!,” a man calls, waving to him from the other side of the street. Jared sees a beefy guy kneeling on the ground in front of a white cargo van.
It’s a beautiful night, sky the deepest blue of twilight before it begins to sink into black, and a soft breeze plays at his hair.
“Hey, can you help me? Someone just hit my dog!”
“Sit, girl, stay,” Jared says, dropping the leash and jogging across the road. Behind him, Sadie whines. He kneels down next to the injured animal, a terrier mix that is clearly dying. The dog rolls her eyes up to him in misery and he says, “It’s okay girl, we’ll get you fixed you up.” The dog pants shallowly, already on her way out.
“Can you help me lift—” Jared says, and looks over his shoulder to see the man swinging a mallet.
He ducks instinctively but the blow connects anyway, brutally smashing into his left shoulder and sending him sprawling. He scrapes his face along the pavement, skinning his forehead above his right eye. He doesn’t really feel the pain in his shoulder, not yet, as his body is flooded with adrenaline. But when he tries to push himself back up, his left arm won’t cooperate at all. Instead he rolls onto his right side, just in time to see the hammer swinging down again, slamming into his thigh with bruising force.
The man grabs him under his bad arm and tries to shove him into the van’s interior but Jared twists in his grasp, kicks out with his good leg. That earns him a blow to the stomach, and he’s doubled over wheezing. The world shifts underneath him as he’s forced into the van on his knees. He’s gasping for air but makes one last dive for freedom, fighting his way towards the open door. The man grabs his leg, twisting it roughly as he hauls him back in, and Jared feels the cartilage in his knee come tearing loose. He’s pretty much down for the count at that point as his shoulder finally begins to send up searing flares of pain that race up his neck and down his arm. Still, the guy must decide Jared isn’t totally incapacitated. As he slumps on the floor of the van, struggling to catch his breath, a final swing of the mallet nails him in the back of his skull. He doesn’t know anything else until he wakes up here in hell.
* * *
Obviously, the blow to his skull is the most troubling.
(Blows. You smashed your melon again going over in the chair.)
His shoulder is excruciating but not life-threatening, and his knee might actually be benefiting from the enforced bed rest.
(Lucky he didn’t break your femur. He probably pulled his swings a little.)
His blinding headache has finally begun to recede, which Jared thinks is maybe a good sign. His thoughts are not as chaotic (not as brain-damaged) as when he’d first come around cuffed to a chair. Still, he’s not exactly lucid.
For one thing, he’s pretty sure the voice that keeps whispering in his brain is Sam’s.
* * *
About an hour later, Jared has another claustrophobic freak-out. Time is crawling along as the sky slowly turns gray with the breaking of dawn. He stares longingly at the laptop, so goddamn close. He could reach it if he dug his heels in at the foot of the bed and scooched himself down a little, but then what? Bat at the keys like a cat? His salvation is five inches away and he can’t get to it because of these stupid, awful, MITTS—he wants to scream and smash things, and his self-control slips as he again suffers the crushing helplessness of not being able to so much as wriggle his fingers.
Fuck, fuck, Dru’s still sound asleep and the computer, with GODDAMN WIFI, is right fucking there…he jerks at the cuffs, tries to flex his fingers against the confining mitts, and thrashes against the chains in helpless fury. He yanks and twists his arms, desperate to free himself from his bizarre prison.
Finally, the jagged bones grinding together in his shoulder dissolve his fury, and his struggles taper off. Breathing heavily, he closes his eyes as tears of frustration leak from the corners of his eyes.
In the end, of course, all he managed to do was disturb his captor’s sleep. Dru makes a snuffling sound and scoots closer until his chest is pressed against Jared’s side.
(Well, that was helpful.)
Shut up, Winchester.
* * *
Dru is cleaning up the remains of breakfast in the kitchenette. He had hand-fed Jared a piece of dry toast and some orange segments that he could barely choke down. He knows he should be ravenous, it’s been almost two days since he remembers eating anything, but the thought of food makes his stomach curdle.
(Probably bleeding out from your guts. You gotta get out of here, man. )
He tried to refuse even the toast but Dru had insisted. As he ate small bites from Dru’s fat fingers, Jared kept waiting for another burst of anger from this newest humiliation, but it never came. On top of all the other indignities Dru had put him through since flagging him down on the street, including a second mortifying trip to the bathroom, it doesn’t even register. In fact, if he were to rank every degrading thing that had happened to him Dru first flagged him down—
(Yeah, let’s not do that.)
