Two: The Beast Within
Thru Terry's Eyes & Tree
John choked as Zack finally broke down, head hanging,
shoulders shaking, tears as well as blood now splattering
his jeans. “What yours?” John snarled. “You
don’t have any family, you bastard! Everyone knows
laughed and the sound burned Sam’s ears. “Well,
guess again, John!” He coughed, bloody saliva
dripping from his mouth as he sneered in disgust. “You
think you’re the only man in this that has anything
to protect? To lose?” Zack laughed again,
shaking his head. “God…I tried so hard to
keep them out of this…” It was as though
he was talking to himself. “For them not to know
what I... I just wanted to keep them safe!”
He burst out, lunging against the ropes that held him.
jerked back involuntarily, glancing quickly at John,
not altogether sure this wasn’t some kind of trick
considering Zack’s current track record for betrayal.
could have been formed from stone he stood so rigid
and still, only his eyes moved, narrowing as he stared
at Zack. A chill iced his blood as he listened to Zack
mumble to himself, rocking against his bindings, making
the chair creak rhythmically.
grabbed the chair behind him and yanked it closer, seating
himself so that his knees almost touched Zack’s.
He stretched out a hand and caught Zack’s chin,
forcing the other man’s head up to meet John’s
talk to me …” John growled, deep in his
throat. “Talk to me now. Justify this. What you
did to my family, to Dean!” I dare you,
his tone implied. “Or I swear to God, I will kill
you where you sit.”
sensed more than saw Sam come up to stand next to him,
saw his son’s fingers curl over the grip of his
gun, keeping it at ready. The intensity and anger that
had been rolling off his youngest son since the previous
day startled him, but didn’t surprise him. He
knew that Sam was as worried and focused on finding
Dean as he was.
rolled his eyes at John, snorting. “I have
a family, John. Surprise! I chose not
to make them a part of this, to keep them hidden, a
secret. Is that so shocking, knowing what we deal with?
What our lives are like?”
lying“ John interrupted flatly, wanting it to
be a lie. Needing it to be.
not lying!” Zack yelled in John’s face,
spittle flying. “Is it so damned hard to believe
that someone else could have people they love besides
you? People they would do anything to protect?”
Zack’s eyes moved to Sam. “I have a son
and daughter! We don’t see each other often. Their
mother and I separated, but we still kept in touch.
She died…” Zack’s eyes closed and
his head dropped as John suddenly released him, sitting
and John exchanged looks, faces tight.
fought to get himself under control. “All this
time,” he gasped. “They never knew about
any of this and no one knew about them. I thought they’d
be safe…I didn’t want them growing up in
this world, didn’t want them to end up like your
-“ Zack cut himself off with a snap, eyes shooting
to John in a panic.
stiffened, face darkening.
dropped a hand on his shoulder. “Dad -“
he murmured warningly.
shook him off like a fly. “You son of a bitch!”
he exclaimed grabbing Zack by the shirtfront and dragging
him up chair and all. “How DARE you judge
me! You think I wanted this for my family?
For my sons - ?“
pulled at him. “Dad! Please! This isn’t
felt the desperation in Sam’s grip, fighting his
was Haris!” Zack cried. “He found them,
dammit! My daughter called and said Daniel was acting
crazy, had been arrested for assault and was under psychiatric
evaluation.” Zack felt John slowly lowering the
chair back to the ground. “I rushed out there.
God, he was possessed, John.” Zack’s
face twisted in pain at the memory, the horror of that
moment of discovery. “I knew the minute I saw
noise poured out of him, his head falling back as he
struggled against the ropes that held him. “He
did that to my boy…the sweetest kid God ever put
on the earth. He’d never hurt anyone. Never! And
now -“ Zack’s head snapped up and he cried
out, eyes blazing. “Haris came to me, told me
what he’d done. What he was gonna do
if I didn’t help him! Kill Daniel, Amelia, her
husband…their baby…my grandchild!”
He spat his next words in a blast of fury, straight
in John’s face. “They’re my family,
John! What was I supposed to do? What would you have
done?” He cackled dementedly. “You’d
put a bullet through my head right now if you thought
it’d save Dean. Hell, you’d do anything.”
He hissed, leaning closer, head twisted at an angle.
“What makes you so different from me?”
let go his grip so suddenly Zack and the chair tumbled
backwards with a thud. He towered over Zack, fists balled,
contempt in is eyes. “He promised you they’d
be safe if you betrayed us-" John sneered. “And
you believed him?“
locked eyes with John. “I had to, you self righteous
son of a bitch! I didn’t have any choice!”
moved forward but Sam grabbed him once again and put
himself between John and Zack.
