Title: The Demon Within
Series: Demons and Witches and Ghouls Oh My! - second one imminent, others half written
Archive: CI5 Ops, www.dtwins.co.uk, anywhere else but please tell me.
Category: A New Professionals/Charmed Xover
Rating: NC-17 Slash
Timeline: New Pros - post last ep, Charmed post Piper and Leo's marriage but prior to the end of season 3.
Summary: People have been turning up dead, including government agents and CI5 have been called in. The latest bodies are in San Francisco so that's where Chris, Sam, Backup and Malone have gone. There's something very strange about the deaths, something that has attracted the attention of the Charmed ones.
Feedback: Always Welcome.
Comment: Okay, so I've been writing this forever ... ask Al she's been waiting patiently for me to finish it for months (actually make that years). I'm surprised she hasn't brained me yet :-). Without her this would look like a grammatical accident so she has my undying gratitude. I didn't plan this as a Halloween type story, but it definitely fits the season. It is the first in what I hope will be a long line of stories, mostly xovers with various shows. The sequel is already written (it's only short and I'll post that as soon as it's been beta read), and there are parts of five more stories in the pipeline. I hope they will take less time to finish than this one but don't hold your breaths <gr>. The first two stories in the series have both slash and het versions, after that it's just slash. Sorry, but the way the general story evolved I could no longer come up with an alternative version. For those of you who don't watch Charmed, the three Halliwell sisters Pru, Piper and Phoebe are witches. They fight demons and the like with the power of three. Basically Buffy with spells and supernatural powers rather than stakes and kickboxing (although the sisters have been known to beat the crap out of things from time to time). Everything else you need to know is in the story (I think) so don't be worried if you don't know everything about them. I have a warped and twisted imagination and have a tendency to walk off sideways with the characters in anything I write. This is no different. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Disclaimers: The characters and everything relating to CI5 belong to Brian Clemens and David Wickes Productions. No profit is being made from this story. Charmed belong to Aaron Spelling and I'm just borrowing the characters.
Certain things made Chris Keel nervous and one of those things was going into a situation where nobody was quite sure what to expect. Two FBI agents, three Interpol officers, one SAS operative and two Securite agents had disappeared on the same case and no agency anywhere in the world was any closer to finding out what was going on than before they had vanished. The case was international and hence, finally, the job of tracking down the culprits had been handed to CI5. People, mostly men, were disappearing all over the world. The base of operations seemed to shift every few months and people in another city would start to turn up dead. It was only the death of a somewhat distinguished UK businessman that had sparked the detailed investigation to begin with. When he had turned up floating down the Thames the British police had gone into action on a big scale and other suspicious deaths started to form a pattern.
That had been six months previously, and now the case was centred in San Francisco. Keel and Curtis were hot on the heels of a top lead. The men and women who had disappeared so far had been from all walks of life: students, businessmen, drug dealers, thieves, blue collar workers, all could be added to the list. Tracking it back, the case was over ten years old and spanned half the globe. The only solid information CI5 had was that it all started with sex.
"You're sure this club is where it starts?" Chris asked his partner as they slowly walked away from their car.
"The Flamingo was where Myers used to go every night," Sam replied calmly, "and Kranmer's buddies said this is the last place they saw him. We can tie two victims here, which is more than we do anywhere else."
"Let's get on with it then," was Chris' reply and they headed for the door of the somewhat seedy dive.
The door opened with a squeak and loud rock music filled the gap. Inside was a wall of sound and colour.
"Such taste," Chris commented as he surveyed the glittery, neon-strewn interior.
"But what a view," Sam returned as his eye fixed in the gyrating behind of one of the pole dancers in the centre of the room.
Chris just looked at him with one eyebrow raised.
"Do you always disengage your brain at moments like this?" he asked sarcastically.
"Just getting into the role, Chrissy boy," Sam replied with a grin.
Keel made a face and they walked further into the club. They took seats and signalled to the waitress.
"How long do we have to be here?" Chris asked after the woman took their order.
"Kranmer's friends said they left him propped up by the bar when they went on to another club at about 2 in the morning," Sam told him. "He may have been here until 4 when the club closed."
"Just great," Chris commented somewhat unenthusiastically.
"Enjoy the view, compardre," was all Sam had to say.
Sam enjoyed himself the entire evening; if there was one thing that he never had trouble entertaining it was his libido. However, no matter how enthusiastic he was on the surface there was still part of him that was looking out for anything to do with the case. The club began to slow down at about 3am and it didn't take a secret agent to realise that there were more girls on the floor than there were customers. A stunning red head, and a buxom blonde came over and sat at the CI5 agents' table.
"Well aren't you the ones with stamina," the redhead commented and picked up Sam's drink.
She sipped it and smiled at him.
"I'm Jamie and this is Diana. We're going on to somewhere a little more private, if you boys would like to come," the blonde said and let her hand wander towards Chris'.
Sam put on his most killer smile lent forward to the redhead.
"Do you read minds?" he asked, almost nose to nose with her.
"When I need to," she replied.
The blonde obviously wasn't getting quite enough of a reaction out of Chris because she stood up and wandered around the table. Sam grinned as she quite deliberately sat in his partner's lap.
"Don't mind him," Sam whispered to the redhead, "he just got dumped and he needs cheering up."
"Oh, I'm sure Diana can do that," the red head returned.
Sam found himself looking into her large green eyes. They were so beautiful, and they sparkled with little flecks of yellow. She lent forward to kiss him and before he knew what he was doing he was kissing her right back. The sensation removed all coherent thought.
Sam felt really strange. He shook his head to try and clear it, but reality just wouldn't fall into place properly. He was standing in a medium sized room and the only furniture was a large, wooden framed bed. He had absolutely no idea how he came to be there, or for that matter what had happened to Chris. The red head was wandering away from him towards the bed and she was happily shedding clothes as she went. Just for a second Sam managed to drag his eyes away from her and look around the room. The walls were deep red and there were strange designs drawn on them in black. The patterns all seemed to force the eye upwards and they came together above the centre of the bed.
"Come here, lover," the red head purred as she threw aside her last item of clothing.
Sam was snared once again and he did exactly what he was told. As he moved closer to her he reached out to touch her, but she danced away.
"Aren't we eager," she said with a laugh and walked behind him. "First we have to make sure the master gets what he needs."
Her hands ran down the back of his neck and connected with the collar of his shirt. When he had lost his jacket he wasn't sure, but he really didn't care at all. He was barely even surprised when his companion grasped the edge of his shirt in both hands and then casually ripped it in half.
"Don't move," she whispered in his ear and walked to the head of the bed. There she twisted the knob on one of the bedposts and a small door in the headboard opened with a distinct click. She put her hand in the opening and drew out something on a chain.
"This will be the most incredible night of your life," she told him as she came back towards him. The object in her hands was some sort of amulet and she let it fall as she held on to the chain. "Unfortunately it will be your last," she continued and placed the pendant about his neck.
The moment it touched Sam's skin it burned, and if he had thought he was aroused before it was nothing to the passion which blazed through his body at that moment. He closed his eyes and let it wash over him for a few moments. Every cell was on fire and he knew exactly what he needed. The woman's hands were on his chest, moving downward. She was playing with him, touching his skin lightly as if teasing him. He opened his eyes and stared at her, seeing her properly for the first time.
The red hair, beautiful face and stunning body were still the same, but the green eyes had changed. They were no longer human eyes, with round irises and creamy whites, they were completely green with orangey yellow slits running from top to bottom. She looked up as him and smiled to reveal long ivory fangs. Sam just stared for a long second, but this new vision did nothing to reduce the raging need in his body.
"Tonight I shall taste of your body," the woman said, "and the master will taste of your soul."
Where her hands touched him Sam could actually feel the power in her. It pulsed through her veins and he wanted her more than anything he had ever wanted before. She pushed him onto the bed and he let himself fall, landing in the soft sheets, eyes still firmly glued on her body.
"Some are repelled when they see my true form," she purred in his ear, leaning low over him and allowing her breasts to rub his chest, "they fear me. But you still want me; I can feel it. Do you still like me? Am I your secret fantasy?" She laughed at her own little joke and Sam watched her dangerous teeth. "The amulet binds you to me, but you wouldn't run even if I gave you the chance, would you?"
She kissed his chest and then nipped him with her razor sharp teeth. Her tongue flicked over his skin, lapping up the droplet of blood she had drawn. Sam's mind just exploded. Sensations he had never felt before flooded his system and a very well buried instinct came bubbling to the surface. Suddenly he was no longer a helpless pawn, his body was not responding to the manipulations of his captor but to his own needs alone. He grabbed the woman by the shoulders and twisted her onto her back, coming to rest straddling her. She pushed against him with unnatural strength snarling at him as she did so. Yet he held her down almost with no effort. She looked startled then; her demon eyes filling with an uncommon fear. Sam just looked at her for a moment his eyes taking in every detail. She was still intoxicating, but he would not let himself be completely snared.
"I will not run," he said and his voice sounded strangely resonant in his ears, "and neither will you."
His vision was tinged with a luminous quality and he could feel the rhythms of her body. Sam rubbed his still clothed leg along the side of her naked body and she squirmed beneath him. The fear in her face was being replaced by the same hunger which had been there before. Sam wasn't thinking about consequences or where he was, or what was happening, he only knew that he wanted the creature below him, and she seemed to be giving in to the same instincts.
He bent down and kissed her, tasting her lips and letting himself become lost in the sensation. She was soft under his touch and she pushed against him, connecting with as much skin as possible. When he broke away and pushed himself back up there was no fear left in her expression, only need.
"We agree," she said, her voice husky with unadulterated lust, "I will not run."
He let her go then, releasing the vice like grip he had on her body. She pushed him onto his back once more and knelt above him as if displaying her body in all its glory.
"Let me taste you," she almost begged.
Sam could feel the urgency in her, and he could also feel the raw sexual energy it would release. That was what he wanted, what he needed and he would give her anything to get it. His hand snaked up behind her neck and he pulled her down. She did not hesitate and as soon as she was close enough her fangs pierced his skin. The moment the contact was complete a connection formed between them. For the first time in his life Sam saw through another's eyes. He didn't really understand it, but he was in her mind, and without knowing how, he knew she did not realise it. Her mind was totally focused on him and he saw how she perceived him. It was this vision of himself that shocked some rationality back into his mind. The image of him in her mind was not the image he saw in the mirror every day: it was something else. His eyes were not their normal grey green they were black, obscuring all the whites with only a red dot where the pupil should have been to break the darkness. When he had smiled at her he had revealed shorter, but just as deadly fangs as his companion's. He had sets of three on either side of his upper jaw.
With this shock came the recollection of his mission and his missing partner. Chris was in danger; Sam knew it as surely as he knew his own name. Suddenly he was not in his companion's mind anymore he was somewhere else. It took him a second or so to realise that he was seeing Chris, he was behind Diana's eyes. Chris was lying on a bed almost exactly the same as the one Sam was on and he was wearing a similar amulet. His eyes were vacant and glassy and there appeared to be little life in his expression. His captor was straddling him and Sam could feel that she was very hungry.
Sam dragged his mind back into his own body and with all the strength he could muster her threw the red head off him. She sailed through the air and collided with the wall, sliding down it into an unmoving heap. Sam just stared at her for a moment, completely surprised by his own strength and then he climbed to his feet. With one hand he took hold of the amulet and pulled it off his neck, effortlessly snapping the chain that held it. With his other hand he reached for the door handle.
His route was not blocked and nobody tried to stop him as he ran into a bland looking corridor. Working on instinct alone he headed left and he never hesitated as he passed several doors. They all looked the same, but Sam was not working with his eyes and when he reached the door he was headed for he calmly kicked it in. Diana turned where she had Chris pinned to the bed and she snarled at the interloper.
"Get away from him," Sam demanded in a tone that would have shaken Satan himself.
"Make me," was all the woman said, and Sam needed no other encouragement.
He moved across the room in the blink of an eye and his fingers, now tipped with sharp talons gripped the woman around the neck. She flailed at him with similarly sharp claws but he just lifted her from the bed at arms length. Almost casually he flicked her head sideways, snapping her neck and threw her limp body into the corner. Chris was just lying on the bed and his eyes were the only thing that moved when Sam bent over him. Carefully Sam took the chain of the amulet in both hands and broke a single link. He threw that into the same corner as the she- demon. Chris closed his eyes and slumped into unconsciousness, the power of the amulet being the only thing keeping him awake. Sam didn't hesitate; he lifted his partner onto his shoulder and headed for the nearest exit. Nothing could have stopped him.
The alarm went off and Phoebe sat bolt upright in bed. It took her a few seconds to get her bearings and turn off the beeping.
"Demons," was the only coherent word she uttered before scrabbling out of bed.
She only just remembered to grab a robe as she dashed out of the door and down the stairs.
"We've got trouble," she announced as she entered the kitchen, already knowing the Pru and Piper would be there before her.
"What kind of trouble?" Piper asked calmly and placed a mug of coffee under her sister's nose.
Phoebe took a deep breath. "Demon trouble," she said, trying to sort out the jumble of thoughts in her brain.
Pru stood up from where she was reading the paper and joined her sisters by the counter.
"Premonition?" she asked evenly.
"Sort of," Phoebe replied, unsure of exactly what it was, "more like dream vision."
Now both of her sisters looked a little worried; Phoebe had never had dreams before. However, if she said it was a vision they weren't going to argue.
"What did you see?" Pru asked, Piper letting her take the lead as usual.
"There were these vampires," Phoebe started, "well sort of. They were some sort of hooky mix of vampire and succubus I think. They were seducing these two guys, only one of the guys wasn't a guy he was some sort of demon. Only ..." she paused, "he ..." she tried to quantify what she had seen. "I don't think he was a bad demon. He killed both of the other demons and rescued his friend."
"If this guy demon isn't a bad demon and he killed the other two demons, what's the trouble?" Piper asked in a most practical manner.
Phoebe screwed up her face and tried to think. There was something she was missing, something that was the root of her anxiety.
"There was something else," she said slowly, "something worse than the vampire thingies." Phoebe paused again. "The master," she finished in a half awed tone.
"His name is Benias," all three sisters jumped a mile when the voice interrupted their reverie.
"Leo, don't do that," Piper admonished as they all turned round to find the whitelighter standing in their hallway. Almost immediately, however, she walked over to him and threw her arms around him.
"Sorry," he apologised and returned the gesture.
"And Benias would be?" Pru asked pointedly.
"He used to be a warlock," Leo provided helpfully, "but about two hundred years ago he called on powers darker than even his own and become something worse."
"Ooh, a challenge," Phoebe commented, picking up a piece of toast and sitting down. She was much happier now that she had someone to back her up.
"He has the power to turn witches into his evil slaves," Leo continued. "He steals their souls and turns them into a sort of a vampire. They in turn seduce men for blood and sex and he feeds on the souls of the men and the sexual energy the couples produce. The longer he lives the more energy he needs and the more people he kills."
"Nice," was Phoebe's only word on the subject.
"Since you have so much information, I assume the answer to this one isn't in the Book of Shadows." Pru wasn't wasting any time.
Leo shook his head.
"You can't defeat him, not yet, maybe never," he said honestly, "he would just make you his slaves. I'm supposed to make sure you stay safe and out of his way until he's gone from San Francisco."
"But he can be killed?" Piper didn't like puzzles without solutions.
Leo looked down at his wife and patted her on the arm in reassurance.
"It's possible that in a few years you might be able to kill him with the Power of Three," he told them, "but your powers aren't strong enough yet."
Phoebe didn't look satisfied with that answer.
"If we can't do anything about him, why am I having visions? I know last time you told us we couldn't handle it you were right, but I wasn't having visions about that," she asked a little confused.
Leo shrugged; he didn't have the answer to that one.
"And there's no other way to defeat him?" Pru wanted to make sure she had all the cards.
"Well there is one," the whitelighter explained, "but it's not exactly practical."
He paused and all three sisters indicated he should go on.
"When Benias used a complicated ritual to turn himself into what he is now, he also captured and absorbed the power of an incubus. Incubi are territorial and vicious among their own kind, they're vulnerable to one another. To counter this Benias also absorbed a little humanity. Humans are the only creatures immune to an incubus' power. To be vulnerable, humans have to give themselves up willingly. This makes Benias immune to most human magic because of his demon part, and immune to incubi power because of his human part, but he would not be able to stand against a human-incubus hybrid."
There was silence for a moment.
"Well I told you it was impractical," Leo said, uncertain of their reaction.
"Something I don't understand," Phoebe said evenly. "How come the incubus thing makes him immune to us? We've fought a succubus and surely an incubus is just a male version of that."
"You've met a mortal succubus," Leo explained quickly, "a witch who make a pact with the darkness. A male witch would become an incubus in the same way, but that's not what Benias absorbed. The name basically describes what they do, in that they kill during sex. There are pure demon succubi and incubi as well. They're much more rare, a lot more powerful and are for all intents and purposes, immortal. Luckily they are only interested in sex and they don't go out of their way to battle the light. They kill their victims by draining the life force rather than the physical destruction caused by their mortal counterparts."