The quick glimpse of his face in the bathroom mirror had shocked him and Jared had to look away fast. His skin was gray, and cavernous shadows circled his eyes. The scrapes on his face from smashing headfirst on the pavement stood out luridly against his waxy skin. His eyes had a haunted quality he’s never seen in them before, and he looked so much like a fucking victim that he couldn’t stand the sight of himself.
Once Dru had deposited him back on the bed, he had carefully stowed the laptop away and now dabs at Jared’s face and chest with a wet washcloth. He’s quiet, too quiet, which Jared recognizes as a neon flashing danger sign.
“So, Dru, where are we anyway? Maybe, uh, maybe Dean and I’ve been here before?”
Nothing. Dru continues to wipe invisible toast crumbs away.
“Did we work a case near here? You’d probably know better than me.”
Nothing. Jared shifts uncomfortably.
“Dru? Hey man, you in there?”
Dru leaves the damp washcloth on his chest and spider-walks one of his tarantula hands down lower until it rests on Jared’s belt buckle.
“I know what kinds of filthy things you did with the Devil,” Dru says suddenly, his voice thick.
“You can tell me, Sammy. You can tell me everything.” His hand moves down to the fly of Jared’s jeans.
Jared twists and jerks in his chains.
“Dru!” he shouts. “Back the fuck off!”
And Dru does, somehow he does. The hazy look in his eyes clears, and he straightens up again, snatches up the cloth, and stalks into the bathroom.
Jared turns his head to the wall and waits for the jackhammering of his heart slow down.
Dru’s in the bathroom a long time.
Dru is watching the show again, peppering Jared with helpful suggestions. (“Not to tell you your job Sam, I know you’re a good hunter, but you should have figured that one out sooner.”) Jared tries to ignore him while he works out how he’s going to get himself out of this mess.
Because…because it’s been almost two days. If somebody had seen him getting thrown into a van, wouldn’t he have been found by now? It’s seeming less and less likely that a SWAT team’s gonna burst through the flimsy screen door and spirit him to safety.
He has no idea how far they drove while he was unconscious in the back of the van, and no idea where he is now.
It’s terribly disorienting to realize he has no idea where he is. How can he not know where he is? He sees himself as a tiny sailboat lost in a vast gray sea, and feels the clawing panic start to return.
(That’s not helping. Breathe. Assess.)
So. Okay. He’d done some assessing earlier while Dru was in the bathroom, examining his bonds for weak spots. It was the first chance he’d had to test his restraints methodically, away from Dru’s prying eyes, and while he wasn’t in a state of blind terror or rage.
As awful as his situation is, it’s maybe not completely hopeless. For one thing, he isn’t actually secured to the bed. He’s hobbled by his chains—and his current lack of opposable thumbs—but he isn’t tied down. His ankles are cuffed together and a long chain secures his feet to a second chain that circles his stomach. If he can draw up his legs, he might be able to get in one good kick.
But his left knee feels hot and swollen, and refuses to bend no matter much he tries to persuade it. So it seems like kicking is off the table for now.
(What about the handcuffs? You can’t buy real ones on Amazon. They have to have a weak spot or some kind of release.)
Jared studies the cuffs. There does look to be some kind of quick-release mechanism along the sides near his thumbs, but he thinks maybe they’ve been filed down. Just the smallest nub sticks out of the right cuff, and when he casually tries to rub his hands together to trigger the spring against the other cuff, nothing happens.
(All right, leave that for now. There’s no point getting free while Dru’s right there.)
But, he thinks that he might have weakened the little swivel screw that attaches the links to the bracelet during his freak-out last night. Maybe if he can just push through the pain it would cause his shoulder, he can pry them apart with brute force.
As Jared stares fixedly at the cuffs, and especially the small screw that looks like it’s working loose, Dru pauses the video stream.
“What was it like when you were growing up?”
Jared is startled out of his musing. Dru is looking at him sympathetically, which makes him want to scream. Instead he closes his eyes.
He thinks about long Texas summers, his parents and siblings. Wonders if he’ll ever see them again.
Jared sighs. “What do you want to know?”
“It must have been so hard on you, travelling all the time.”
He shudders when a consoling hand pats his elbow.
“It was…” he really doesn’t know what to say.
Dru waits for more, and Jared finds himself making up rambling stories about sleazy motels and bad diner food until he finally trails off, exhausted.
(You gotta get out of here.)
What would you do? If it was you?
(Try to get a message to Dean.)
Great. Thanks. He’s as real as you are.
(Dru doesn’t know that.)
* * *
Could he get a message to—well, not Dean obviously, but Jensen, or someone in production? Could he trick Dru into strolling up to the gates of the studio, claiming he’s there to speak to Dean Winchester?
Would that actually work?