He pushed against John. “Calm down! We need him
to help find Dean!”
glared at Sam for a moment and then suddenly twisted
away and slammed through the door into the next room,
leaving San gaping after him.
-" Zack began, still on his back. Sam heaved the
chair upright once again and kicked it.
up!” he snapped, watching the still swinging door.
* * * *
stormed through the door into the small kitchen, leaving
it swinging wildly behind him.
furious pressure that had been building inside him demanded
release. In desperation he grabbed one of the chairs
and swung it into the wall, splintering it into kindling.
him! John swore internally. He punched the wall
with the side of his fist, unsure what filled him with
more anger, the unwanted knowledge Zack had confessed
to them or the inference that he and John were not so
couldn’t stop the thoughts that tumbled through
his mind. What would he have done to spare
Sam and Dean from this life? To give them the normality
that Sam hungered for and Dean had no concept of.
was a moot point. Their destinies were bound up in seeing
this through to the end. Sam and Dean were a part of
it, integral players in a game none of them really knew
how to play. What lengths would he have gone to then,
if he’d had a choice? What lengths was he willing
to go to now?
life was on the line, God only knew what that bastard
Haris, was doing to him. What he planned on doing to
Sam, if he got his hands on him. He was dealing with
the same wrenching decision Zack had dealt with. And
try as he might, John couldn’t deny the truth
of Zack’s words. If he could have saved Mary…saved
them all from the never ending nightmare of what their
lives had become…
slammed his fist into the wall once again, swearing
angrily. He sucked in a lungful of air and spun on his
heel, back across the room and straight-arming through
the door, jerking his knife from the sheath as he did
* * *
Sam stood as John burst back into the room, looking
even angrier than before if such a thing were possible.
He pulled his knife, the flashing blade bouncing light
into Zack’s eyes as John crossed to him.
Zack cried out, instinctively flinching back, as John’s
knife rose, then slashed downward.
No!” Sam yelped, leaping forward.
arms fell limply forward as the pressure from the ropes
holding him was abruptly released. Stunned but wary,
Zack looked up, rubbing the raw flesh on his wrists
are you doing?” he asked hesitantly, jerking back
again as John slammed the knife into the post beside
Zack’s chair and stood there for a moment, staring
into the area behind Zack before drawing breath and
speaking in a low, intense voice.
they keeping Dean at the old army base?”
licked dry lips, glancing up at Sam nervously, then
reluctantly at the back of John’s head.
don’t know.” Stiffening as John turned to
stare at him, hand still curled around the knife grip.
“I swear, John! God, I swear!”
started to rise, but Sam stepped forward, lifting his
gun, stopping him. “They probably are!”
He exclaimed. “Haris is mobilizing, but as far
as I know he’s still using that for his base.”
Zack used his shirtsleeve to wipe blood from his face,
eyes on the floor. “I’m sorry, John.”
And he meant it. “I wish I knew for sure -“
released the knife and turned back toward Zack. “Help
us,” he said. “Help us get Dean back. He
doesn’t deserve this.”
can’t,” Zack replied hoarsely. “My
family…if Haris found out I was helping you –"
Zack struggled unsteadily to his feet, shaking his head.
stretched out one hand to halt Sam’s forward movement,
with the other he caught Zack’s arm, closing his
eyes briefly. “Please,” John whispered,
and only Sam knew what that word cost him. “We’ll
protect your family. Keep them safe -"
pulled his arm away, laughing bitterly. “Protect
them?” he replied contemptuously. “No offense,
John, but you haven’t been able to protect your
family from its own curse. How the hell are
you gonna protect mine?’
looked up, brows drawing together. “The curse?”
he snapped, eye shooting first to John then to Zack,
both of whom ignored him. “Zack?” he demanded.
“Dad, what curse? Dammit, somebody tell me what
you’re talking about!”
and John stared at each other for another long moment.
“I’m sorry, John. I am.” Zack hung
his head. “For every damned thing, but I can’t
help you, not this time, not with my own family at risk.”
He lifted his face to meet John’s eyes, man to
man, one desperate father to another. “You of
all people should be able to understand.”
sighed and nodded, rubbing his hand across his mouth,
fingers scratching over his beard. “Yeah, I know.”
He turned away. “Sam -"
annoyed at having his questions ignored, jerked. “Yessir?”
tossed Sam the Impala keys. “Take Zack back to
town, let him go. Then come straight back. We’re
heading for Tennessee.” His voice was tired, desolate.
grabbed John’s arm. “What? You’re
letting him go? Just like that?” He cried, outraged.