The three sisters looked at each other and Piper shrugged. They were used to catching up with information later rather than sooner.
"What does a demon incubus look like, exactly?" Phoebe asked slowly.
Leo frowned, but answered the question anyway. "In their natural form they look almost human accept for the talons and fangs they use against their own kind, and they have no soul so their eyes are completely black."
Phoebe looked at her sisters excitedly.
"The guy in my vision," she said quickly. "That's what it was all about. He's got to be the one. He was normal and then he looked just like Leo described, well almost."
Leo was looking sceptical, and so was Pru.
"But if incubi kill women during sex," it was Piper who voiced her confusion, "how do you get a hybrid?"
"Incubi are all male," Leo went back to explaining, "but every now and then they feel the need to reproduce. In most species, even supernatural ones, there is a female counter part, but the female version of an incubus is a succubus and they always breed females. So the only alternative is a human host. In most cases the woman will carry the baby to term and the boy child will kill her as he is born, becoming a full incubus. In a few rare cases, however, the mother's love is pure enough to save the child from becoming fully demonised. These children can grow up to lead perfectly normal lives. Most of them never know what they almost were and the only sign would be an elevated sex drive which is not particularly uncommon in the human male anyway."
"You've got that right," Pru commented dryly.
"So what about it?" asked Phoebe with her usual enthusiasm "If we can find my vision guy, do we go after Benias?"
Everyone looked at everyone else; Phoebe was the only one who appeared anything but nervous about the whole idea.
"Look guys," she tried again, "I'm having visions about this. My power is telling us we have a chance now. We may never get another shot at removing this evil from the earth. What happens if no one's ever strong enough to beat him?"
Her powers of persuasion began to have an effect; finally Pru cracked.
"Okay," she declared in full take-charge mode, "Piper, you find out what the Book of Shadows has to say about immortal Incubi. I want to know everything there is to know before we do anything. Phoebe, go take a surf on the internet, find out anything you can about vampires, Benias and everything else that pops into your head. Leo, can you find out exactly how a hybrid is supposed to be able to kill this demon and if said hybrid is dangerous to us?"
"Good," Pru stated firmly, "and right now I have to go to a job. I'll be back by lunchtime to help."
The decision was made.
Sam opened his eyes and found himself looking at the back of a paperback book. He shifted his gaze slightly and discovered that Backup was reading it and she was sitting in a somewhat uncomfortable looking chair. A quick glance around and Sam realised he was in a hospital. He moved and found that most of his body didn't like the idea at all.
"Ow, what hit me?" he asked, and was dismayed to find he had no clue as to why he was lying in the sterile white room.
"Welcome back," Tina greeted and put her book aside. "I was beginning to think you were going to sleep all day."
"Where am I?" Sam decided to use the direct approach.
"St Bernadette's Hospital," Backup told him calmly. "How are you feeling?"
"Like I've been hit by a bus," Sam replied and gave up trying to move too far.
"What do you remember about last night?" was Tina's next question.
Sam relaxed back onto his pillows and tried to recall the previous evening.
"Chris and I were in the club. Nothing happened until most people had gone. It must have been nearly closing time when these two women propositioned us. They came over to our table, sat down, and ..." he paused and tried to come up with what happened next. There was nothing but a blank. "That's it," he finally concluded, "I don't remember anything after that." Sam was suddenly overcome by an intense sense of danger and it centred squarely on Chris. "Chris," he said urgently, "is Chris okay?"
Tina put her hand on his shoulder and gave him a small smile.
"He's fine," she assured him, "in fact he's better than you. He woke up over an hour ago. You staggered into the ER last night carrying him, blurted out Malone's contact number and then collapsed. The doctors couldn't find anything wrong with either of you except a few scratches."
Sam was relieved, but incredibly confused at the same time.
"We think you must have been drugged somehow," Backup explained calmly. "We lost contact with you at about the time you must have met these women. By the time we got to the club you were gone. The next we heard was when the hospital rang Malone. You were missing for three hours and Chris can't remember anything of that period either."
Sam made a face as he realised that the operation was almost a complete failure.
"I suppose Malone is on the war path," he commented quietly.
"Well he's doing his usual man in charge routine," Tina told him, "but actually I think he's just glad that you came back alive. He's more annoyed at himself for allowing you to disappear."
End of Part 1
"Well, one of the conspiracy sites came up trumps," Phoebe announced as she breezed into the kitchen at lunchtime.
Piper and Leo were sat at the kitchen table and they looked a little guilty. Phoebe guessed that it was quite probably they hadn't been working on the problem at hand since Leo had arrived back. The youngest sister just grinned at her sibling and sat down with the couple.
"It seems that Benias has been busy," she continued. "There are similar cases in fifteen countries. Of course the conspiracy site thinks it's a big government experiment, code named Benias, and that the government organisations swarming all over it are cover up teams, but hey, what else would we expect?"
She spread her hand full of printouts on the table.
"I also found references to our demon friend in several of the more obscure places," she explained. "Seems he gets around. One thing they all seem to be sure on, though, is that he's almost impossible to kill."
"Not good for us unless we can find our half-demon," Piper commented quietly.
"Look on the bright side, sister mine," Phoebe said and beamed at her sister in an attempt to lighten the mood. "At least there is some information out there. We'll beat Benias yet."
The youngest Halliwell knew her humour could be infectious and she silently cheered to herself as she drew a smile from her sister.
"So, Leo," Phoebe changed her target, "is the news good on our possible ally?"
"He surprised them," Leo replied openly, "they didn't know about him. I'd say the odds have gone up distinctly in our favour. Of course they wouldn't give me anything more than a few cryptic clues about how to engage his services."
"One day they'll give us a straight answer and we won't know what hit us," Phoebe said with another grin. She couldn't help herself; she was actually excited.
Leo grinned back.
"Well," he said standing up, "those cryptic clues won't solve themselves and I have some people to see."
"Be careful," Piper said and brushed her hand down Leo's shoulder in an intimate gesture that made Phoebe smile all over again.
"You too," Leo replied. "Promise me you won't go after Benias until I get back."
Phoebe and Piper shared a knowing glance.
"We promise," Piper replied with a smile.
Sam was sitting on the edge of the bed having just pulled on his shirt when the door opened and admitted Chris, Backup and Malone. Without even thinking the Englishman stood up, but quickly wobbled and then sat back down again.
"Are you alright, Mr Curtis?" It was Malone who voiced his concern first. "If you are still unwell I will call the doctor."
"Thank you, sir," Sam replied rapidly, "but it's nothing a good meal wouldn't cure."
Malone raised his eyebrows slightly at the explanation, but Sam was counting on the fact that the hospital had given him a clean bill of health. It hadn't actually just been a matter of no food, Sam had been in that position before and it felt different, but the last thing the Englishman wanted was to be shipped home as unfit for duty. There was something about the current case that made him want to stay even if he couldn't remember why. Sam couldn't shake the feeling that if he left he'd never see Chris or Backup again.
"I hear from Miss Backus that your memory is as elusive as Mr Keel's," Malone changed the subject and Sam breathed a sigh of relief.
"Yes, sir," Sam replied, trying to cast his mind back for the hundredth time and still drawing a blank, "the last thing I remember is the club."
"Then is would appear we are dealing with people who have some form of powerful narcotic at their disposal," Malone commented aloud.
"What I'd like to know is how they administered it," Chris put in, and Sam nodded his agreement.
Almost absently the Englishman's eyes wandered as he thought on the problem. His gaze meandered over his partner and then on to the floor. Without Sam taking much notice of it his eyes fixed on Backup's ankles and very slowly began to move up. The Canadian was wearing a figure hugging pair of trousers and before Sam realised it he was appreciating the view. Vague feelings of arousal began in his body and with a start he snapped back to reality. Chris was still speaking and Sam latched onto the voice feeling strangely horrified with himself.
"I know I didn't drink anything after they came to the table, and I didn't feel anything at all. One minute everything was crystal clear, then the redhead kissed Sam, he started to act strangely and then nothing," the American was saying.
"The last thing that's clear in my mind is the start of the kiss," Sam agreed, shutting down the part of his brain that didn't seem to want to concentrate. "It was like I couldn't stop her at all so the drug must have been administered before that point. After that it's a total blank."
"Well at least now we know how the victims are lured away," Malone decided calmly. "It's unfortunate that the toxicology reports on the pair of you did not give any useful results. Whatever they used is most likely a custom made drug and the sooner we find the culprits the sooner it will be out of circulation."
"The best place to start is the club," Sam said calmly.
"The locals have already been over it," Backup explained with a nod, "but they really had no clue what they were looking for."
"Anything is worth a try," Chris agreed and all three agents looked to their superior for confirmation.
"Alright, gentlemen," Malone said evenly, "you head back to the Flamingo. If you find anything I want to know immediately. Miss Backus, I'd like to keep you in reserve for now. You are still unknown to the perpetrators of these crimes which may prove useful later on."
"Sir," all three agents said together.
Pru was pouring over the print outs Phoebe had dug up whilst her sister washed up the lunch things. Neither of them was paying much attention to the other and Phoebe was actually quite absorbed by her task. It was the type of menial duty that meant she could let her mind wander, and today she was contemplating her dream. Some of her visions were vague, they left her with more questions than answers, but this one was better than a neon sign. She was actually contemplating quite how attractive both men were. These days she had Cole, but she was still a red blooded female. It was a shame her beau was out of town, he could have been useful in finding the other half-demon. Phoebe had always had a good memory, but this premonition was staying with her far more clearly than usual. She often complained to the others that it was impossible for her to remember everything she saw because it always happened so fast. In this case she was having none of her usual trouble, in fact the details were unusually clear.
She was recalling the part where the half demon guy seemed to be enjoying himself, and she couldn't help smiling, a small mischievous smile. She was quite enfolded in the memory when Pru suddenly spoke and Phoebe dropped the knife and fork she was scrubbing.
"Geeze you made me jump," she complained light heartedly.
"Somewhere nice were we?" Pru asked and wandered over with one of the printouts in her hand.
"Actually I was trying to remember any details from my premonition which might help us," Phoebe lied indignantly.
Pru just smiled slightly and Phoebe was left wondering just what her face had been doing when she had been remembering, and how long Pru had been watching her.
"In the small print of this article it mentions a club only a few blocks from P3," the elder sister pointed out and showed Phoebe the point on the page.
The other witch wiped her hands on the dishcloth and took the piece of paper. The moment her fingers touched it a second premonition hit her. It was the same two men from her first vision, but this time they were surrounded by four of the vampire like creatures. Three of them went for the dark haired, half incubus and the other one went for his companion. The totally human guy didn't stand a chance even though he moved faster than Phoebe thought any man had a right to. She recognised martial arts training, but it couldn't save him. The she-demon had him by the neck before he had much chance to defend himself and her claws and teeth made short work of him.
The other one was pushed against the wall and he could do nothing to help his friend. It was only as one of his attackers went for his throat that his other self came out. He gave a high keening scream and then he threw off two of the she-demons. With one swipe of his hand he ripped out the throat of the third one. The fourth tried to attack after she dropped the body of his friend, but she was dealt the same justice she had given out and died quickly. The other two began to run and then the vision ended.
"Oh my god," Phoebe said as the kitchen came back into focus, "they're going to kill his friend. We have to find them Pru. We have to save them."
"But how?" Pru asked, just as anxious as her sister, but that little bit more coherent.
Phoebe stared at the piece of paper in her hand, and then at Pru.
"They're going to the club," she said firmly, "we'll find them there."
Pru didn't argue, she just picked up her cell phone, her car keys and dragged Phoebe towards the door.
"You call Piper," she said, "I'll drive."
Going back to the club had seemed like a good idea at the time, but the closer they came to it the more Sam was regretting agreeing to go. There was a sense of foreboding growing in him the nearer the place they came and even though Malone had specifically told them the police had cleaned the place out Sam couldn't quite believe it. By the time Chris parked the car and they climbed out Sam had decided this was in fact one of the worst ideas they had ever had.
"Let's check out the back first," Chris suggested. "If there's anything the local boys missed it'll be there."
Sam nodded but didn't say anything; he was not in the mood for conversation. His lack of comment earned him a long hard look from his partner.
"Are you sure you're feeling okay?" Chris asked with a concerned frown. "You've barely said five words the entire way here."
"Just a belated attack of paranoia," Sam replied as lightly as he could manage, but he really was worried.
Keel paused, still on his side of the car.
"Look," he said, obviously anxious about his friend, "we can do this later. Let's go back to the hotel and you can get some more rest."
Sam shook himself.
"No," he decided firmly, "we're here now, let's go find us some bad guys."
A dubious expression infused itself onto Chris' features but as Sam began to walk towards the alleyway at the side of the club he didn't argue.
"We always get the nicest locations," he commented as they were greeted by the pleasant smell of rotting garbage.
Sam was busy looking for anything that might give them a clue when the hairs on the back of his neck stood on end. He looked up sharply to see two women at the far end of the alley coming towards them. His instincts were screaming at him, but his logical mind said two women would be no match for two highly trained secret agents ready for anything they might try. As usual his logical mind was having a far greater say. Even so Sam glanced over his shoulder at which point his whole body went cold and his instincts began to hammer at the wall of logic. Two more women were blocking the way from which they had come.
"Chris, we have company," he said quietly and very slowly edged his hand under his jacket for his gun.
Drawing a weapon on an unarmed civilian without provocation could get a person into a great deal of trouble, but Sam had to hold onto the urge to do just that. He felt like he was surrounded by masked assassins and he couldn't work out why.
"Afternoon, Ladies," Chris said lightly as he too looked both ways, "is there anything we can do for you?"
"Nothing special," one of them said, "we were just wondering what you're doing out here. Most people loitering in this neighbourhood are up to no good."
"We're with the police," Chris told them, and Sam was quite happy to let him do all the talking.
The women were getting continually closer and he was quite alarmed by the fact that he was having to clamp down on the instinct to just shoot at them wildly. Something about them just wasn't right, something that made him want them dead.
"There have been cops all over the club today," another of the four spoke, "we didn't see you there."
"We're a special unit," Chris replied. "They called us in because they didn't find enough through the usual methods."
"Can we see some ID?" a third one asked in what was a very reasonable tone.
By now Sam just couldn't contain himself any longer.
"Don't go near them," he said very firmly and put a hand on Chris shoulder. No matter what his logical mind was now saying, the other part of him that was usually reserved for combat missions, had full control.
Keel for his part looked at him with a question in his eyes, but he did as he was told. Sam's eyes opened wide in shock at the effect his statement had on the women.
"You won't escape this time," one of them hissed, and they no longer looked like real women at all.
Sam tried not to believe what he was seeing. He really tried to stay routed in his normal sceptical little world, but it wasn't working. The eyes, the fangs, the claws, it all shocked Sam to the bone, and yet he had known. He didn't know how and he sure as hell couldn't explain any of it, but he had known. He was pulling his gun from his holster when three of them went for him and one went for Chris.
"No!" there was a shout from the end of the alley, and Sam had just enough time before three bodies collided with him to see the fourth creature fly through the air away from Chris.
Sam pushed at his assailants but they were so strong. Claws ripped through his shirt and he was very angry, but before he could do anything about it two of the three went sailing backwards just like their compatriot. Chris came charging to help and grabbed the third one from behind. Together he and Sam threw her towards her friends. Three much more normal looking women came running down the alley.
"Freeze them, Piper," one of them yelled as they came to a halt beside Sam and Chris.
One of the three threw up her hands, and much to Sam's surprise the four she-demons stopped dead where they had been scrabbling to their feet.
"Well, don't just stand there," the young woman who had shouted about the freezing said to Sam as if he should understand exactly what was going on. "Let's get out of here. They'll unfreeze in a little while."
One of the young women grabbed Chris by the hand and the one speaking to Sam grabbed him and they dragged them off down the alley. Sam was having real trouble with the whole sequence of events so he went with the flow. When the she-demons unfroze just as they reached the end of the alley all five runners charged towards the two parked cars. Somehow Sam ended up in the driving seat of the rental car, Chris was in the back and one of the women was in the front. As he put his foot down and headed straight for the main road, he finally had a chance to take a proper look at one of his rescuers. It took him about half a second to assess his new companion. She was in her early twenties, she had bobbed mid brown hair, and sparkling blue eyes. She actually looked excited and cheerful.
"Hi," she said as he turned his eyes back towards the road, "I'm Phoebe Halliwell."
Sam was a little too confused to form a cohesive sentence so he settled for names instead. "Sam and Chris," he said and concentrated on driving.
"Would somebody tell me what just happened?" Chris sounded somewhat stunned, although not as stunned as Sam felt.
"Those women weren't women," their passenger said helpfully. "They were a nasty mix of vampire and demon." Sam's mind decided reality has taken a trip south and he was in a horrible dream. This, however, didn't stop Phoebe from going on. "They used to be witches but they've been enslaved by a really nasty guy called Benias. He uses them to kill men for their souls."