People must know he’s missing by now, so if a strange man turned up at the studio raving about the Winchester brothers, that should trigger some kind of an alarm. Right? Would Dru be arrested on the spot?
What if they take Dru into custody and he never tells anyone where Jared is? How long would it take him to stumble down off this mountain on his own? He’s pretty sure he’s in the mountains anyway, based on the limited view out the window and the quality of the air.
Okay, so, Jensen’s already back at work. Maybe if he tells Dru he knows where Dean is…he feels a faint stirring of hope that he could actually con Dru into giving himself up.
Then he imagines Dru walking onto the set with a semi-automatic in one hand and a sledgehammer in the other.
Smashing up innocent crew members while he shouts about saving Sammy.
Snatching Jensen and trussing him up like a rodeo steer, to die in this prison next to Jared.
Shooting his wife in the head because he thinks she’s a demon from hell.
(Don’t turn him loose on your friends. Just get him to make a call.)
Oh. That makes more sense.
* * *
Jared is scared to pull the trigger on this, his only plan, but it seems like time is of the fucking essence. He’s probably going to die of some awful blood infection if he doesn’t get his injuries treated.
Also, he’s going to have to piss again soon. Or worse.
A spasm of revulsion ripples through him.
Dru is heating up a can of chicken soup on the tiny stove. Jared is, of course, on the bed. He’s worked himself up to a seated position where he feels less vulnerable.
“Dru, he’s, he’s back. Dean’s back.”
Dru turns, studies his face, impassive. “How could you know that?”
“I had, I had a vision. Just now. He’s back, he’s, he made it back somehow. You have to call him for me.”
Dru returns to stirring his soup. “Don’t be ridiculous. You don’t have those anymore.”
“I did, I’m serious. I don’t know how, I don’t know how they work. Look, please just call him for me. Please.”
The metal spoon against the sauce pan produces a scraping sound that sets Jared’s teeth on edge.
Dru steps outside a few minutes later, returns with his cell phone. Jared holds his breath.
“For the record, I don’t believe you. But I’ll try anyway. Gimme the number.”
Dru turns his back for a long moment, waiting for the call to go through. Jared nervously flexes his cramped fists.
This has to work. Right? It has to.
Dru ends the call without speaking and Jared sags against the headboard, studying the way his swollen knee is distending his jeans.
“Who the fuck is Jen-sen?”
“Just, heh, some guitarist Je-Dean likes. You know….one of his fake names.”
Dru is quiet for several minutes, the stillness of the cabin broken only by his heavy breathing. Jared rubs his wrists together in slow circles, too scared to speak.
“Sam,” Dru says finally, his voice simmering with rage.
Jared looks up just in time to see the cell phone smash against the wall beside his head. He flinches; hot coils of fear twist in his gut.
Dru looks livid.
“I told you I’d keep you safe, Sam! I can protect you better than your brother!”
“Okay, it’s okay Dru, calm down.”
“Don’t you tell me what to do!” he shouts.
“I didn’t, I’m sorry, just please calm down…”
“You’re safer here with me!” Dru’s eyes are black with fury.
The pot of soup comes flying at Jared next, but it bounces off the foot of the bed and onto the floor. Chicken broth splashes across his feet; a noodle wraps itself around one of the links connecting his ankles.
“You’re not leaving me!”
Jared wracks his brain for something to say that will bring Dru back from the edge of insanity. He stares up at Dru, afraid to look away, aware of how helpless he is to defend himself against Dru’s rage.
So he watches Dru pick up the mallet from the table.
Watches Dru cross the room in three quick steps.
Watches Dru raise the mallet and slam it into his chest. Into his abdomen.
His vision is going dark again, and he misses the final smash that shatters his collarbone.
* * *
Jared moans. Pain is once again fragmenting his thoughts.
“Please wake up Sam. I’m sorry that…you got hurt.”
Breathing is difficult. Maybe a busted rib. His whole left side feels twisted and wrong, jagged shards that wrap around his collarbone and down his back.
“Doct’r” he mumbles.
“It’s okay Sam, I can fix you up.” A hand brushes his shoulder and he groans.
* * *
Dru is taping up his ribs as Jared fights to keep his breathing even.
“You gotta get me to a hospital,” he says. His tongue feels thick and heavy in his mouth, every word is an effort.
Dru clucks. “You can’t go to a hospital. How are you going to explain all this? We can’t exactly tell them you were attacked by a demon.”
Jared drifts in and out for awhile as Dru finishes taping up his torso and then moves down to wrap gauze around his raw and bleeding ankles.
“Don’t worry Sam. Nothing will happen to you as long as I’m around.”