“What about Dean? What’s this curse stuff
Zack was talking about - ?” Unwilling to be denied,
eyes bouncing angrily between the two battered veterans.
gave Sam a look, his mouth twisted in a sad smile. His
eyes moved to John, clearly reading the message his
eyes were broadcasting. Zack shook his head, John
you damned, stubborn fool…
just shooting my mouth off, Sam.” Zack said, turning
toward the door. “Let’s go.”
tightened his grip on John’s arm. “No! Dad?
What did he mean?” he pleaded.
pulled his arm free. “What’s going on,”
he stated, “is that you are gonna take Zack back
to town and then get your ass back here as fast as you
can so we can go after your brother!” he was more
harsh than he wanted to be but he was not having this
gave Sam a slight shove which Sam began to resist then
gave up with an angry huff of air and a sharp roll of
not done here!” He spat. “Come on!”
he growled at Zack, shoving him ahead.
the door Sam looked back at his father but John had
turned away, his fingers curled once again around the
handle of the knife he had stabbed into the post, his
forehead resting against the end of the grip.
mouth tightened, eyes flickering, then he followed Zack
out the door.
* * * *
at the Abandoned Base
like your brother Dean, if I can’t have you, then
no one can. I’ll get that amulet off of you if
I have to cut your head off to do it.” Haris
growled as his hand began to move.
knife moved the barest of fractions, a thin line of
crimson appearing at the crease of Dean’s neck.
The blade was the epitome of sharp, its edge honed to
the thinness of a slip of paper. So sharp in fact, that
as it cut into his flesh there was no real perception
of pain. Had it not been for the warm stickiness of
his blood following gravity and pooling in the small
divot of his collarbone, Dean might not have even realized
he had been cut; not that he cared in the least anymore.
Blood and the dull thumping in his chest were the only
indicators that he was still alive; everything else
that he used to define himself was gone.
had been gone forever, destroyed by a demon that viewed
her as nothing more than a gnat to be swatted aside
in a quest to obtain his brother so many years ago.
In his mind, Dean could remember her vividly. Long blonde
hair surrounded her face creating a glow about her even
when the only source of illumination was the nightlight
at the doorway to his bedroom. Laughing eyes, crystal
clear blue that managed to brighten even more when she
looked down into his small face as she tickled him unmercifully.
Her soft voice, lilting and gentle, soothing away hurts
as easily as she read him stories.
was gone now too, killed alongside men that had shared
his determination to remove evil from the face of the
earth. A tough man, not just in physical measures, but
in sheer resolve, his father had been a rock in nearly
every aspect of his life. Strong arms that tossed a
four year old into the air and just as easily caught
him on the way back down, had easily borne the weight
of a twenty-four year old with a broken leg out of the
woods during a thunderstorm. The same grease-blackened
hands that had so skillfully worked on engines and transmissions
had also placed sutures with surgical precision. Never
verbose, when his father talked, a few simple and well
chosen words spoke volumes, but never nearly as much
as his eyes, especially when he thought no one was watching.
could barely bring himself to admit the truth. What
more proof had he needed than the bloodstained knife
currently carving into the soft tissue of his neck?
Hazy memories meant nothing compared to that stark evidence
of his treachery.
void left behind by the loss of Mom and Dad hurt, was
in fact absolutely excruciating, but it couldn’t
compare to the agonizing abyss that Sam’s death
by his very own hand left in him now. Dean may not have
truly believed in God, but he did believe in souls,
and his own was now as barren and lifeless as a desert
at high noon.
years of being the ever-watchful guardian, teacher,
and surrogate parent, but first and foremost, the big
brother and he had reduced all that to wasted time with
a flick of his demon-possessed hand.
I failed you!’ his conscience wordlessly
was vaguely aware of the increasing pressure of Haris’
blade on his neck. The force of the demon’s arm
pressing down against his trachea was only noticeable
because it threatened to cut off his air. Silently,
Dean willed the evil bastard to bear down a little harder
allowing the knife to sever through cartilage and carotids
and bring him the blackness he was prepared to receive.
swallowed hard, his Adam’s apple actually causing
the knife to flinch upward briefly before the pressure
returned. Dean laid perfectly still, eyes now open and
staring upward but not seeing, ears not perceiving anything
past the internal voice of recrimination, body not sensing
the physical pain or even the hardness of the conference
table as it pushed against his bruised joints.
paused, staring at the hunter before him. Were it not
for the slow rise and fall of Dean’s chest or
the occasional blinking of his blank eyes, the demon
might have thought that the long blade had already done
its job. But no, he had been careful, never applying
any more pressure than it took to achieve the desired
the desired result hadn’t been achieved. Not to
Haris. His quarry was still alive, not possessed, and
most definitely not under his control. To add to the
demon’s frustration, Dean seemed to have “checked
out”, not even reacting to the lethal threat that
he had employed.
to himself, Haris suddenly realized his miscalculation.