There was a deathly silence in the car and Sam just kept his eyes on the street ahead.
"And you fit into this, how?" Chris didn't sound exactly friendly.
"Oh, I'm a witch," Phoebe told them both, "and so are my sisters. We're basically the good guys in a supernatural war."
Okay, so the nice looking young women had to be insane, and this all had to be a set up, but Sam decided to play along.
"Is that what happened to us last night?" he finally found a voice. "Things like that tried to kill us?"
"Basically, yes," their guest replied. "If you take a left at the end of this block we're only a few blocks from our house. You guys look like you could do with a stiff drink, and it's much easier to get into an explanation when the world's not going by at fifty miles an hour."
Sam wasn't in the mood to argue and followed her directions without complaint. All his training was screaming trap, but the rest of him was trying to convince him the world was a much stranger place than he'd realised.
End of Part 2
"Okay, I'm not taking another step without more of an explanation," Chris declared resolutely as he and Sam stepped though the open door of the Halliwell residence.
"Well, would you at least mind closing the door?" the sister, who by a process of elimination had to be Pru, said coldly. "We don't usually broadcast everything down the street."
Sam let the big door swing shut and then backed up his partner by refusing to move. He was feeling more than a little uncomfortable, but he couldn't help believing he should trust the three women in front of him. It was a feeling that had grown over the short journey to the house. He hadn't really noticed it creeping up on him, but now he was standing in their house, he realised he was not being objective. Way too much was happening for his rational mind to keep up and it seemed to have retired from the game.
"We're witches," Pru said firmly, "and you have ended up the target for a very nasty demon. We thought we'd show our good faith by rescuing you."
She was obviously not happy with Chris' attitude at all, and she stalked down the hall.
"You'll have to forgive Pru," the one called Piper said sweetly, "she gets a little tense when these sort of things happen."
"I can imagine," Sam said quietly.
He had the most odd sensation running up his spine, it was almost as if the house was staring at him.
"The kitchen's this way," Piper said with a smile, "would you like a coffee or tea?"
"Coffee would be great." Sam suddenly decided, that for now he was going to trust his instincts.
Chris didn't look happy, but as Sam walked down the hall and Phoebe smiled at him, Sam saw him follow.
"How did you find us?" Chris asked as they walked into the other room.
"I have premonitions," Phoebe replied honestly. "I was washing the dishes and I saw you guys in trouble. Then we made like the lone ranger and came galloping to the rescue."
Chris made no further comment.
They were all sitting around the table with steaming mugs of coffee when the obvious question occurred to Sam.
"Did you rescue us last night?" he asked after a large swallow.
"Don't you remember?" Piper replied, genuinely surprised.
Both agents shook their heads.
"Oh," the young woman decided, "this is going to be more difficult to explain than we thought."
She looked at her sisters, and with a few gestures they passed the buck back to her.
"Maybe we should wait for Leo," she suggested. "He's so good with these things."
"Who's Leo?" Chris still sounded very defensive.
"I'm Leo," said a voice from the door way and every one turned.
"I thought we agreed, enough with the sudden appearances," Phoebe said and clutched her chest in a mock heart attack. "Piper, can't you do something with him?"
"Sorry," the young looking man apologised, "but exactly what have you three been up to? You said you were going to stay out of everything until I got back."
"There was an emergency," Piper said with a sheepish smile.
"They rescued us," Sam was surprised to hear Chris defend the sisters.
The way Piper leapt out of her seat and placed herself as close as physically possible to Leo without occupying the same space made it very clear to Sam exactly what the relationship was there. It took him another couple of seconds to notice the wedding rings.
"I'd still like to know if you rescued us last night," the Englishman said calmly.
"You rescued yourself," Pru told him bluntly.
Sam was now more confused, he wasn't sure they could have rescued themselves without remembering it. He said as much. "How could we have got away from things like that without remembering at least something?"
"Chris was under their enchantment the entire time," Phoebe provided the answer and waved her hand in the ex-SEAL's general direction. "You weren't. You broke out of it and you did the rescuing, I saw it all in a dream. At a guess the reason you don't remember is your mind is protecting itself."
Silence descended and Sam had an ominous feeling.
"Why don't I want to remember?" he finally managed to ask.
The three witches and Leo were all looking at each other in a manner that suggested they really weren't sure what to say next. Sam didn't like the impression he was getting at all.
"Have you been feeling odd since last night?" It was Phoebe who broke the awkward silence. "Any twilight zone moments? For that matter ever had any twilight zone moments before?"
Sam considered the question and thought about lying, but decided that honesty was probably the best policy.
"Sort of, maybe, and not that I remember," he replied. Well he was being honest, but he hadn't decided to be anything by vague.
There was another moment's silence until Phoebe finally shrugged her shoulders.
"Okay, enough with the hedging," she decided firmly. "You may have noticed that when the she-demons attacked, three of them came at you and only one went for Chris. Well, that's because you could have done them some serious damage. In my premonition Chris died, you survived, in fact you killed two of them, just like you killed two of them last night."
Sam was listening very hard, but he really didn't think he wanted her to go on.
"You're part Incubus," Phoebe finished evenly.
The first thought that jumped into Sam's mind was that he'd heard her wrong.
"Come again?" he said very quickly.
"Incubus," she repeated. "You're part demon. When one of them tried to seduce you last night you seduced right back, and when your brain kicked back in you rescued your friend."
Sam just sat there for a second and tried to find another meaning in her words. When he finally decided there wasn't one he laughed. After all, what she had just said was completely absurd.
"You're serious, aren't you?" he said as the laughter died in his throat. "You actually expect me to believe that? You think I might have noticed this before? And for that matter, how does one become part demon?"
"Your father was an incubus," Piper provided helpfully.
This was getting more ridiculous by the second.
"I might not always see eye to eye with my dad," Sam said pointedly, "but I'm sure he isn't a demon."
"Whoever you think your father is, he isn't," Leo was very firm with his view.
That produced indignant outrage in Sam, after all this complete stranger was actually accusing his mother of sleeping around.
"What exactly are you trying to accuse my mother of doing?" he said very slowly and he was definitely not happy.
"Nothing," Phoebe leapt in before Leo could say anything. "Incubi can take on any form, your mother doesn't have to have suspected a thing. In fact your mother must be one hell of a woman. You should have turned out a full incubus; it's only her that stopped it. She made you human. If you hadn't met up with the supernatural you need never have known anything about any of this."
The young witch was using such a reasonable tone, just for a second Sam almost believed her, and then common sense hit home. Whatever he had seen today there had to be a rational explanation. He turned to Chris.
"Shall we?" he said and indicated the door.
Both men were on their feet when the sisters piled into the kitchen doorway to stop them leaving.
"You're the only one who can kill the evil that's taking so many lives," Piper sounded a little desperate.
"Look we know how you feel," Phoebe was giving Sam a pleading look, "we only found out we were witches last year and now we can't seem to turn a corner without bumping into a demon."
"Excuse us," Chris said as Sam just stared at the sisters.
"Oh bother," Piper exclaimed and threw up her hands.
Sam was getting very annoyed and he was going to push past the obstacle when he suddenly realised Chris wasn't moving.
"He didn't freeze," Piper said in a very small voice.
The subject of her consternation was, however, not listening to her. Sam turned back to Chris and just stared at his frozen partner. He waved his hand in front of the other man's face.
"He's an incubus hybrid," Leo was saying quietly, "most magic will roll off him. It's what happens if you mix the powerful supernatural and the natural."
"What did you do to him," Sam demanded, his brain deciding that rational explanations were really not worth the effort.
"He's fine," Piper promised, "I just stopped time. I was trying to give us a few seconds to regroup."
She waved her hands again and Chris blinked, he looked confused since Sam was now standing directly in front of him.
"Did I miss something?" he asked dubiously.
Sam really didn't know what to do. Half of him believed what he had seen, the other half was refusing to have anything to do with it. The demons, the rescue, it could all have been a ruse, but what had just happened, that had to have been real.
"You really froze him," was all the agent could manage in a somewhat distressed tone.
If they really were witches, and they really had rescued him and Chris that afternoon, then Sam was beginning to realise that they might actually be telling the truth. Sam's reality was beginning to crumble at the edges.
"I think you need to sit down," Phoebe said and put a hand on his shoulder.
She shuddered once and then images flooded Sam's brain. He saw himself and Chris, standing beside Malone in a large warehouse type building. In front of them was a large altar like structure, and on it was Backup, naked, her throat slit from one side to the other. The images were gone almost as soon as they arrived.
"I feel sick," Sam said and leant against the wall.
Phoebe was staring at him.
"You saw that too?" It wasn't a question; it was a statement.
"What did you see?" Pru asked urgently.
Phoebe stopped staring at Sam and turned to her sister.
"Them," she said quickly indicating the CI5 Agents, "and an older man. They were in a big open building and there was an altar. There was a naked woman on the altar, she had been sacrificed."
"Backup," Sam said still confused but just about hanging on to the situation. "They killed Backup."
He looked at Chris and his partner was obviously trying to decide if he'd completely lost it.
"It's real," Sam told him as calmly as he could manage.
It was like a chasm had just opened up beneath him and Sam couldn't do anything but fall. His mind wanted to rebel. He wanted to get as far away from San Francisco as possible, but the image in his mind wouldn't let him. All he could see was Tina, lying there dead, and it made him stay.
"We can stop it," Phoebe tried to reassure him. "That's why I have premonitions, to stop the evil from getting its way. I'm sorry you had to see that, but these things happen for a reason. I take it you are staying now."
"We're staying," Sam said resolutely.
"I still don't get it," Chris said and Sam was glad of the respite. Everyone had been staring at him for the last ten minutes even if they hadn't said anything. "I thought demons were supposed to be bad."
"Oh usually they are," Pru told him.
"Sam's not all demon," Phoebe explained, "he's predominantly human, he just has incubus mixed in at a base level."
Sam let the speech roll over him and contemplated the large glass of Scotch Piper had kindly handed him shortly after his world fell apart. He was having major trouble coming to terms with everything that had happened. After all, he was the sceptic of the team. He didn't really feel any different, but it did rather explain why his hormones had been on overdrive the entire day. He'd always had an eye for the ladies, but when he'd started looking at Backup that way he had been rather shocked with himself. However, he still didn't understand how he could be dangerous to vampire demons.
"What makes me so dangerous to them?" he finally asked and brought the conversation on the other side of the table to a halt. "Sure I had a really bad feeling about those women before they got to us, but why did three of them go for me?"
"They thought three would be enough to kill you," Piper told him.
"Why were they wrong?" Sam asked slowly. "They were stronger than me."
Phoebe mouthed the word "oh", she seemed to realise what he was asking.
"They were only stronger than you because you weren't using your demon half," she explained. "When they came up to you they were in human form, they were for all intents and purposes human. When they attacked you they we in demon form with all the strength and speed that goes with that. You can do the same thing, you did it last night."
"He has a demon form?" Chris sounded like that was one step too far for his rational brain and Sam was inclined to agree with him.
The idea was a little horrifying. Sam decided he had had enough for now and he slowly put his glass down.
"Please could I use your bathroom?" he asked in a completely calm tone.
"Up the stairs and on the left," Phoebe said quietly.
When he got there Sam was not quite sure of the journey in between, but as soon as he was in the bathroom he closed the door and locked it. Then he closed the lid of the toilet, sat down and put his head in his hands. He was an adrenaline junkie. He lived for the excitement. This, however, was that one step too far. This was just completely insane.
As he sat there anger began to form in his mind. It built slowly, a growing fury at what he perceived as the injustice of it all. His emotions didn't seem to be quite under his control and white-hot rage made his blood boil. He was so angry he wanted to hurt something; anything, and a small part of him knew that this was very dangerous. Slowly he climbed to his feet. He needed to calm down; Sam recognised the verges of hysteria. Turning on the cold tap he went to splash his face, but the old faucet exploded with a sudden rush of water covering the basin and the front of his trousers with liquid. That was just enough to push him over the edge. All the anger bubbled up and he lost control. Staring at himself in the mirror he saw his eyes discolour and the now black irises appeared to flow across the whites. Without thinking he lashed out and smashed the glass, shattering it dead centre.
Blood trickled from the back of his knuckles and sharpened senses brought the slightly metallic smell to his attention. He could hear the chatter from the kitchen even though he didn't bother to really listen to what they were saying and his fingers were now tipped with long, vicious looking nails, almost silver in colour. He stared at the small red stream of blood stupidly for a moment, clearly able to see the light hairs on the back of his hands and then slowly raised his eyes to the broken mirror. The rage was ebbing away, the momentary violence releasing enough emotion to stem the tide. He looked hard at his black eyes, staring at the small red dots of pupil and slowly they turned black as his normal grey-green irises faded back in. With their return the world faded to its normal levels and he was left with regular, everyday Sam.
He wasn't really sure how long he stood there, but eventually thought returned and with it came the memory of Phoebe's vision. Sam saw Tina lying on the altar, eyes glassy in death, covered in her own blood. He realised slowly that he could prevent that happening. If he had been a normal man he would have been dead already, and so would Chris. With a deep breath the CI5 agent tried to pull himself together, and, turning on the tap more slowly this time, washed the blood off the back of his hand. To his surprise there was no wound, only a small pink line as if he'd cut his knuckle days previously. Sam couldn't say he was particularly comfortable with himself at the moment, but he wasn't going to let that prevent him saving Backup. Drying his hands he resolutely headed for the door.
In the hallway he met Chris coming up the stairs.
"You know I was beginning to wonder if you'd jumped out the window," his partner commented as they both came to a halt.
"Nah," Sam replied, "I only do that if the date's going really badly."
For the first time since the alley Chris actually smiled and to his surprise Sam found himself smiling back.
"This is just so screwy," Chris commented shaking his head.
"Ha!" Sam returned deciding it was better to laugh than to cry. "You haven't just discovered your father is a demon."
"Yeah well, I admit that's difficult to top," his partner said with a nod. "Look at it this way, it could have been worse. Just imagine if you'd just found out your father was Malone!"
Sam managed to keep a straight face for exactly one second and then he cracked up completely. As if on cue Chris' phone went off. His partner waved at Sam to be quiet and he tried really hard to muffle his laughter. He was not doing very well at controlling his emotions and the laughter was no different. In the end he just put his hand over his mouth to muffle the sound until he could actually stop it.
"We're following a lead, sir," Chris said after listening to the caller for a few seconds. It was Malone, and Sam had to walk away along the landing as another fit of giggles threatened. "We're not sure yet, sir," Chris was glaring at Sam as he tried to have a sensible conversation. Sam was just trying to breathe. "Yes, sir," Chris continued after a few seconds. "A couple of hours, I think." Sam managed to take a breath. "Of course, sir."
As Chris put the phone back in his pocket Sam actually managed to stop laughing ... for more than a second at a time. His partner just stared at him for a while and then grinned. "If you die laughing I am not explaining it to Malone," was all he said and then Sam had to sit down.
By the time Sam could actually breathe again in a sensible manner Phoebe's head had appeared at the top of the stairs. Remembering what he had done to the mirror helped the CI5 agent calm down somewhat.
"Is this a private joke or can anyone join in?" Phoebe asked with a smile.
Sam put his hand out to Chris and his partner pulled him to his feet.
"You had to be there," he told the young witch and took a deep breath to make sure the laughter was completely gone. "Oh, and, sorry, I owe you a mirror."
Much to Sam's surprise Phoebe didn't loose the smile.
"Just a mirror," she said lightly, "when Pru first got her power she totalled an entire aisle in the Chemist. It's about time these supernatural things came with instruction manuals."
With that she turned and wandered back down the stairs. Once she was gone Sam turned back to Chris.
"So do we have our marching orders?" he asked quickly.
"Malone wants us back at base by six," Chris replied and peered over the banister just to make sure no one could hear them.
"What the hell are we going to tell him about today?" Sam asked the obvious question. "Good evening, sir, you're not going to believe this but we're up against a demon this time, oh and don't worry if I suddenly turn into this thing with black eyes and fangs, it's just my parentage showing through."
Chris just shrugged. "I think we'll cross that bridge when we come to it," he said calmly. "It might be a good idea to find out exactly how you're supposed to be a secret weapon before we report back, though."
"After you," Sam offered and let his partner take the stairs first.
Phoebe was watching their guests quite closely and questions were beginning to pile up in her head. The two men had been in the Halliwell house for nearly an hour now and the sisters still knew virtually nothing about them. The fact that they were both carrying guns was obvious, and it didn't make anyone particularly nervous because Andy had always carried one as well. The only thing was, Phoebe was almost positive that Sam and Chris were not just a couple of cops. Chris hadn't even remotely opened up whilst Sam had disappeared upstairs, in fact he'd been totally cagey. When Piper had absently enquired about his job he'd managed to turn the conversation onto something else immediately.
As the two men wandered back into the kitchen Phoebe had to bite her tongue to stop her asking them right out what exactly they had been doing in the alley in the first place.