At 8 o’clock Dru makes him eat a bowl of soup. By 9, Jared is vomiting blood.
* * *
The night is endless. Every time Jared starts to drift off, he inadvertently shifts or twitches and his body wakes up screaming. By morning he’s sick with fatigue, his body so wracked with pain he can no longer distinguish between his various injuries. It’s all just one throbbing, pulsating wall of hurt. If he concentrates, he can find spots on his body that don’t ache, and he tries to focus on those. His toes. His right knee. The tip of his nose.
He must look as terrible as he feels because it doesn’t take much convincing to get Dru to agree to go get him some medicine.
“Hospital?” he’d croaked.
“No Sam, that’s not possible. But I’ll see if I can get you some drugs to make you feel better.”
He lifts a bottle of water to Jared’s lips, then rechecks all the cuffs and chains.
“I won’t be long. You have to promise to stay in bed and be quiet.”
“’Kay.” he mumbles.
“You’ll feel better soon. I’ll get you fixed up.”
Jared looks at him sluggishly and then closes his eyes again.
He hears the screen door slam, the van start up. It all sounds very far away.
* * *
(Dammit, get up! )
Shut up, Winchester. I’m tired.
(Get up NOW! You don’t have much time.)
Jared blinks at the wall. The thought of standing, of moving around in this broken body, is almost too much to bear.
But he doesn’t want to die in this shitty cabin far away from his family. He doesn’t want that fucker Dru burying him in a shallow grave or salting and burning his body.
Groaning, he draws up his knees and eases his legs towards the side of the bed.
He swings his feet around and down and the rest of him follows with a thump. He collapses onto the dirty wooden floor; several minutes pass before he feels ready to move again.
Finally, he braces his right hand on the bed and slowly lifts himself up off the floor. His wrenched knee pulses angrily, but seems to be moving better than the last time he was on his feet.
Ten feet…eight…six… He shuffles his way slowly towards the kitchen table and the heavy rubber mallet resting atop it. Spots bloom before his eyes but he keeps moving forward. He’s aware of time moving very quickly as he creeps across the room.
When he finally plants his hands on the table he feels a flash of savage triumph. He stays there for another minute, swaying on his feet and breathing raggedly.
(Jared! Move your ass, man!)
He blinks at the mallet, then at the mitts imprisoning his hands. The weapon is useless if he can’t hold it.
He looks again at the buckles, thinking that if he could just get his teeth on them.…but there’s no way he’s flexible enough to reach his hands, tethered as they are to his hips.
(You’re gonna have to break the cuffs.)
He hooks one of his mitts through the back of the kitchen chair and drags it slowly to the edge of the room. He props his battered left shoulder against the wall, places a cuff on either side of the chair back, and pushes down with all his strength to force the swivel screw into snapping.
He takes a deep breath, as deep as he can with his cracked ribs, and pushes down again.
(Really Padalecki? How much can you bench? )
Fuck you Winchester. This is all your fault anyway.
But he grits his teeth, lines up the links so the weakened screw is pulled tight, and begins to bear down again.
Jared breathes. Pushes. Breathes. Pushes.
When the screw is finally stripped from its hole and his hands break apart, he’s too surprised to catch himself and ends up slamming his chest into the chair back. His splintered clavicle howls in protest and he topples to the floor, pulling the chair with him. He lies on his side, breathless and trying not to pass out. After a few seconds he raises his arms in front of his face, relishing the ability to move his hands independently again.
(You’re running out of time.)
Jared hauls himself back to a seated position and studies the mitt on his right hand. A black strap snakes around the wrist, fastened with a silver buckle like a belt. He takes the strap between his teeth, tugging his hand in one direction and his head in the other. He gags at the taste of the pleathery mitt. It’s tricky finding the proper angle he needs to pull the strap through the anchor.
After a couple of minutes he’s swearing in frustration. He closes his eyes, refocuses his attention, and tries again. And again. It takes several minutes for him to finally work the strap through the anchor and yank it free of the silver pin. He carefully threads the strap through the prong until it’s pulled free, flapping around his wrist.
Jared could cry with relief. He grips the tip of the glove with his teeth and yanks his arm out, finally freeing his hand of its suffocating prison. The air feels startlingly cool to his cramped, sweaty hand.
He reaches towards the left mitt to release his other hand but—his fingers won’t unfurl. They remain locked into a tight fist. He rubs them against his grungy jeans, then tries to flex them to work out the kinks, but his fingers feel dead and unresponsive.
(Okay, it’s okay. They’ll loosen up. Just get to your feet.)