In his haste to get Dean to surrender to him, he chose
to batter the young man’s psyche with the implication
that his father and brother were dead; assuming the
anger and rage would force the young hunter to succumb
to the demon within him. At first, Haris thought his
plan had worked, but now, as he scanned the empty hazel
eyes, he knew that Dean had resigned himself to death
beneath the blade.
the demon asked questioningly, seeking to elicit some
sort of response, curious if the young man might be
shrewd enough to be faking. Haris drew the blade further
along Dean’s throat, opening a new wound.
response. Dean’s eyes remained unfixed.
Haris lifted the weapon from Dean’s neck; fresh
blood tainted the steel mixing together with the rust
colored flakes of dried serum. He was furious that his
bluff had been effectively called, leaving him no closer
to either subduing the hunter or freeing his trapped
offspring. Had he not still needed the elder brother
as a potential bargaining chip for a very much alive
Sam Winchester, he might have considered actually inflicting
the fatal wound.
that had never been his intent, never his ultimate goal.
down at the figure before him, the horned-faced amulet
mocked the demon, mocked his inability to control the
the blade slightly, the demon changed his focus. If
he couldn’t physically touch the amulet, which
in itself was both surprise and insult, then he would
simply cut it from the hunter’s neck. Slipping
the tip underneath the edge of the leather cord, Haris
pulled sharply upward severing the brown loop. Dean
flinched visibly, a deeper part of him reacting to the
attack on the amulet as though it had been a violation
of his own body.
… You wear this, and never take it off!”
restrained, Dean thrashed weakly on the table, inner
voice spurring him to resist. Haris laughed at the feeble
effort and moved to flick the tarnished charm from its
resting place against Dean’s chest with the flat
of the blade. As his yellow eyes looked back to Dean’s
neck, they narrowed with suspicion. The leather thong
was whole once more, no evidence that it had been cut
just seconds before.
demon placed the blade beneath it again. Violently,
he yanked the edge upward, separating the cord once
more. As he watched intently, the length pulled itself
back together, ends seeking each other like quicksilver
and blending together without so much as a scar to mark
stared in disbelief. Perhaps an enchantment or protective
spell had been placed on the seemingly weak piece of
leather. How else could the dead bit of animal skin
resist the attempt to destroy it? But Haris knew, as
certain of the reason as he was that evil walked the
earth. The amulet’s power had grown!
only Wren would have been successful in destroying the
damn thing before!’ Haris thought to himself
to its guardian, the amulet was now not only protecting
its bearer, but also protecting itself. He should have
been surprised, but he wasn’t really, knowing
full well the threat that the ancient talisman represented.
obscure lateris nescis!” the demon muttered defiantly.
plan thwarted, Haris slammed the knife down onto the
table just inches from Dean’s ear. The force of
the impact was enough to shake the entire surface, even
Dean’s body shifted slightly in spite of being
pinned by the guard’s muscular arms. Regardless
of it all, the young man did not react, eyes remaining
blankly cast toward the ceiling.
should have known! Giving up? You’re weak, Dean!
Just like your father, just like Sam too!” Haris
taunted, shaking his head derisively. “How could
you have thought to ever protect your brother from me?”
away from here and protect Sam!’
snapped inside Dean’s head. A rubber band of a
thought stretched too far and now recoiling back into
shape. None of this made sense. Not Zack’s betrayal,
not his possession, not the amulet, not the demon’s
toying with him, none of it.
a strange way, his confusion brought clarity. It gave
his beleaguered mind something to work on, a distraction
from the brain-numbing pain that was still washing over
him in a tsunami-sized wave.
sudden question startled Haris, stopping him in his
tracks and causing him to spin back around to look at
you what?” the demon responded warily, moving
paused, swallowing hard, his mouth dry.
do you want me? Hasn’t this always been about
Sam? About all the other kids like Sam?” he continued.
“You’ve been after him since he was six
months old and now all of a sudden, I’m the big
catch and you sacrifice him?”
… Dean … Dean!” Haris began, his head
shaking from side to side in mocking disbelief. “You?