"So is somebody going to enlighten me as to exactly how I'm supposed to kill this Benias chap?" Sam asked leant against the doorframe.
The youngest Halliwell had to smile; his tone was so irreverent.
"Back to basics," Leo provided helpfully. "It's all about one on one."
"That's it?" Sam asked and looked a little sceptical. "Am I supposed to walk up to him and demand we just finish there and then, man to man ... or should that be demon to demon?"
Phoebe had to admire his spirit, Sam didn't seem to be shirking his responsibility; he was just surprised at the method.
"Well it won't be quite that easy," Pru explained from where she was pouring herself another coffee. "His minions are not going to make it simple to get to him. You're going to need us to get you anywhere near him."
Chris and Sam shared a glance at that revelation; they obviously didn't like the sound of that. Phoebe held her tongue and waited to find out what they'd say next.
"I take it guns aren't going to do us a lot of good." It was Chris who wanted clarification.
"Depends how many of the she-demons there are," Leo took over the supernatural 101 again. "If there are a couple you might be able to pump enough bullets into them to stop them, but if there are any more you'd be overrun before guns did you any good."
"How about grenades?" Sam asked evenly.
"Better than bullets," Leo replied calmly, "less good than witchcraft."
Phoebe decided it was time to make her opening gambit.
"You don't seem keen on us helping," she said quickly. "Why?"
Both men looked at each other again.
"You'd be hard to explain," Sam said eventually. "*Really* hard."
"Then don't explain us," Piper suggested hopefully. "We could lurk in the shadows and no one would notice."
"Oh they'd notice," Chris replied firmly.
It was then that Phoebe decided she's had enough of the game; she wanted answers. Never one to shy away from being direct she chose to voice this opinion.
"What do you actually do?" she asked bluntly. "And don't try and tell me you're cops, you're not." She waited for a reaction.
Sam just sighed as if he'd been expecting the question all along, Chris looked slightly annoyed.
"Classified," Sam finally said. "What we are is classified. Would you accept that we're the people who get called in when every one else has failed?"
It wasn't really the answer Phoebe wanted, but the expression on Sam's face told her it was all she was going to get. She shrugged and smiled.
"We're going to have to, aren't we," she said lightly.
"I assume last night was part of your investigation," Pru took over.
Both men nodded.
"Well I hate to break this to you," she continued, "but you're going to have to figure out some way to work us into the rest of the operation or you don't stand a chance."
This was going to be a really tough week. Phoebe could tell.
End of Part 3
Sam and Chris had left their new compatriots preparing anything and everything that might help in the fight against Benias' minions. Unfortunately the agents were still at a loss as to how to fit the witches into their scenario. Sam was in his own little world working on the puzzle.
"How are you holding up?" Chris asked as he drove them towards the hotel.
Sam actually blinked and looked at his friend with a little surprise. It wasn't that he was shocked at his partner's concern, it was just that he realised he hadn't actually been thinking about his situation at all. His mind had been on the problem of keeping the Halliwells and Leo a secret from Malone, not on himself at all.
"Surprisingly well," he said truthfully.
His friend glanced at him as gave him one of the patented Chris-wants- to-know-if-your-telling-the-truth looks.
"You sure?" Chris asked calmly.
"Yes," Sam replied with a smile, "honestly. I've already done the freak out thing. My mother's a very practical woman and she instilled it me. If you can't change it, just get on with it." He thought about it for a moment. "That's probably why I'm here talking to you and not dwelling in the murky world of demons."
"That's it?" Chris responded. "That's all you're going to say? Yesterday demons and witches were fairytales; today there are three witches who want to be our very best friends and you're part demon, and all you have to say is you've done the freak out thing!"
At that Sam took a moment to look at his friend. Things had been so weird and mixed up that Sam had never actually taken the time to wonder how Chris would be dealing with the whole situation.
"You're not very comfortable with this are you?" he finally decided.
Chris didn't say anything.
"You've always been the believer," Sam commented, actually quite surprised.
There was more than a few seconds' silence.
"I know," Chris finally admitted, "but I'm having a little trouble with the reality. I keep thinking I'm going to wake up and it'll all be a weird dream. How the hell can you be so calm about it?"
"To tell you the truth it's because of Backup," Sam told him. "If it wasn't for that vision I ... ah ... borrowed from Phoebe, I think I'd be a little more off kilter. When this is all over you might have to check me into the nearest loony bin, but until then we have a job to do."
They lapsed into silence for a while longer
"Okay, ask," Sam said firmly when Chris kept glancing at him. "I don't care what it is you want to know, just ask."
His partner looked a little awkward, and Sam could see curiosity warring with concern on his friend's face.
"What's it like?" Chris asked as if it was the hardest thing he'd ever said.
"Scary and exciting," Sam told him and grinned at Chris' expression when he paused. "Okay, I'm not really sure," he decided. "Like this I barely feel any different, there's just this little nagging sensation at the back of my mind. Oh yeah, and if I can get through two seconds without thinking about sex I'm doing really well."
Even Chris grinned at that.
"No change there," he commented.
"Oh, it's worse," Sam said with a smile. "As for the other me, I'm beginning to remember bits about last night, but not much. It's like I'm not quite in control, everything seems so much stronger; emotion, my senses, the world. I never thought about it before, but I think there's just so much humans don't perceive."
Thinking about it brought another memory of the previous night bubbling to the surface. His mind's eye filled with the slightly remote view of Chris' empty stare. Sam came to the sudden realisation that he was looking through another person's eyes at his friend. The feeling the memory brought with it was not pleasant and the agent shook his head to clear it.
"You okay?" Chris' voice snapped him back to reality.
"Yeah," Sam replied and pushed the recollection to the back of his mind. "Just a little flashback that I could have done without. Every now and then remind me that ignorance is bliss."
Chris was still looking a little unhappy. There was obviously more bothering him, but Sam didn't think his friend would be forth coming about it just yet. Instead the Englishman decided to get back to practicalities.
"So how on earth are we going to get Pru and sisters into this operation?" he changed the subject smoothly.
"If it was any other resource," Chris replied, "I'd suggest the truth, but can you see Malone's reaction to witches?"
"You can take the padded cell, I'll take the cage," Sam shot back.
"Exactly," his partner agreed. "First things first though, we have to make sure Backup is out of the firing line."
"Agreed," Sam acknowledged, "even if we have to lock her in the wardrobe."
Chris grinned at that.
"She'll kill us," he commented mischievously.
"And accuse us of being macho, chauvinistic, bastards," Sam finished. "Do you have a problem with that?"
"As long as she's alive to call us whatever names she wants to, it's fine by me," Chris replied.
They lapsed into silence again for a while, but this time it was a concentrated, 'agents on the clock' silence, not the awkward silence which had permeated the car before.
"Maybe it would be easier to just get Piper to freeze everyone for a while and let us get on with this," Sam commented eventually. "Talk about making our lives difficult. If Malone sees one of the Halliwells the game will be up."
"We could make them suspects," Chris suggested, "give us a reason to keep an eye on them."
Sam raised his eyebrows.
"I can see that going horribly wrong," he decided firmly, and Chris just nodded. "How about victims?"
Chris glanced at him with a questioning look.
"One of our boyfriends is missing," Sam elaborated. "We can tell Malone we met them poking around at the club. A male is missing, last seen in the vicinity, and his girlfriend plus sisters were looking for him. We've been interviewing them this afternoon. If they happen to turn up later they're overzealous civilians, and we can always pull Leo out of the bag as missing boyfriend at a later date."
A thoughtful look replaced the frustrated one that had been on Chris' face. Slowly he nodded.
"Sounds like a plan," he agreed cautiously, "but what have we been doing all afternoon? We wouldn't have talked to a lead like that for more than a few minutes, we have to have been looking into something else."
Sam pondered this for a while.
"Something they told us jogged my memory," he suggested eventually. "We've been checking out what I remember, but it was a dead end."
This time Chris's nod was a little more definite.
"Just tell me what you remembered," the ex-SEAL decided evenly, "and we have a workable scenario. Just keep it simple or Malone is going to smell a rat straight away."
"That's the problem with working for a man who lies better than a politician," Sam said with a grin.
When the job called for certain things, Backup was quite willing to play her part, but she did feel a little uncomfortable in the outfit her current assignment required. PVC was not the most subtle of materials and it was also hot and sticky, but it got her noticed the moment she walked into the club. The bustier was precariously tight and it lifted everything to give just the right effect, but even if she looked calm on the outside, she didn't have to feel great on the inside. She smiled at the bartender, sat down and ordered a scotch on the rocks. He smiled back and his eyes wandered all over her, just as she had expected.
"You're much prettier than the clientele we usually get in here," the man said as he put down her drink.
"I always like to scope out the opposition," she replied and ran her finger around the rim of the glass.
"Oh," the bartender acted surprised, "are you, ah, in the business?"
Backup gave him one of her most seductive smiles and licked her rouge- covered lips. Leaning forward so the man couldn't do anything but look down her cleavage, she drew him closer with a conspiratorial beckon.
"I work for one of the smaller clubs downtown," she said sweetly. "The place isn't as classy as this, but the money's good. I'm always looking for better offers though."
Just as expected the bartender leered at her lecherously. Backup let him have an eye full and then sat back on her stool.
"Anything going around here?" she asked and took a long slow sip of her drink.
The man in front of her was like a fish on a hook, all she had to do was reel him in. This excuse for a human being did nothing to improve her faith in male kind.
"Well I could put in a good word for you with the management," the bartender said and wiped the counter as casually as his fixated gaze would let him. "My name's Johnny, what's yours?"
"Jessabelle," Backup said with a grin and drew a laugh out of her target, "and you know what they said about my namesake."
Her net enclosed around the bartender, and the hunt was over. The man was putty in her skilful hands.
It took her about ten minutes to figure out the man didn't know anything useful, and another ten to convince Johnny he wanted to take her back stage. There were a few girls wandering around but no one really took any notice of her. She asked a few questions, wandered around a bit, fended off the wandering palms of the bartender and came to the conclusion she was wasting her time. There didn't seem to be anything in the club worth investigating; it appeared to be a dead end. Very unhappy with the way things were going she made her excuses, flirted one last time with Johnny just in case she needed to come back and then left.
To make sure no one could blow her cover she had parked the hire car a few blocks away and putting away any thoughts of how vulnerable her outfit made her look she began to walk. It didn't take her long to hear the footsteps behind her and slipping her hand into her bag she put her fingers around her gun. Backup continued to walk and the footsteps continued to follow her, by the time she neared the car she was worried. Her most vulnerable moment would be when she tried to get into the vehicle. Before that point she really needed to know if the danger was real and what it was. Taking a deep breath she tightened her grip on her gun, mentally prepared herself for a confrontation and turned around.
Nothing, there was no one in the street behind her. The road was empty and there was no sign of anyone who could have made the footsteps.
"Tina, get a grip," she whispered to herself.
Still on edge she turned back to the car and came face to face with a woman.
"Tina," the stranger said lightly, "a pretty name to go with that pretty face. The master wants you."
Before Backup could respond or react the woman lashed out with a fist. The movement was so fast even CI5 training couldn't save Tina and she went flying into the nearest wall as the knuckles connected with her chin. Her head snapped back, thudded against the brickwork and the world went black.
Phoebe really was going to P3. She was going to liase with Piper and then return to Halliwell Manor for a group meeting, she really was - only reality had other ideas. The youngest witch was just stepping out of the car when the premonition hit. She saw a woman by a car telling herself to get a grip and she saw the vampire creature come up behind her. Putting together what Sam and Chris had told her about Backup, Phoebe knew exactly who the victim in the vision was and the witch couldn't help herself; she had to do something. Pulling out her mobile phone she dialled home.
She waited impatiently chewing her lip and then to her dismay the answer machine kicked in. Knowing she had little time she tried to come up with a sensible message as the machine told her no one was available to answer the phone.
"Pru," she said as the beep sounded, "if you're there, pick up."
She waited a couple of seconds but nothing happened.
"Okay, I had a vision. Sam and Chris couldn't have got back in time to stop their friend being sent out. She's been caught by Benias' she- demons. I'm going to try and reach Piper, but if she doesn't answer the phone either I'm going to see if I can help Backup. If I can follow the demon back to Benias' lair it'll give us the upper hand."
Phoebe hung up and dialled Piper's number. The phone went straight to her sister's answering service, which meant Piper was in one of the many mobile black spots. There was nothing for it; following her instincts and the vague ideas she had from the vision Phoebe went into action.
"Mr Curtis, Mr Keel," Malone greeted as the two agents walked into the borrowed offices they were using as their base of operations, "anything to report?"
"We've found another lead," Curtis told his boss smoothly. "There were some civilians at the club. It seems that there is another man missing."
"Civilians?" Malone said evenly.
"Three sisters, sir," Keel explained quickly. "It appears that the middle sister's fianc went missing last night. Since he hasn't been floating down the river we think he may have been a last minute catch after we got away. It's possible he's still alive."
Malone observed his two agents calmly. There was something about the two that bothered him; he had a feeling they weren't giving him the whole story. Of course when it came to 3.7 and 4.5 sometimes it was hard to gauge what they were up to. They were undoubtedly his best agents, but sometimes they were almost more trouble than they were worth.
"Any new information from these civilians?" Malone asked eventually.
"We think our new missing person disappeared somewhere in the warehouse district close to the club," Curtis replied and quite calmly looked Harry in the eye. "It's possible that because of last night's operation our targets have changed their MO. We'd like to take a look down there, see if our escape made them make a mistake."
The head of CI5 looked from one agent to the other considering the request. It was the next logical move after all. Finally Malone put his doubts down to his over active paranoia and nodded.
"Very well, gentlemen," he said slowly, "but I want to know the moment you find anything."
"Yes, sir," they said simultaneously.
It was only as they turned to go and Malone went back to the case folder he had been reading that anything odd occurred.
"If you don't mind me asking," Curtis spoke calmly, "where's Backup?"
"I sent her to investigate one of the other clubs," Malone replied finishing the sentence he had just started reading.
When he looked up he was just in time to catch the tail end of a flash of what he assumed was anxiety on Keel's face. He flicked his eyes over to Curtis and the man was totally unreadable. Malone knew that Sam Curtis only ever had that expression on his face when he was hiding a strong emotion.
"Is there something I should know?" Malone asked pointedly.
"No, sir," Keel said quickly, "you know us, we just worry about Backup."
Harry didn't really buy the explanation, but he had learned to trust his agents. If there was something they didn't want to tell him they probably had a very good reason. It annoyed him slightly, but he was sure he would find out in time.
"Miss Backus is quite capable of taking care of herself," he said sternly; he was not letting them get away with that last comment.
"Yes, sir," they both said a little too quickly and hovered.
"Goodbye, gentlemen," Malone said pointedly.
Sam was still seething when they reached the car. It had taken a great deal of will power to face Malone and not tell him quite how far out of his depth he was. When Chris' mobile had started to ring Sam had a distinctly bad feeling and his partner's face as he listened to the person on the other end of the line did not help.
"That was Pru," Chris said as he folded his phone away. "She just found a message on their machine. Phoebe had another vision about Backup. She went charging to the rescue and now they're both missing."
Sam just stared at his partner for a moment and the image of Backup lying dead on the altar flashed through his head yet again.
"We have to find them, and fast," he said coldly, and he felt the first stirrings of a rage in his body that he was not sure he could control.
Usually he could turn all of his emotions off; squash them down in a little place where he didn't have to acknowledge them until everything was over. Yet he didn't seem to be able to do the same thing now. It was a little frightening to find his rigid control so completely breached, which of course didn't help him come up with a solution.
"Malone shouldn't have sent her," he half said, half growled. "It's obvious how dangerous it is."
"Yeah, well, it's too late now," Chris commented, also more than a little annoyed. "We're just going to have to clean up the mess."
The American glanced away towards the car, obviously thinking about what to do next. Sam couldn't help himself, the anger bubbled through his mind and the world went suddenly luminous. It was irrational, it wasn't going to do them any good, but he really wanted to kill something, preferably with his bare hands.
Chris turned back and his eyes went wide. When his partner took a step away from him it didn't help Sam's equilibrium much. The Englishman knew his demon was in control, but he couldn't do anything about it.
"What the hell are you doing?" Chris asked loudly and anxiously.
"Getting ready for Benias," Sam growled and rational thought had little to do with his motivation.
"Sam, you're beginning to worry me," Chris responded, his voice rising a little.
The ex-SEAL actually looked a little more than worried, he looked about ready to run. Sam glared at him, unable to hide his anger at all.
"Well I hope I have the same effect on the bad guys," the Englishman said maliciously.
Sam took a step towards the car and Chris looked as if he wanted nothing to do with anything for a few seconds, then the ex-SEAL put himself between his partner and the vehicle.