Jared rests his head against the wall, reawakening the squashy lump on the back of his skull. He’s not sure how much time’s passed, how much more time he has. The way things have been going, Dru’s already halfway back.
He used to feel like a pretty lucky guy. Had that really only been three days ago?
He tucks his good leg in and slowly pushes himself up, using the chair to support some of his weight, and since when did standing become an Olympic fucking event? His leg is shaking by the time he’s finally upright, and he’s reminded of how little he’s eaten over the past few days, how little he’s been able to keep down.
(You need to find a weapon. Now.)
Right. He shuffles back over to the table, the mallet. But, Jared’s not sure he has the strength to swing it with the force he would need to take Dru down. A knife would be better. Or a gun.
(He probably has salt rounds in one of those bags.)
Jared barks a laugh. His ribs protest.
His right hand is starting to tingle, and he tries again to unclench his fingers. There’s a little more give this time. They’re loose enough that he’s actually able to slide the mallet’s handle into his fist. It’s going to have to do until he can find something easier to wield in his pathetic, weakened state. He contemplates the tool for a minute; touching it is unpleasant, as it has been the source of so much agony. One of his long hairs is stuck to the mallet’s face with dried blood.
Jared doesn’t hear the screen door open behind him but he does hear the thunderous crack it makes when it slams back against the frame.
* * *
Before Jared has time to process the slamming door, Dru is smashing into his back with what feels like the force of a freight train, crushing Jared’s face down into the table.
“Bad, Sammy. Very, very bad,” he grits, pressing down on Jared’s neck.
And oh, fuck, everything’s gone swimmy again as Jared gasps for air, taking in the scarred table top in extreme close-up.
Dru’s legs are pressed up against his, pinning his thighs to the edge of the table. Jared tries to twist out of his grasp but Dru’s other hand has found his busted shoulder and he grinds his fingers into it.
“You…said…you’d stay,” Dru grunts, grabbing a handful of his hair and snapping his head back.
Jared is aware of something digging into his sternum, and remembers the mallet crushed beneath him.
Too weak, he thinks, wondering how he can hit Dru with enough force to keep him away.
(Aim for his nose. Or an eye.)
Jared kicks back with his legs, connects, and Dru squawks as his knee hyperextends. He stumbles backwards, giving Jared enough room to push himself off the table and turn to face Dru.
“Sammy!” Dru cries, looking surprised. “That hurt!”
They stare at each other for a long moment. Dru rubs at his knee. Jared’s bad arm is wrapped around his middle and the mallet swings in his right hand.
“Stop…calling me…Sammy,” Jared snarls. Dru lunges toward him and Jared brings the mallet around with a force that surprises him, smashing it against his nose. Dru howls, and the look of stunned hurt on his face almost makes Jared laugh.
He advances on Dru, feeling stronger, feeling like Sam’s presence in his mind has infused him with power.
Dru tries to block his next blow and Jared sees the bones crumple in Dru’s wrist. Jared takes another step towards him, and Dru stumbles backwards, falling heavily on his ass.
Jared looms over his captor, face twisted with loathing. But as he pauses to catch his breath, Dru climbs to his knees and tackles Jared around the waist, bringing him down heavily onto his back. Jared screams at the bright stabs of pain in his shoulder and his bare feet scrabble on the floor. Then he brings up his knees, slamming them into Dru’s balls.
Dru makes a pitiful keening sound in his throat and Jared’s reminded of the dog Dru must have bludgeoned in order to lure him to this hellhole. He swings the mallet around and smashes it into Dru’s cheekbone. Dru collapses his full weight onto Jared. Blood trickles from his broken nose and lands on Jared’s chin. Disgusted, Jared shoves the heavy man off of him, and Dru flops onto his back with a groan. Jared rolls on top of him and pounds the mallet into Dru’s left ear.
Until Dru is still.
Then Jared pushes up, slowly, up to his feet. He sways as he looks down at the motionless body, wondering if he should strike again. Wanting to strike again.
(He’s gone, man. It’s over. Go home to your family.)
He watches Dru for another minute for signs of life before turning slowly towards the door. Distantly he thinks he should probably look through the duffel bags for the keys to his chains, but he can’t stay in this room for another second.
He pushes open the screened door with the mallet, still tightly clenched in his right hand. He steps into a clearing dappled by sunlight, the sky overhead a deep and peaceful blue. He breathes in air that is cool and sweet, sharply scented by the surrounding firs. Overhead, a mourning dove coos.
He’s alive. Somehow, he’s alive.
But Sam is gone, if he had ever really been there; Jared stands alone on the wooded mountainside. Free.
A sequel, of sorts: Comin' Down the Mountain