You’re nothing. It was always about Sam. The ritual
was nothing more than a way to obtain his powers. But
killing him, well, that was your twist on things.”
moved back to stand beside the table, a tilt of his
head directing the large sentinel to release his restrictive
grip on the hunter. Hair and arms free, Dean turned
his face to look up at the yellow-eyed demon. He lowered
his arms to his sides, relishing the return of normal
blood flow and suddenly forced to acknowledge the sharp
ache in his right shoulder from the bullet wound. His
muscles tightened reflexively. Nearly insane with grief
and self-loathing, he needed this to end, one way or
the one that got carried away, Dean! All you were supposed
to do was cut little Sammy enough to provide the blood
offering for the ritual. Imagine my surprise when I
see my chosen, his neck gaping open, and blood gurgling
in his throat as he tried to scream.”
Dean, are nothing more than the consolation prize,”
Haris stated, amusement in his voice. “Although
in retrospect, perhaps I should have buried all the
Winchesters together that day and put an end to your
pathetic family once and for all!”
you should have!” Dean snarled as he rolled to
his right and off the table.
His feet hit the floor as he quickly assumed an offensive
stance, his right hand now brandishing the demon’s
discarded knife. Dean’s eyes flashed back and
forth between Haris and the massive black-eyed guard
on the far side of the table.
knew there was no way he could possibly take both demon-possessed
men. The guard was simply too big and Haris, well, Haris
was simply too powerful. Still, when did size and numbers
ever really matter to him? He’d never been afraid
of dying and was even less so now, convinced that death
was still preferable to possession.
a long moment, no one in the room moved or spoke; Haris
remaining just a few feet away, the guard stood unmoving,
waiting on his orders, and Dean defiantly held his ground,
knife at ready.
Dean, what do you think you’re going to do with
that?” the demon asked, breaking the tense silence
and taking a small step forward.
first I’m gonna kick his ass,” Dean began,
pointing the tip of the blade at the towering behemoth.
“Then, I’m gonna kick yours.”
laughed, “And then what? Supposing for a minute
that you actually stand a chance of getting past either
one of us, where will you go? There’s nothing
left for you out there Dean!”
well, there’s always Paris … Hilton or France.
I wouldn’t mind spending time in either one!”
Masks again? When will you ever learn? You don’t
have to put on the brave little soldier face for Daddy
or Sam anymore. They’re gone. Your place is by
my side. I’m your family now!” Haris stated.
I’m putting myself up for adoption!” Dean
yelled, lunging towards his nemesis, the already bloody
blade whipping outward towards the demon’s chest.
arched backward, the edge of Dean’s weapon snagging
the fabric of his shirt, tearing it away, but missing
flesh by scant millimeters. Surprised by the near-miss
but not concerned, the demon spun around to the far
side of the table. Placing a hand on the towering sentry,
Haris pushed the possessed man forward at Dean.
hunter rushed ahead, not intent on backing down now.
Dean lowered his shoulders, reducing his body to create
a smaller target. The guard moved in as well, his momentum
carrying him into and past Dean as the young man deftly
sidestepped and flung the giant off his hip and into
the wall behind him.
Dean turned, prepared for the next rush. The guard recovered
quickly and came at him again, this time with more caution
and calculation. Dean thrust out with the knife but
the huge man blocked the attack and countered, swinging
his own large fist and catching the young man on the
side of the chest.
dropped to one knee, stunned and breathless, the air
in his lungs trapped by the constriction of his ribcage
from the blow. The guard closed in, towering above the
kneeling figure. Dean remained head down, eyes focused
on the floor, but sensing the threat above him.
… wait … closer … just a little closer
…’ his hunter’s instincts sounded
off in his mind.
could nearly feel the enormous hands as they reached
to grab him. Just as they were about to close about
his head and neck, he lunged upward, using his entire
body to jam the elongated blade into the man’s
chest, twisting it as it plunged in up to the hilt.
guard staggered backwards, startled that the weapon
had found its mark. Dean followed him, his hand still
clenching the knife. He tugged, but the blade was firmly
wedged deep within the possessed man’s body. Letting
go, he hesitantly backed away.
he cast a quick glance at Haris just beyond his shoulder.
Looking back toward the guard, he saw the door to the
room just a few feet away.
to go!” he muttered and broke for the doorway.
freedom was just within his grasp; his hand had closed
around the handle when his head was viciously snapped
wove through his hair again as the massive guard yanked
Dean away from his escape route. Unable to resist, he
was easily brought down to the floor. The guard lashed
out with a booted foot, catching Dean full in the chest.
Air evacuated his lungs once more as his body rolled
violently away from the blow.
glazed eyes, Dean saw Haris standing above him, yellow
orbs glowing to match the sneer on his face.
him out of here!” Haris commanded. “Do as
you will, but keep him alive.”
sadistically, the guard obliged his master, kicking
at Dean’s supine form again and again; continuing
long after Haris had left the room and long after consciousness
the episode here