"Get a grip," the American almost growled. "For god's sake calm the hell down. What if someone sees you?" The blonde man's voice began to rise. "We have to come up with a plan. Charging in there like a demon army isn't going to help anyone, and I'm sure as hell not going anywhere with an irrational hellspawn." Chris was almost shouting now and he didn't seem to be about to stop. "I mean, look at you. You look like something out of a Stephen King novel. They're going to see you coming and then they're going to kill you. All those nasty things will get what they want, and Backup'll die."
At that point Chris seemed to have worked himself up into a tirade and Sam actually drew to a halt as his friend inundated him with words. Chris didn't very often loose his rag quite so completely and he actually began inserting the odd expletive into his diatribe. Sam stood there in shock as Chris yelled at him. The thing was, Keel out of control actually struck Curtis as funny. In his thoroughly screwed up brain, Chris standing in the street, shouting almost incoherently at him made Sam want to laugh, and that emotion struck the wall of anger that had been building inside him. The two feelings battled each other for a little bit and Sam actually felt the anger start to die down to manageable levels.
It took a few seconds but slowly the world resolved back into normality and the Englishman had himself back under control. Chris on the other hand was still going, and he wasn't even looking at Sam anymore. The smile that was playing at Sam's mouth evolved into a chuckle and finally into a full fledged laugh. Then and only then did the ex-SEAL appear to catch on to the fact that the crisis was over and he was the one freaking out. His torrent of words drew to an unsure halt and he just stood there looking at Sam, obviously at a loss to deal with the sudden change in his partner.
Before the laughter could turn into hysterics Sam clamped down on it and with a supreme effort of will asserted his CI5 operative rational. He'd always had a somewhat black sense of humour and he couldn't quite wipe the smile completely off his face.
"Let's go find Backup," he decided eventually and Chris just nodded.
Pru opened the door with a very black look on her face. She didn't even greet the two agents, just left the door opened, turned her back and stalked towards the kitchen. Sam let Chris enter first and then followed, closing the door behind him. The strange feeling that the house was staring at him settled in the back of his mind, but he shook off his disquiet and went to join the others.
"I get the feeling things are worse than when we spoke," Chris said as soon as he was into the kitchen.
"We tried a scrying spell," Piper explained from where she had the Book of Shadows spread on the table. "It didn't work."
"Benias' power is diverting the spell," Leo added extra explanation. "Phoebe and your friend could be anywhere in a twenty block radius. We're looking for a stronger spell."
"You can't find them at all?" Sam asked, ruthlessly trying to detach himself from the idea and the emotions it threatened to produce. Digging his nails into his hand seemed to help.
"Not at the moment," Pru said coldly, "but we will."
Phoebe tried to struggle, but the demons were too strong for her. She couldn't believe how close she had been to her goal when they had finally caught her. It was annoying as well as being somewhat terrifying. The demons dragged her down a long corridor and into a slightly larger room that the young witch could only describe as a chamber. It had a high domed ceiling with ornate designs all over it, and at the very centre was a chair. The room was empty except for one person, a woman Phoebe couldn't quite see properly lying across the chair in some state of unconsciousness. Once inside the room the demons released her with a shove and then quickly retreated the way they had come.
"Great hospitality," Phoebe muttered to herself. "Love what you've done with the place."
In the youngest Halliwell's mind there was no point in getting upset when there was nothing you could do about it. In her usual practical manner Phoebe berated herself for being quite so stupid and set about trying to figure out how to dig herself out of the proverbial hole she had managed to stumble into. First things first: She walked closer to the unconscious woman. It was only as the young witch was within a few feet that she could see her companion's face properly for the first time. At that point Phoebe did recognise her and cold fingers of fear ran up her backbone.
"Well, now at least I know where you are," the youngest Halliwell said to herself and the unconscious Tina Backus. "You look different alive."
Backup's face was relaxed in sleep, but at least she wasn't glassy eyed and dead. Phoebe knew that she probably didn't have long, but while both of them were alive she had a chance.
"You wouldn't consider giving me a hand and waking up, would you?" the witch said hopefully and put her hand on the other woman's shoulder.
There was no response.
"She can't hear you," said a cultured male voice and Phoebe spun on the spot. "I've enchanted her mind and she will sleep until I wake her."
Fear settled in the pit of Phoebe's stomach as for the first time she saw the creature they were up against. He was actually handsome in a supernatural kind of way and very easy on the eye. Benias was tall, blonde, and built like a god. Claws tipped long sensual fingers, and the black silk he was wearing shimmered in the light. His features were classically beautiful, but his face was missing one thing - warmth. Totally black eyes caught Phoebe's gaze and there was no life in them. It was like looking at a dead thing and Benias made the witch shiver.
"Why is she here?" Phoebe almost surprised herself when she spoke.
The demon warlock smiled at her and momentarily dark patterns materialised on the skin of his face and neck, fading as quickly as they had come. The youngest Halliwell was reminded of an octopus changing its camouflage.
"She is the sacrifice," Benias explained calmly. "Her death will make you mine. Mortals are so fragile, but their souls can be so useful. My power can kill you, but I can never control you with it. She'll do that for me. Her essence will corrupt you, change you and allow my power dominion over you. Once she is dead you will have no will but mine."
"If it's so easy, why all the talking," Phoebe tried a bit of false bravado, not that she had any idea what she was going to do next.
Benias laughed at her.
"Everything in its proper time," he said calmly. "My little pawn isn't quite ready yet. She has a strong will. No match for mine of course, but I must make sure she has no defences left by the time of the ceremony."
The demon walked calmly towards the chair and, unable to help herself, Phoebe took a step back.
"She is quite beautiful," Benias said whimsically and ran a claw along the side of Backup's face. "I would take the time to enjoy her but other matters occupy my mind at the moment."
It didn't take a genius to realise that Benias was, by human standards, completely insane and for a demon he was pretty freaky too. Phoebe sent up a silent prayer that her sisters and their secret weapon would find them soon.
"Tina my dear," Benias said gently. "Time to wake up. You must meet the woman you're going to destroy."
For a few moments Backup didn't move, but then ever so slowly she stirred. At first her eyelids just moved and then they flickered open for a fraction of a second. Eventually after a few more blinks, unfocussed brown eyes wandered around the room. A small frown marred the beautiful face for a second or so and then Benias reached out and took her hand. All expression vanished from her face at the contact. Phoebe watched, fascinated, as the demon helped his victim sit up. The long black robe Backup was wearing pooled around her on the chair.
"Greet your kindred sister, my dear," Benias said gently. "Soon your life will be driving her body."
Almost like a mannequin the woman stood up slowly and walked towards the stunned Phoebe. Without pausing and looking straight through the young witch, Tina put one hand on either of Phoebe's shoulders and then kissed her lightly on the cheek. Then she turned and walked back to their captor.
"Delightful isn't she?" Benias said as horror crept up on the witch. "Her will is all but gone. All that needs to be done now is to replace that with carnal desire and she will be the perfect catalyst for your transformation."
He reached out to the insensible woman and turned her back towards Phoebe. Placing a hand on the back of her head he closed his eyes and there was a brief flash of light from his hand. The blank look on Tina's face slowly transformed into one of hunger. She breathed deeply as if trying to fight the obvious urges in her body. As if she were on a string she began to move towards her tormentor and she reached out her arm towards him. Benias in turn laughed and Phoebe felt sickened by the whole scene.
"How much do you want me?" the demon asked slowly.
All that came out of Backup's mouth was an animalistic growl.
"Show me," Benias said callously.
Under Phoebe's horrified gaze Tina reached for the clasp on her robe and without pausing released it. With a simple shrug the cloth slipped off her shoulders and fell to the floor, landing around her feet. She was wearing nothing beneath it. Falling to her knees Backup reached out to Benias, running her hands up his legs.
"Stop," he said simply before the woman could get any further. "By the time you die, my pretty," he said, capturing Tina's chin in one hand, "you will be begging for anything that moves. Remember the hunger in her eyes," Benias continued, turning his attention back to Phoebe. "Soon it will be yours."
Then he disentangled himself from his helpless pawn and strode towards the door.
"Wait," Phoebe said almost desperately, "what happens now?"
"I'll leave you two to become acquainted," the demon said calmly, "and tonight we shall have our ceremony."
He swept out of the room and left Phoebe with the still sitting Backup. Ruthlessly shoving panic aside the witch picked up Tina's discarded robe and carried over to the motionless woman. She placed it around the Canadian's shoulders gently, and was rewarded with a look at the agent's desire filled face. There was no personality in the eyes that looked at her, just hunger.
"My sisters will get us out of here," Phoebe promised quietly, but Tina's expression did not change.
Sam tried really hard not to pace, but the urge just got the better of him. It was either wear a hole in the Halliwell's kitchen floor or kill something, and just then there wasn't anything available for slaughter. Sam didn't like not being in control; his whole life was one long mission to be on top of every possible situation. That he and Chris were waiting on someone else and that Sam wasn't aware of all the pieces in the puzzle made him a very annoyed individual.
"Found something," Piper announced and slammed her hand onto the book of shadows.
Sam came to a halt directly behind her.
"What?" he demanded a little more harshly than he had intended.
Piper gave him a withering look and the Englishman had to clamp down on the anger that threatened to make a reply to her reaction.
"There's a way we can find Phoebe," the young witch explained, "a ceremony to locate her. It's in Grams' handwriting and it's a version of the scrying spell. The problem is it takes three witches and we only have two."
"Know any more?" Chris asked which was fortunate because Sam's comment would not have been so polite.
"It wouldn't work." It was Leo who spoke as he glanced over Piper's shoulder. "It needs three witches who understand the individual they seek. I believe it was written so your Grandmother could find one of you if you were taken by evil. It looks like she designed it to use the other two with herself as focus."
Sam felt the anger bubbling inside him; his demon half crept towards the surface and the world tinged slightly. He saw Leo glance at him a little worriedly, but the white lighter did not comment. The nails in his palm seemed to be helping the half-demon less and less.
"But," the blond man said, "we might be able to work with what we have. I can't use my power directly but I can act as a focus. That leaves us two witches and," Leo looked directly at Sam, "one demon."
The shock of what the white lighter was suggesting actually gave Sam back control of his raging emotions. The incubus retreated as confusion entered the Englishman's head. Several different questions entered the agent's mind at the same time. He settled for the simplest.
"But how?" Sam asked.
"When you shared Phoebe's premonition you were actually inside her head," Leo explained. "Unconsciously you leached some of Phoebe's power which gives you a fundamental understanding of her. That makes you the perfect third, except for the fact that you have no clue how to use your abilities."
"Find Phoebe we find Backup," Sam half asked half stated.
"That's the plan," Pru said evenly.
"Can I do anything?" Chris asked calmly, but Sam could tell his partner was feeling like a spare wheel.
"How's your will?" Leo asked slowly.
"He's as stubborn as a mule," Sam said, finally feeling that there was at last a glimmer of hope on the horizon.
"Then you can act as a guardian to the circle. With the amount of black magic floating around it's best to be safe," Leo told the American agent. "All you need to do is keep one thought in your head."
"I think I can manage that," Chris said with a rueful grin.
End of Part 4
Piper wasn't sure who was more nervous, her or Sam Curtis. Although she'd never show it the half-demon made her a little anxious. The fact that her power seemed to have no effect on him what so ever was disconcerting and at the moment he seemed so angry all of the time. The witch could imagine what he must be going through, having suddenly discovered that he was not completely human, and his friend disappearing at the same time. Her mind flicked back to Jeremy and how difficult it had been for her when her powers had first manifested themselves. She smiled at him as he glanced in her direction.
"Nothing to worry about," she said as Pru drew the last part of the chalk circle around them.
"Are you trying to convince me or yourself?" Sam replied with a half smile.
"A bit of both," Piper told him in kind.
"Okay, are we all ready?" Pru asked decisively as she finished drawing and stood up.
"As I'll ever be," Sam commented, but there was a determined look on his face.
Piper just nodded her agreement and Leo did the same.
"Right," Pru continued, "then let's hold hands round the map."
They had the section of map the scrying spell had indicated set up on a small table in the middle of the attic. On it was the pointer from the spirit board. Piper bit back on the sudden anxiety which threatened to overcome her when she actually had to take Sam Curtis' hand. This was no time for girlish fancies; they had a job to do. No matter what things her imagination could conjure up about the half-demon, there were more pressing things to think about.
"I cast this circle," Pru said calmly, "may it stand against all evil and protect those within it. Let the guardian refuse entry to all that would seek us harm."
Piper glanced at where Chris Keel was standing just outside the chalk ring. He was staring at the line on the floor and the single-minded expression on his face was almost scary. The middle Halliwell had the distinct impression that being on the wrong side of the two mysterious agents would be very bad for a person's health. With these two men focus was not a problem and the witch was very glad they were the good guys.
"Everyone concentrate on the pointer and think of Phoebe," Pru said calmly, "I'll recite the spell."
Piper fixed her eyes on the wooden device and tried to put her sister at the front of her mind. She recalled a moment only a few days ago when she and Phoebe had been laughing in the kitchen, talking about the younger woman's latest conquest. Happy thoughts always seemed to work best for these types of spells and Piper put all darker ideas out of her head.
"One is lost, a sister indeed, guide us to her, in our hour of need," Pru chanted evenly.
It wasn't the most elegant of spells but Piper could feel its power almost instantly. The hairs on the back of her neck stood up and she was suddenly keenly aware that she was not standing next to a normal human being. The young witch almost turned as she experienced what Phoebe would probably have called "a rippled in the force". Magic was strange like that; sometimes a spell would go off and there would be no indication that it had worked, at other times the supernatural aspect of what they did made itself very plain. This time Piper found herself hyper aware of everything around her including Sam Curtis and Leo.
For a while nothing happened. There was absolute stillness, only the sound of breathing disturbed the silence. Then very slowly the pointer moved. At first it simply twitched and stopped again. Piper felt a pressure on her will, almost as if something were pushing back on her. It actually annoyed her and without really knowing what she was doing she shoved back. The pointer twitched again.
"We're being blocked," Pru said in a very cold voice that meant she was very far from happy. "Even with the circle we're being blocked."
"Like hell you are," the voice belonged to Chris Keel and Piper couldn't help but glance at him.
If the witch had thought the American looked determined before she was shocked by the righteous anger that flared through his expression now. Much to Piper's surprise the chalk line on the floor began to give off a faint light. Dragging herself back to her own task she fixed her eyes back on the pointer.
"One is lost, a sister indeed, guide us to her, in our hour of need," Pru tried again.
The wooden device twitched again and this time it moved off the spot.
"Find her," Piper whispered to herself, "find my sister."
With every ounce of will she had the middle Halliwell threw herself into her task. With the smiling face of her sister at the forefront of her mind she focused totally on the pointer. It moved again, a little more freely this time. The most peculiar sensation began to spread up her arm. It was like the lightest touch of ice, and it started where she held Sam Curtis' hand and moved upwards. It travelled across her chest, down her other arm and into her right hand. The pointer moved again but this time it slowly began to spin on the spot. The pressure was back and it was more than a little frustrating.
Piper tried to ignore both the sensation of hitting her head against a wall and the prickling that wouldn't go away. They didn't matter, they weren't important, the only thing that mattered was finding Phoebe. The pressure began to grow and so did the tingling. Eventually it was completely impossible to ignore both sensations. Piper had to fight not to pull away from the circle of people they had made.
"Move," she heard Curtis more growl than say and suddenly everything happened at one.
The attic vanished in a flash of somewhere else. A place that looked very much like a warehouse. Phoebe was there and she was standing beside another woman who seemed to be in some distress. There was a noise and a large door opened to reveal a demon with the face of a handsome man. Piper knew she was looking at Benias. Just as soon as it had begun it was over, and the witch was staring at the map again. However, something had changed, the pointer was no longer sitting on the map, it was standing on it. To be precise it was balanced on the very corner of it's pointy end and it was spinning. In shock Piper let go of both hands she was holding and with the link broken the pointer fell over, still once again. It left behind it a small hole in the map.
"Did everyone else see it too?" she asked, wanting to know if everyone else had felt the some thing she had.
"Like before," Sam Curtis said and his voice sounded strange. "One of Phoebe's visions."
Piper glanced at him and had to stop herself from taking a step back. The agent no longer looked exactly human, and he seemed as anxious about it as she felt. She watched as he took a deep breath and closed his eyes. She recognised stress-relieving techniques when she saw them and gradually the sharp, almost silver nails on his hands morphed back into ordinary ones. It appeared to take a supreme effort, but when he opened his eyes again Sam Curtis was back to normal.
"She's somewhere on dock street." It was Pru who spoke and when Piper dragged her eyes away from Sam she found her sister pouring over the map.
"With Backup," Curtis said, his voice icy cold.
"Now what?" it was Chris Keel who voiced exactly what Piper was thinking.
"Now we get them both back," Pru said decisively.
Chris flicked his phone shut after giving Malone a fake rundown on what they had found so far. He disliked lying to his superior, but in this case it was necessary.
"Okay, so the old man is diverted," Chris said, much too brightly for the situation. "So what's the plan?"
"Why exactly are you so cheerful?" Pru asked pointedly. She wasn't handling the situation very well, and Chris had just made himself a prime target.
Sam sat down on the nearest stool and looked at his partner, who did not appear in the least repentant.
"Adrenaline," Sam said when Chris failed to give an appropriate reply. "He's addicted to it. Ignore him: he can't help it. It comes with the job."
"This isn't a game," Pru snapped. "My sister is in danger."
"So is one of our best friends," Chris said, suddenly serious, "but if you can't laugh occasionally you go crazy."
Pru looked like she would argue about that, but Leo walked into the kitchen and interrupted the discussion before it began.
"Sam, we need to work on the control of your supernatural half," the whitelighter said calmly.
"And you're the instructor for demon 101," Sam said, not exactly pleased by the prospect before him, but knowing that he couldn't get out of this one.
Leo smiled and nodded.
"I'm the closest thing we have to an expert," he said good-naturedly. "If Cole was here I'd conscript him, but you're stuck with me."
"Who's Cole?" Sam asked knowing he was simply changing the subject, but not being able to help himself.
"Phoebe's boyfriend," Pru supplied in a tone that suggested she didn't fully approve. "He is also half-demon."
That confused Sam.
"I thought you said half-demon's were rare." He looked to Leo for clarification.
"Half-Incubi are rare," Leo corrected in his normal passive tone, "half-demons are more common than you might think. Baltazar, Cole's demon alter-ego, is powerful, but he's not in your league. If Incubi spent more time fighting for the dark and less time obsessed with sex the light would be in serious trouble."
Sam wasn't quite sure how to deal with that information. It had been a mad two days and Sam found himself just accepting things and trying not to think about them.
"Okay, where are we going to do this practice session?" He switched back to the real topic.
"The attic," Leo suggested helpfully. "It's quiet and no one will disturb us."
"Just try not to break anything," Pru said and Sam wasn't sure if she was joking.
"Lead on, Macduff," Sam said, resigned to his fate.
If he was going to have to do this it might as well be now.
"See you later, Sam," Chris said with an unsure look on his face as the half-demon headed for the door.
"Um," was all the Englishman managed in reply as he tried to guess what this was going to be like.
"You have to learn how to do it on demand," Leo said calmly. "Stop being afraid of yourself or we may as well just leave."
Sam glared at the whitelighter; he was not happy with the man just at the moment. The lesson was not going well. He knew what he had to do, but he didn't like it much. When the demon came out he didn't feel in control and Sam was very much a person who appreciated control. Ever since his other half had first emerged Sam had been able to feel it just below the surface. If he was completely honest with himself, Leo was right he was afraid, and whenever Sam Curtis was afraid he tended to bury it with anger.
"I don't know how," much to his surprise he found himself admit.
"Then you have to learn and you have to learn in the next two hours," Leo said coldly.
The whitelighter's attitude was deliberately confrontational and had Sam been a little more rational he might not have risen to the bait. However, he wasn't thinking as clearly as usual and Leo's tone annoyed him.
"And exactly how am I supposed to do that?" Sam almost growled.
"I can't tell you," Leo snapped back, "you're the half demon, you figure it out."
That was it, Sam temper hit boiling point and he snapped. Before he really knew what he was doing he had Leo pinned against the wall and the world was luminous. The whitelighter made no move to struggle and simply looked at Sam. With nothing to provoke him the Englishman's brain clicked back in and it dawned on him that he had been quite obviously baited.
"You bastard," he said icily, but took a step back and released his grip on Leo.
Now the demon was out Sam wasn't completely sure how to get rid of it and he seethed silently.
"You have to get used to what you are," Leo said, more gently this time. "The demon is you and you have to control it. You are the only person who can defeat Benias."
"It doesn't feel like me," Sam said, unable to calm the demon back into its shell.
"You're stronger than your instincts," the whitelighter told him calmly. "Accept yourself and find control."
The CI5 agent looked at Leo's sincere and understanding expression. Everything he said was true and Sam knew he couldn't shy away from this. It was time to stop acting like an idiot and remember he was an agent of CI5. His demon was not going to go away and he had to deal with it. Under better circumstances he would have had time to come to terms with the changes, but there was no time and there was a need. Taking a deep breath he closed his eyes and looked inwards. Rather than shying away from his demon nature he mentally stared at it. Emotions surged and adrenaline flooded his system as the thrill ran through him. His demon both horrified and excited him at the same time. Its power was magnificent but its wildness was frightening.
In his mind's eye Sam visualised the raging inside him and embraced it. Rather than backing away he took the power and tried to bend it to his will. It was hard; he felt as if he'd stepped off a cliff and was falling out of control. Vaguely he realised that he had taken a path and there was no turning back. This was his heritage, his genetic makeup and there was no hiding it any more. With a gasp he opened his eyes and looked at Leo and the world was normal again. The whitelighter smiled at him.
"Well done," he encouraged warmly. "Now bring it out again."
As far as Sam was concerned this had to be much easier. Closing his eyes again he looked inside and there was the power. Rationally he reached for his demon and the only way he could explain it was that he missed. Sam opened his eyes in surprise and tried to figure out what had gone wrong.
"I ... ah ...," he tried to explain but couldn't.
In consternation he closed his eyes and tried again. This time he put a little more force behind the thought and felt himself touch the demon. It flared but did not rise to the surface. This was actually harder than he had assumed. It also gave him an insight into the fact that his demon wasn't as dominant as he had thought. He had assumed that it would take over given only a slightest chance but he was discovering that it wasn't that easy. This fact gave him confidence as he realised that he had some control. With that realisation he reached for his demon, embraced it and willed it to the surface. Even without opening his eyes he knew he had changed.
"Good," Leo said as soon as Sam did look at him. "Now we have to work on the finer points."
With a totally new outlook on the situation the Englishman nodded and steeled himself for whatever was to come.
When Sam finally reappeared from the attic Chris met him in the hall. The look on the American's face told Sam that his partner was in a talking mood. He'd gained that pensive, slightly confused expression he always wore when he was about to broach a subject he was not one hundred percent sure of. Sam had been headed for the kitchen to get a coffee, but Chris was hovering by the living room door so the Englishman diverted. Giving his partner a large smiled he wandered past him and flopped gracefully onto the sofa.
"Either you're constipated or you have something on your mind," he said lightly and grinned unrepentantly.
Sam was in a good mood after his success and he was pleased when Chris smiled back.
"Am I really that obvious?" the American asked and took a chair opposite Sam.
"Your poker face only works on the bad guys," the half-demon replied cheerfully.
"I take it your lesson from Leo went well," Chris said slowly, and Sam had the sneaking suspicion that this was the beginning of the build up.
"Lets just say I'm more in control now," the Englishman revealed lightly.
"And we all know what you're like about control," Chris said with a grin.
"Are you saying I'm a control freak?" Sam asked with mock indignation.
"Now, would I ever suggest a thing like that?" his partner said lightly and looked at the far wall.
He was obviously considering what he was going to say next and Sam left him to his thoughts. When Chris was in this type of mood he needed space.
"I've been thinking," the ex-SEAL eventually began.
"Well that's a bad start," Sam said lightly.
Chris had the good humour to grin.
"I'm sorry for reacting so badly, um ... ah ... when you changed," the American stumbled a little bit on his apology.
"No need," Sam said evenly, growing serious. "This is weird for both of us."
"Yeah, but you have so much to deal with, the last thing you need is me freaking out," Chris seemed determined to apologise.
"If you remember, I believe it was your 'freak out' that stopped me making a complete prat out of myself," Sam pointed out calmly.
Chris raised his eyebrows at that but couldn't really disagree.
"Well I don't want it to happen again," the ex-SEAL said firmly.
"So how do we achieve this?" Sam asked reasonably although he had a sneaking suspicion.
Chris looked at him hard as if the answer was obvious and Sam finally relented.
"Okay," Sam said calmly, "how's this for a party trick?"
With that he embraced his demon and let his form change. Chris didn't move a muscle and just sat there. His expression was fixed as if he was trying very hard to control it and Sam simply looked at him calmly.
"Well at least I'll never have to buy another Halloween costume," the Englishman broke the awkward silence and grinned.
It occurred to him that this might be a little unsettling since he had just revealed his fangs, but it was too late now. To his relief Chris actually smiled.
"Just don't look at me for backup when someone asks you where you got the contact lenses," he said and although there just a touch of trepidation in his voice he seemed mostly normal.
Phoebe had been trying to get some sense out of Tina all afternoon, but the woman was on a completely different planet. What ever she was normally like, Sam and Chris' friend was completely useless while she was under Benias' power. Knowing that she was on her own until the cavalry arrived Phoebe had tried to find her own way out with just as little success.
As the day had worn on Tina had become more and more like a wild thing and less and less like a real woman. There was a desperate look of hunger in her eyes that frightened Phoebe a little. It was not a hunger for food and the youngest Halliwell did not want to end up the same way. Unfortunately desperation did not help the young witch and she knew she had run out of options when the door opened for the second time to reveal Benias.
Tina was on her feet like a shot and Phoebe didn't think anything could have stopped the woman from reaching her target. The bewitched secret agent fell to her knees in front of the demon warlock and ran her hand up his leg as if he were the answer to her prayers. Benias simply laughed and bent down putting his hand under her chin.
"I think you are just about ready," he said with an evil smile. "Do you want to kiss me my little slave?"
All that came out of Tina's mouth was an incoherent grunt and she threw herself into the offered kiss. Phoebe felt sick. Benias laughed again as he broke away from his victim and looked over at the youngest Halliwell.
"Now you understand my power, witch," he said maliciously. "Soon you will be as willing as her."
"Not likely," Phoebe said defiantly.
The demon warlock just smiled at her.
"You have no choice," he said and stepped past Tina.
Two of his she-demons picked the bewitched woman off the floor and took her out of the room. Phoebe thought that was a very bad sign.
"You are mine," Benias told her calmly. "It is that simple."
He continued to walk into the room and Phoebe couldn't take her eyes off the still open door. She was desperate; no matter what face she was trying to put on the situation she knew that this creature's power could take her soul away and it frightened her. In a last ditch attempt for freedom she waited until Benias was out of reach of the door and then she ran. Her heart beat rang in her ears as her system flooded with adrenaline and she couldn't quite believe it when she made it past the demon. However, with escape in sight her hopes were shattered as two more she-demons appeared in the doorway.
"There is no way out," Benias said from just behind her ear and Phoebe jumped.
She hadn't even heard him move and she was trapped between him and his minions. His hand touched the back of her neck and she flinched away from his touch. It wasn't just that she didn't want to have him near her, it was that she could feel his evil.
"Take off your clothes," he said simply and shocked Phoebe some more.
The witch really didn't know what to do and she remained motionless.
"Take your clothes off or I will get them to do it for you," Benias said coldly, "and I cannot guarantee how gentle they will be."
Phoebe turned to look at her captor and with complete certainty she knew that if her sisters did not arrive soon there would be nothing to rescue. Somehow the knowledge that she was on the verge of loosing her soul strengthened her. She pulled herself up straight and raised her chin. If this was going to happen she was going to maintain her dignity. As calmly as she could manage she began to unbutton her shirt.
It took her a minute or so the shed her clothes and then she glared at Benias defiantly.
"Like what you see?" she asked bluntly.
Benias merely smiled.
"Hold out your arms," he instructed simply.
Phoebe paused momentarily in rebellion but eventually did as she was told. With little warning the demon warlock reached out and bound her wrists with a thin, strangely coloured rope. Almost instantly Phoebe felt her mind fog.
"A binding spell," Benias said as the youngest Halliwell's world slowly faded. "Temporary, but highly effective."
Phoebe's last thought was at least she wouldn't see her fate coming.
End of Part 5
Part 6 It was very dark, of that much Sam was sure and after the warning from Leo he didn't dare to shift into demon form to improve his vision. The whitelighter had explained that in human form Sam was virtually undetectable to the supernatural. He registered as human according to Leo, but in demon form he was like a beacon. Sam was the key element to the end of the plan, until then he was keeping as low a profile as possible.
It was strange to be taking a back seat, especially when the two people in the lead were civilians, but Sam was following the plan. Both he and Chris were carrying large pump action shotguns, but they were only for emergencies. If they both shot at one of the she demons they might be able to take her down with a couple of volleys, but the outcome was doubtful. Hence it was Pru and Piper's job to get them through to the main objective. The main gist of the plan was for the two witches to distract Benias' minions and for Sam and Chris to covertly rescue Backup and Phoebe. Leo was around, but he couldn't directly use his powers so he was the standby plan. If all else failed he had Malone's phone number and the ability to call in the cavalry.
There was chanting coming from the inside of warehouse they were walking beside and Sam couldn't shake the feeling that they had to hurry. Time was of the essence, of that much he was sure. It took every ounce of Sam's self-control not to do something very stupid. When they found the side door it didn't really surprise Sam when it was unlocked. Demons didn't really have a lot to fear from burglars and anything else that would come looking for them probably wouldn't bother too much about a locked door anyway.
The small party of four crept into the dark corridor of the interior of the building. This was not the same place he and Chris had been taken to. Now he was here, Sam was sure this was a different location. Very similar in most ways, but Benias had another warehouse for his victims. The building brought Sam's confused memories of the previous night into better focus, but he still couldn't remember everything. The green glowing eyes and long fangs of the creature he had to thank for revealing his demon half were what stood out the most in his mind. The fact that they were on their way to face more of these demons was not the nicest feeling.
Pru and Piper paused just up ahead beside an internal door. It was a large industrial door and whoever had closed it had left a small gap between it and the frame. The Halliwells were peering through it. Sam followed Chris to join them. What Sam saw almost made him give himself away as his demon leapt towards the surface and tried to take over. Phoebe was tied to a pillar on a raised dais in the centre of the room. Her hands were held above her head with ropes that looked too thin to hold a child let alone a healthy young woman. Yet she stood there glassy eyed without struggling. Her face was devoid of expression and she didn't even seem to notice that she was naked. In front of her on an altar like structure was Backup, equally as naked and unresponsive.
Sam had always had a temper but he kept it well in check. When he laid eyes on their enemy he nearly lost it. Benias was kneeling before the altar with his back to his two prisoners, arms out accepting the adulation of his minions. The she-demons were kneeling at various places before the altar and they were chanting their master's name.
"Time to end this," Pru said firmly in a whisper and Sam couldn't have agreed more. "We'll go to the right," the eldest sister continued. "Piper will freeze them I'll start throwing things around. You two go left and try and get behind the altar."
Everyone nodded in agreement and then they quietly opened the door. The room was lit by candlelight and then only in the centre so there were plenty of shadows in which to hide. Sam knew that demon vision was far superior to human eyesight, but Benias seemed totally absorbed in his ritual. With the Halliwell's distracting the demons he and Chris should be able to reach the dais and rescue their friends. Sam was in the lead and, keeping as close to the wall as possible, he and Chris crept towards their goal. When they were almost there Pru and Piper made their move. The two witches stepped out from the shadows on the opposite site of the room and Piper threw up her hands. Benias began to rise to his feet and froze midway as did the she-demons. Sam couldn't believe it could be that easy and he was proved right a second later as Benias began to move again. It took his minions a second or so longer to free themselves, but Benias' power was strong in this room and Piper's power barely seemed to slow them down.
"Bring them to me," Benias bellowed and his minions moved.
Pru sent two of the she-demons flying backwards and Piper froze some of the others. It wouldn't stop them forever, but it was the perfect distraction. Sam and Chris moved towards their target. Much to Sam's dismay, however, Benias was not interested in the fighting. Under the half-demon's horrified gaze Benias turned his back on his minions and produced a knife from under his robe. He lifted it above Tina and prepared to finish his ritual. Without a second thought Sam and Chris brought up their weapons and fired straight at the demon's hand. Benias howled as his limb disintegrated. A shotgun wound to the body would just have annoyed Benias, taking off his hand and removing the knife was far more useful.
"I'll take Benias," Sam said quickly to his partner, "you get Backup and Phoebe."
Chris nodded and moved around the altar, Sam jumped onto the dais. The half-demon stared at his adversary with stone cold calm. He did not let the creature's supernatural aura shake his equilibrium and the mantle of efficient, professional agent was completely in place. Benias was looking at the bloody mess that had been the hand holding the knife above Tina. The warlock come demon did not seem to be able to believe what had just happened.
Suddenly, as if waking from a dream the creature turned and looked directly at Sam and sneered. In a fraction of a second even the last hint of humanity was gone and Benias' gazed on Sam with his full demon power. The marks that had before flowed across his skin took up permanent places, distorting Benias' face with their shapes. With this turn of events came the most extraordinary thing Sam had ever seen: Benias' hand literally reformed and in seconds there was a clawed limb, whole and ready for a fight.
"Human weapons cannot harm me, child. You will die slowly for your foolishness," Benias said with an evil smile, "but not before I have finished my latest creation."
The demon's hand moved towards Backup, claws outstretched to take the place of the ceremonial knife. Sam didn't even pause to think he just moved. Without realising what he was doing or trying to understand how he was doing it he embraced his demon half and moved faster than he had ever moved in his entire life. He crashed into Benias milliseconds before the creature's talons touched Backup's naked frame. The two demons went sprawling off the dais onto the surrounding floor.
Sam's system was flooded with adrenalin and he barely felt the impact as they both landed. He rolled away from his adversary and to his feet without pause. Benias was a moment slower and when the demon's head came up Sam was ready for him.
"It's unwise to push me too far," Benias said, all humour gone from his voice, "you are just making things more unpleasant for yourself."
There was no point in replying and it would have been a waste of energy: Sam simply waited for the attack he knew would be coming. However, he didn't quite expect what happened next. Benias drew himself up to his full height, which even Sam had to admit was impressive and then the warlock thrust both hands in the half-demon's direction. A ball of blue light erupted from the creature and headed straight for Sam. There was no way to avoid it and all the Englishman could do was bring up both hands in front of his face. Tensed for impact Sam actually wobbled when the energy came within millimetres of his body and then snaked around him. When Sam stared at his adversary, Benias appeared equally surprised and annoyed.
"Just hoping for a lucky break?" Sam asked evenly. "Hate to bring you up to speed, but I'm just like you; magic doesn't work."
The older demon growled something unintelligible and attacked. Sam met the first blow with a simple block and then threw a kick at Benias. The attack connected and there was a grunt from the demon. However, Sam had the impression it was more a sound of annoyance than one of pain. Strong hands grabbed at the half-demon's arms and he lifted both limbs sharply to try and remove the grip. He managed to shift one set of fingers but the other held on tightly and Sam could feel claws through his leather jacket.
Knowing that those talons could seriously injure him if they punctured material and flesh Sam lashed out letting instinct overcome training. His own nails, although not complete claws, were very claw like and they struck home almost immediately. He felt the resistance as he raked through the skin of Benias' arm. This time the sound the demon made was pain and not simply anger. The creature broke away and stepped back in an attempt to reassess his attack and defence.
Sam did not give Benias room and he followed the demon's slight retreat. The agent tried to rebalance his technique to more effectively use the weapons his un-natural father had given him. The closest form he could think of from his training was knife fighting and he held his hands in front of him like the lethal instruments they could mimic. Swiping at Benias several times Sam tried to make it inside the demon's defences, but the warlock had adjusted to the speed of his opponent and his attacks met with blocks. Benias gave no ground, but neither did he manage to injure Sam, which was far better than Sam had thought things would be.
Without warning Benias moved backwards, and before Sam could react a second ball of energy was on its way to him. Even though the half- demon's rational brain knew it would not hurt him instinct took over and once again Sam brought his hands up in front of his face. This was what Benias had been waiting for and in the seconds that it took Sam to recover the demon attacked. The creature did not try and hit his opponent; he tackled him, throwing them both back towards the dais. They slammed into it with Sam taking the brunt of the impact. Stunned, the half-demon could not defend himself properly and he felt Benias' knee contact hard with his stomach. Unable to help himself Sam began to fall, but his opponent was still on the attack. Claws darted under the protection of Sam's leather jacket and sharp pain erupted in the half- demon's back. In a desperate bid to escape Sam twisted himself away from the creatures claws and let himself fall to the floor, rolling as he did so.
The pain was intense and it was as if there were lines of fire running along his back, but Sam knew he could not let it slow him down. Ignoring his mortal body he gave complete control to his demon and the half-incubus that glared at Benias after that bore little resemblance to the Sam Curtis most people had met. Demon had combined with the raw will to survive that Sam rarely dipped into and if Benias had known he would have been afraid.
When the older demon tried to push his advantage he met not an injured, semi-helpless half-demon, but a vessel of pure fury. Sam's hands lanced out with demon speed and CI5 trained accuracy. Benias literally howled as Sam's semi-claws made contact and the demon lurched away. This time Sam did not follow but waited with perverse enjoyment. When his opponent's glare returned to him there were three neat gouges down Benias' face, only just missing his right eye. Taking great pleasure in the action Sam smiled and revealed his fangs.
Unused to being vulnerable anymore Benias seemed unable to quite accept that he had been injured twice. The demon appeared shocked by the whole situation and not quite decided what to do next. Sam gave the warlock a few seconds to consider his situation and then the half-demon attacked. This was not a battle of men, it was a battle of demons and when they met it was more like a pair of animals than anything remotely human. They grappled, clawing at each other, but Sam barely registered anything that Benias could do to him.
This creature had tried to kill his friends. The demon had spawned incredible evil and that offended Sam in a way he could never put into words. This was going to end now, forever. He rained blow after blow onto his opponent and the attacks that came back were gradually weaker and weaker. There was no thought in Sam's mind of stopping, of defeating this thing but letting it live. Even the smallest part of the half-demon's being was dedicated to eradicating this evil from the face of the earth.
Benias' defence was almost nothing and his robe was bloody and torn, yet Sam appeared to have very little damage. As the older demon slowly folded in on himself Sam brought his right arm back and with all his strength sent it flying towards Benias' throat. The evil creature's eyes opened wide in fear as he realised he had no defence and then Sam's claws quite neatly removed the demon's larynx.
Benias staggered backwards a step, hands going to his ruined throat. He gurgled grotesquely as his fingers reached out to touch flesh that was no longer there. Sam just stood there and watched, waiting for any sign that this was not the end.
Something began to happen to the demon-warlock. At first Sam wasn't quite sure what it was, but slowly he realised that Benias was melting. It was as if the demon's structure was caving in on itself and he began to let out a pitiful whine. Sam's adrenalin infused brain flash him a grotesque parody of the wicked witch from the Wizard of Oz and he couldn't help but smile. He was too high on endorphins for any pain to reach his battle soaked mind and he watched his opponent die.
Sam felt a presence beside him as he gazed on his adversary's final moments and he didn't have to look to know it was Chris.
"Now that is a disgusting way to die," was the American's comment.
"At least he didn't explode," was the closest Sam could come to a coherent reply.
They looked at each other and Sam grinned at his friend.
"Piece of cake," he said nonchalantly.
Chris grinned back.
"Never doubted it," he said lightly.
Even as Sam revelled in victory his eyes moved back to the dais. Phoebe was coming out of whatever trance Benias had put her in and Backup was still chained to the altar. Sam was relieved to see that his colleague was stirring even if she did not look completely awake.
"Let's get Backup out of here," Sam decided quickly.
Chris just nodded and turned to the task in hand.
As soon as Benias had begun to die so had his creations. Whatever the succubus come vampire she-demons had been they had been linked to their master in ways no one had suspected. Piper had been very glad when she didn't have to try and freeze them anymore. It wasn't easy having to set up a new freeze ever second or so. Unlike Benias the she-demons had not melted into piles of goo, they had simple fallen over and died, reverting to the shell of humanity they had lost.
Piper was amazed how fast everything had moved after the battle was over. Phoebe had recovered and seemed hardly bothered that she was completely naked. The middle Halliwell had had to admit that it was very much like her sister to simply stand there and challenge anyone to mention her state of undress.
What surprised Piper the most was the fact that Sam and Chris had seemed as equally un-phased by the nakedness of Phoebe and their colleague. They had been grateful when Phoebe had disappeared and come back with clothes for herself and Backup, but that was it. On the other hand Leo's eyes had been popping out of his head and Piper found that terribly sweet. Her husband could be very bashful sometimes.
Sam and Chris' friend had started to come round properly shortly after that and events had moved rapidly from there. The two agents had reminded them quietly to remember the cover story and called in their superior who had arrived minutes later with the local law. They had all repeated their stories of what had been happening and then they had been sent home. It had all been rather an anti-climax.
Piper was sitting in the kitchen nursing a cup of coffee when the doorbell rang. She heard Phoebe rush to the door.
"Hi guys," her sister's voice greeted, "come on in."
"We can't stay," replied Chris' voice lightly. "We just came to say our farewells."
By this time Piper had reached the hallway. Their two allies were standing in the doorway and Phoebe was bouncing happily in front of them. Phoebe was always the same after an adrenalin rush and Piper doubted her sister would stop moving for another couple of hours.
"Can't you even stay for a coffee?" Piper offered as Leo appeared from the living room and Pru came down the stairs.
"Sorry, but I have to get Sam back to his hotel room before he falls over," Chris replied with a smile. "Seems our hero is pooped."
The middle Halliwell did have to admit that the half-demon was looking frazzled. He had enough energy to grin at his companion's quip.
"When I can move without pain you will pay for that comment," was Sam's reply to his friend's quip.
Pru opened her mouth to say something, but to Piper's surprise Leo was in there first.
"Could I just have a few moments of Sam's time before you go, please?" the whitelighter asked calmly.
Piper watched with interest as the two men walked into the living room, but she squashed the urge to eavesdrop. Instead she turned her attention back to Chris.
"Thank you for all your help," she said genuinely. "We couldn't have won this one without you."
"All I did was stare at a chalk line and shoot at a few demons," the American replied lightly, "Sam did most of the work for our part of the plan."
"If there's one thing we've learned over our demon fighting years," Phoebe put in, "it's that it's all about team work. You may have noticed I get myself into trouble if I run off without my sisters. Trust me, Sam is going to need a partner more than ever now."
Piper was proud of her sister then; she often forgot how much Phoebe had matured over the last couple of years.
"As long as we go back to bad guys with guns not energy bolts I'll be happy," Chris said, making light of the subject.
"Are you still not going to tell us who you work for?" Pru asked before her sisters could leap in again.
"The boss would not be happy if I did," Chris replied good naturedly, "and you've met him so you can understand my reluctance. But here," he reached into his pocket and pulled out a small card, "these are our contact phone numbers, mobile and home. If you need us, call."
Phoebe took the offered card and read it.
"So you're based in England," she observed and looked at Chris thoughtfully. "I bet you're MI5 or MI6."
The American agent just smiled at her.
"Keep guessing," he said lightly, just as Sam and Leo reappeared from the other room.
The half-demon was looking a little surprised and a little worried, but the expression vanished off his face almost instantly. Piper wondered if anyone ever really saw behind his mask. Unconsciously she moved closer to Leo, suddenly feeling the need for human contact.
"Well we must be going," Chris said lightly. "It's been a pleasure working with you, but please don't be offended if I say that I hope it's a long time before we have to work together again."
"Oh, big ugly demons like Benias only happen every couple of weeks," Phoebe said cheerfully. "You don't mind the commute do you?"
"Bye, Phoebe," Sam said with mock sternness and the youngest Halliwell laughed.
"Bye, Sam," Phoebe replied and enthusiastically threw her arms around the startled agent.
He winced as she hugged him, but he hugged her back. Piper hoped her energetic sister had not done any permanent damage. Phoebe said goodbye to Chris in the same way and then the pair headed for the door.
"See you again," Piper said as they were about to leave. "Hopefully next time it will be under more pleasant circumstances."
"Amen to that," Pru seconded and both men waved as they departed Halliwell Manor.
It was over; another crisis was past. As her sisters vanished back to whatever they had been doing Piper took a moment to enjoy the calm after the storm. Smiling to herself at their success she wrapped her arms around Leo and let herself relax.
End of Part 6
Sam looked like hell; of that much Chris was one hundred percent sure. How he'd actually managed to walk from the crime scene without Malone or any of the rest of the team suspecting that he was about to keel over was a mystery to Chris. What Sam had talked to Leo about at the Halliwell's was anybody's guess and the Englishman had not spoken to his partner since. The half-demon had seemed less and less aware of his surroundings from that moment on.
As it was Chris made sure Sam never left his sight all the way up to the older man's hotel room. For once they were actually in separate rooms rather than sharing, which was more often the case. The one time Chris wanted to be damn sure he was as close to Sam as possible they were on different floors. It was only as Sam pulled his key out of his pocket that he actually noticed he had a shadow.
"Aren't you on the wrong floor?" he asked quite reasonably.
"If you think I'm leaving you to fall face down in the tub, you have another thing coming," Chris replied pointedly. "You're hurt, and you didn't get the proper medical attention because you've been hiding it. The least I can do is patch you up."
"Oh," was all Sam managed and went about trying to put his key in the lock. As far as Chris was concerned his friend was having way too much trouble with the simple task. "Thanks," Sam added as he finally pushed the door inwards.
Chris trailed into the room after his partner and couldn't help being more than a little worried. The absent tone and the vaguely uncoordinated movements were totally opposed to Sam's usual behaviour.
"Sit," Chris decided firmly and pointed to the bed. "I assume you packed the first aid kit as usual."
Sam nodded and also out of character obeyed Chris' instruction without protest. Setting his worry aside as useless, Chris went about the task at hand. Sam's case was neatly stowed above the wardrobe and the ex- SEAL pulled it down. With ritual efficiency he open it, retrieved the first aid kit and put it back in place. When he turned back to his friend the anxiety jumped right back up and bit him again. Sam hadn't moved at all, he was perched on the edge of the bed staring straight ahead, doing nothing. The Englishman hadn't even attempted to take off his jacket. With a worried frown Chris walked over to his companion.
"Sam, you in there, buddy?" he asked, his tone a little more anxious than he would have liked.
Sam blinked and then slowly looked at his partner.
"Yeah," he said a puzzled expression filtering across his features for a moment, "just tired."
"Well, let's get you patched up and then you can sleep for as long as you like," Chris put on a cheerful tone that he didn't feel. "Jacket off first."
There was a little more life in Sam as he tried to be helpful and do as he was told, but he seemed to be becoming less co-ordinated by the minute. Chris moved to help and Sam accepted the assistance gracefully.
"How the hell are you upright?" Chris said the moment he managed to pull the clothing off his friend's back.
Sam's shirt was covered with blood at the back. How it hadn't shown through, even on a black leather jacket, Chris would never know.
"What?" was his friend's reply.
"You've been bleeding," Chris said and tried to inspect the damage, "and I don't mean just a little bit. We should get you to a hospital."
"And how exactly would we explain that?" Sam replied pointedly, awake enough, it seemed, to be annoyed.
Chris glared at him, but he couldn't actually think of a reply to that one. A trip to the hospital would not go unnoticed no matter what they tried. Malone had a way of finding out everything.
"If it's as bad as it looks from here," Chris said firmly, "you might not have a choice."
He moved round behind his partner and gingerly began to move the soaked material. To his surprise Sam did not react at all. There were several nasty gashes in the shirt and Chris was a little afraid of what he might find.
"Can you manage the buttons or shall I do them?" Chris asked, unwilling to abandon what he was doing, but realising the whole shirt had to come off.
Sam didn't reply, but he did move to tackle the challenge. After thirty seconds of fumbling Chris decided to intervene. There was no protest from his partner and Sam just looked at him vacantly as Chris slipped the buttons from their holes.
"Stay with me," Chris said as he monitored Sam's bleary-eyed gaze. "If I think it's okay, then you can go to sleep, but not before. If you're going into shock you are not going to sleep and we're getting you the nearest ER."
Sam just blinked at him. The shirt came off with a messy squelch and Chris realised the first thing he needed was something with which to clean Sam up. Dumping the once white shirt in the trash he headed into the bathroom. Sam's sponge and wash things were neatly arranged on the shelf above the sink. Unfortunately the largest container he could find to hold water was one of the glasses also on the same shelf. Swearing under his breath he filled one with warm water, picked up the sponge and a towel and returned to the other room. He stopped just through the doorway. From that position he could see Sam's back quite clearly and there were two criss-crossing sets of claw marks across it. They looked ugly and painful, not to mention worrying.
Pulling himself together Chris walked back towards his partner and knelt on the bed behind him.
"This might hurt," he warned, but Sam just grunted something unintelligible.
Wincing for his friend Chris dipped the sponge in the warm water and began his task of cleaning the wounds.
"Doesn't hurt," Sam mumbled as his partner began.
At first Chris barely seemed to make a dent and he realised he was being a little too careful. With Sam's lack of reaction he decided to be a little bolder and dabbed relatively hard at the top of one scratch. The partially dried blood flaked away and then Chris had to check he wasn't seeing things. What he expected to find was a raw wound, open, in need of cleaning and dressing, what he actually found was pink, somewhat sore looking, but never-the-less, whole skin. Not sure what to make of this Chris continued further, and he was halfway along the first scratch before he believed it.
"You've healed," he said quietly.
Sam vaguely glanced vaguely in Chris' direction, puzzlement in his face.
"The wounds on your back," Chris said slowly and plainly, "they're gone. I don't even think you're going to scar much."
Bemusement was not a state of mind that really suited Sam, but he didn't seem capable of much else. Chris came to a quick decision.
"Okay," he said evenly, making sure Sam was following him, "I think this is going to take too long. If I let you fall asleep in the state you're in you're going to wake up in a foul mood with me as your target. We need to get you clean and I mean now."
He stood up and walked to the point directly in front of Sam.
"You're filthy and you stink," Chris stated bluntly. "You need a shower."
Sam peered at him dubiously.
"I don't think I can stand up," he replied plaintively.
"Then I'll just have to help you," Chris replied, surrendering completely to the mother hen instincts that seemed to have invaded his body.
He really had no idea where they were all coming from. Sure Sam was his best friend, but Chris had never felt quite so protective before. However, there was a job to be done and Chris put the analysing away for later. He took Sam's arm and, bracing himself for however much of Sam's weight he was going to get, hauled his partner to his feet. Surprisingly Sam was more stable than his outward appearance suggested. He needed quite a lot of help with direction and balance, but Chris didn't have to put a great deal of effort into helping his companion to the bathroom. Closing the lid of the toilet seat with his spare hand he sat Sam on it and surveyed the situation.
"Just run a bath," Sam said, or at least that was what Chris deciphered from the garbled sounds that came out of his friend's mouth, "I'll be fine."
Chris crossed his arms and glared at his companion.
"I thought I already explained I wasn't about to let you drown yourself," he replied pointedly.
"Can't stand for long," Sam said quietly.
"Then you sit," Chris said firmly, "I'll worry about how to clean you."
Sam's eyes actually opened at that, he looked vaguely scandalised.
"Don't go all modest on me," Chris continued calmly, although the ideas that had suddenly entered his head were doing no good at keeping him that way, "it's not like I've never seen you naked before. Remember Stockholm?"
A grin spread across Sam's face, it appeared he did remember Stockholm. There had been a small incident involving a mixed sauna and the theft of towels. Chris took the expression on his friend's face to mean he had accepted the inevitable, and the ex-SEAL knelt down. Sam's boots came off easily, although there was a worrying moment when Chris thought his partner might be about to fall off the toilet as the ex- SEAL pulled at his footwear. As it was, by the time Chris had finished the same job with his companion's socks Sam had actually managed to undo his own belt. He was, however, having a few problems with the button on his trousers.
"You worry about staying upright," Chris said as lightly as possible, "I'll tackle the complex stuff."
For a moment Sam actually looked like he might protest about that, but eventually he sagged in defeat. Taking a deep breath Chris tried to banish all thoughts from his brain except those specifically to do with the problem at hand and went about the task of taking off the rest of Sam's clothes. There was a little problem with actually getting the Englishman's trousers off, but they hurdled that one quite quickly. In only a couple of minutes Chris had Sam sitting in the tub, right where he wanted him.
The only problem Chris was having took him totally by surprise. The effect Sam, completely naked, and almost totally helpless, was having on Chris' body was not exactly what he had expected. Sure, Sam was a good-looking guy, but that was just it, he was a guy, so why the hell were Chris' trousers suddenly on the tight side. Amazingly grateful that Sam was in no condition to recognise his partner's state of arousal Chris pulled the showerhead off the wall and turned on the taps.
"If it's too hot, yell," he instructed his companion and tried to ignore the throbbing in his groin.
It had to be the excitement of the day, all the adrenalin, that had to be the answer. There just wasn't any other explanation that Chris could find. Trying to reassert his professional detachment, Chris went about his task. Completely blocking out a male body in the peak of physical fitness that was turning you on like there was no tomorrow, was, however a very difficult task. Chris' effort was quite extraordinary under the circumstances; he actually managed to get Sam more or less completely clean before his mind began to wander. He was eventually defeated by, of all things, the Sam's back. Once all the blood was gone there only remained the ten pink lines and Chris found himself staring at them. They made Sam somehow vulnerable and that went straight to Chris' heart and other places that he was trying to ignore. By the looks of things only one of the marks would leave any scar, but Chris couldn't help remembering how Sam had received the marks in the first place.
The fight had been the most incredible thing Chris had ever seen. It had been wild, fever pitched and incredibly exciting. Two demons trying their damnedest to kill each other had spoken to the more primitive side of the ex-SEAL. There had been an almost mystical quality about it and Chris couldn't get it out of his head. There was yet more stirring from his groin. Chris continued washing and prayed for deliverance.
"Leo never said anything about sleeping," Sam said suddenly, as if he'd found a moment of clarity.
"Yeah well, looks like our white-lighter friend doesn't know everything," Chris replied, glad for something to take his mind off his libido.
Sam made a sound which, if listened to in the correct manner, Chris thought might actually have been a laugh.
"What's so funny?" he asked and rinsed off the last of the soap.
"You'll never guess what he told me I had to do?" Sam replied and leant against the side of the bath.
"Well if I'll never guess, you'll just have to tell me," Chris shot back and surveyed the bathroom to find out where the towels were.
If Chris wasn't imagining it, Sam actually giggled. The ex-SEAL wondered if his companion might not be losing it.
"Have sex," Sam mumbled almost coherently.
Chris wasn't quite sure he heard the correctly.
"Did you just say what I think you said?" the American asked slowly, totally frozen by the conversation.
"Umm," Sam responded sleepily. "When he took me aside he asked me if I was in a relationship. Said no so he told me to find one or an alternative source of sex. He said I should aim at about once a week at least or, and I quote, 'I might not like what I eventually do.' Can you believe it, I actually have a valid reason to get laid at least once a week."
"No I don't believe it," Chris said in the most humorous tone he could manage. Then he changed the subject as fast as humanly possible. "Okay, now you're clean," he announced to divert himself from the direction his thoughts were taking. "Next problem, how to get you dry."
"Wrap me up in a robe, let me sleep," Sam mumbled; the water had done nothing to wake him up.
For once Chris decided Sam was right, and he went about his task as quickly as he possibly could. He thanked every deity he could think of when getting Sam out of the bath turned out to be easier than getting him in. It took only a minute or so to get him standing up and in the robe from the back of the bathroom door. Chris briefly considered making sure more of Sam was dry and then decided that might not be a very good idea. Looping the Englishman's arm around his neck the ex- SEAL got himself and his friend into the other room as fast as possible. Sam groaned gratefully as his partner lowered him onto the bed. Chris just blocked it all out and lifted Sam's legs onto the divan as fast as possible.
"Thanks," Sam mumbled and then much to Chris' relief seemed to drift into the sleep that he had been holding off for so long.
Chris covered his friend and then promptly fled. He was far too confused to be anywhere near Sam at all. As an after thought he picked up Sam's room key on the way out.
The door of Chris' room slammed with the most almighty thud and he leant against the back of it, trying to catch his breath. He had run up the two flights of stairs to his floor hoping that the expenditure of energy would drive away the thoughts that he was trying to deny he was having. It hadn't worked too well. Now Chris was breathless and turned on. He made a very rapid decision and headed for the bathroom. Two minutes later he was standing under the shower at its coldest setting.
There had to be some mix up in his brain. Something weird must have affected him. Maybe it was Sam's other half, maybe an Incubus could affect a man as well as a woman. Chris was absolutely, one hundred percent sure that he could not be thinking the things he was thinking. With his head under freezing cold water he rationally tried to talk himself out of his feelings.
Firstly Sam was a guy. Chris was a heterosexual male, he'd never felt anything for a man before. Even on a battleship with only a handful of women he had never once considered that some experimentation was in order.
Secondly Sam was his partner. Relationships and work, especially the anti-terrorist stuff, did not mix. Every man in the office was at least partially in love with Backup, but they didn't do anything about it because she was a colleague. Even if Chris had suddenly discovered a new streak to his character he could not attempt a relationship with Sam because of work.
Then there was the fact that Sam was his best friend and completely, one hundred percent not gay. If Chris ever thought of making a move it would wreck their friendship. Sam would probably never talk to him ever again, or worse, tease him about it until he was old and grey.
It was all there in plain facts, Chris was absolutely sure he could not be thinking or feeling what was going through his mind and body. Chris looked down and with a sinking realisation his eyes fixed on the physical evidence that threw that assertion out the window. Realising that the cold water was doing nothing to reduce the size of his erection, Chris reluctantly turned on the hot water as well. If it had just been the fact that the sight of his partner's naked body had given him a hard on Chris might have been able to forget about it. Sam was good looking and he sure as hell had a body to die for, but it wasn't just the physical need from which Chris was suffering.
The problem was Chris had come to a very sudden, and very certain knowledge; he was in love. With hindsight he could actually see it happening over the time he had worked with Sam. The emotion had started out as friendship, but it had changed, grown and evolved into something that Chris had never suspected. With a sigh the ex-SEAL rested his head against the shower wall. It was a fact and there was nothing he could do about it. Life had just delivered him a doozey of a curve ball and just at the moment he felt as if it had hit him in the groin.
The question therefore remained; what was he going to do about this new situation? There were really only two options; he could hide what he was feeling and hoped it would go away, or he could talk to Sam about it. If he tried to forget about it there would be no consequences, but there was always the danger that Sam would notice something anyway. Sam was not the talkative type when it came to emotions, but he was perceptive. Chris wasn't sure he could hide from his partner. That left talking to Sam, an idea which petrified Chris more than he wished to admit. There were so many variables and so many possible outcomes, most of which were nothing Chris cared to contemplate. Yet what choice did he really have? He could pretend nothing was different, but he would be lying to himself and the rest of the world. For all he knew Sam's revealed heritage would let him know just what he was doing to Chris anyway.
Then of course there was the whole crux of the matter. Chris couldn't really bear the idea of just letting the whole thing go. He'd discovered feelings he thought he buried with his wife and it was good to have them back. Chris loved Sam and he wanted to share that emotion, even if it wasn't returned. Letting the water massage the tension out of his shoulders he came to a frightening decision. When Sam woke up, Chris was going to talk to him.
Sam woke to a burning need. It was like nothing he had quite felt before. He, like most red-blooded males, had woken up as horny as hell, but that description didn't quite cover how Sam was feeling. It was not that Sam knew he wanted to shag someone's brains out; it was that he couldn't think of anything else and he knew he had to do it soon. He sat up, wide awake and the first thing he laid eyes on was Chris.
The ex-SEAL was sitting in the armchair, fast asleep. He was cuddling a pillow to his chest and he was the most delicious thing Sam thought he had ever seen. There was no argument in Sam's mind; his target had been acquired. With cat like grace he stood up and took a step towards his sleeping companion. Then and only then did reality rear its ugly head.
What was he thinking? Chris was his friend, his partner and he was actually considering seducing him. It was sheer madness. Even so, Sam took another step as if his body had different ideas to his brain. It vaguely occurred to him that for starters Chris was of entirely the wrong sex, but then Leo had never said anything about gender. In fact the comment about terribly boring, heterosexual historians suddenly made perfect sense. Had Leo suspected that Sam might have ideas along a not so straight line? He'd had them on occasion before, but he'd only ever carried through once and that had been in University. Ever since Sam had confined his libido to the female of the species.
Chris looked so peaceful asleep in the chair. With his blue eyes closed Sam couldn't see the haunting memories that often lurked behind them. Sam had realised soon after he met Chris that there were many things from Chris' past that the ex-SEAL kept hidden but that never really left him. Standing there, just looking, Sam was suddenly overcome by the desire to make sure those memories could never hurt his friend again. The emotion rather caught him by surprise and coupled with his screaming libido made him take another step. Now he was a little afraid. On the one hand he was afraid that he wasn't going to be able to control himself much longer, and on the other he was afraid that he would.
"Chris," he finally hissed, holding himself under rigid control.
His partner stirred slightly and slowly turned his head towards Sam. Eventually his eyes opened and then he sat up rapidly.
"Oh, I, ah," Chris seemed a little flustered.
"I don't care," Sam said more sharply than he intended, "just get out."
Chris' expression went from shocked to confused to hurt in a fraction of a second and it almost killed Sam not to move. His partner stood up in silence, glaring at him. Chris even turned to walk to the door, but he stopped. Sam wanted to scream at him but held himself in check.
"Why?" Chris asked quietly.
Sam balled his hands into fists and let the nails bite into his palms. He had never felt anything quite so compelling as the urges his body was sending him. Desperately he tried to find an excuse, but eventually all he could come up with was the truth.
"Because if you don't leave now I'm going to seduce you," Sam said through clenched teeth.
Chris' eyes opened in surprise and then an emotion Sam would usually have missed flew across the ex-SEAL's face. If he hadn't been quite so physically charged Sam would have put it down to his imagination, but in his current condition Sam knew what it was. It was hope, coupled with desire. Sam's demon half ticked this up as a victory, his human half was simply stunned. For a long moment Chris just stood there, and from his body language he knew he'd given himself away.
"Why?" he asked again.
Sam wanted to tell him it was just because his hormones were raging out of control, but he couldn't bring himself to say it. Instead he just looked at his partner, silent.
"Leo's little revelation?" Chris prodded eventually.
"Partially," Sam replied.
"What if I didn't mind?" Chris said quietly sounding terribly unsure of himself.
Part of Sam cheered in ecstasy and it wasn't just his demon, another part was shit scared. Chris was only a few feet away and Sam took another step, but nagging doubt kept him in check.
"Why?" Sam shot back the same question Chris had thrown at him.
"I love you," Chris said simply, something akin to terror in his expression.
That was it, Sam lost his last vestige of self control. He took the last step towards Chris, grabbed his partner by the front of his t- shirt and dragged him close. Sam's mouth covered Chris' and the ex- SEAL's arms wound around the Englishman in response. The kiss was long, passionate and put rather a restriction on breathing. Eventually Chris pulled back gasping for air. His blue eyes were filled with desire and a small smile played at the corner of his mouth. Sam was quite overcome by the waves of happiness that radiated from his partner.
"You're beautiful," Sam found himself saying and he was not just talking about the way Chris looked on the outside.
In reply Chris instigated another kiss. This one was less intense and more exploratory as they tested just how far a tongue could reach in another mouth. When they broke apart this time Sam let his eyes wander over Chris' body. His first conclusion was that his partner was wearing far too many clothes. This was not the moment for coy foreplay; Sam was far too much in need of what lay under Chris' garments. The way the black t-shirt fitted quite so closely to Chris' chest was doing nothing for Sam's patience. Like a man possessed he went straight for Chris' waistband.
For his part the ex-SEAL was not complaining, in fact as Sam pulled the t-shirt free from his trousers he lifted his arms above his head to aid its removal. Sam had pulled the garment up over his friend's chest and was about to pull it over his head when he found himself taken by what he had revealed. Unable to resist he bent down and flicked his tongue over one of Chris' nipples. His companion's reaction was most gratifying as Chris gasped and shivered. For a moment Sam considered teasing his friend a little more before allowing him freedom of movement and vision by finishing the removal of the T-Shirt, but he really wanted to see Chris' face. With an efficient pull he discarded the t-shirt to the floor.
The expression Chris wore was somewhere between abject hunger and anticipation. His lips were slightly parted and he was breathing more rapidly then usual. Sam let his eyes flick back to his companion's chest. He could resist no longer and his hands snaked out to touch Chris. Tracing the muscles of his lover's chest with his two index fingers he managed to produce a bliss filled groan. Glancing back to his companion's face Sam watched as Chris closed his eyes and let his head lean backwards slightly.
Biting his lip and enjoying the sight, Sam went for more of a reaction. He let his thumbs glide over Chris' pecs and flick his nipples. The groan became an open mouthed 'ah' and Sam smiled to himself. Just watching his lover's reaction was an experience the Englishman was enjoying incredibly. He moved in with his mouth, kissing Chris' collarbone lightly and then moving down over his chest. The ex-SEAL's breath caught in his throat in anticipation and Sam moved round the nipple, making him wait. Holding off until Chris was actually trembling Sam got exactly what he was wanted. As his mouth covered the nipple and sucked Chris all but orgasmed on the spot.
With a patience he had found the moment his goal was in sight, Sam lavished plenty of attention on Chris' chest. He let his tongue roam over first one nipple then the other, alternately nipping and sucking when he felt like it. Chris was putty in his hands or rather mouth and groans and murmurs were continually forthcoming.
Eventually Sam glanced down and had to smile at the bulge straining at his lover's trousers. He moved his hands down to do something about what had to have been an uncomfortable situation. The zip surrendered easily and the button was not an obstacle after which Sam slipped his hand down into the gap provided. Chris exhaled in one long burst as Sam gently moved his fingers round the bulge and he groaned loudly as the Englishman slipped his hand through the slit in the ex-SEAL's boxers. Gently Sam eased him free of the confines of both trousers and underwear, stroking in a simple rhythm as he did so. Chris rocked on the balls of his feat at the sensation.
Sam watched the entire time, looking up at Chris' face and then down at the erection he had revealed. Both sights sent stabs of passion to his own groin. He went back to kissing Chris' chest and worked his hand up and down his lover's shaft at the same time. Once again the American swayed in time. Slowly Sam worked the kisses downwards. He wanted to taste his prize, and he wanted it now. Kneeling on the carpet he took hold of Chris' trousers in either hand, pulling them down with a swift movement. Then he gently removed the boxers stroking around Chris' balls as he did so. Just for a moment he surveyed his conquest and then he enveloped it in his mouth. Chris' fingers dug into his shoulders as the blond man fought to stay upright.
Sam let his hands wander round over his lover's buttocks as he sucked lightly on Chris' erection. Running his fingers down the American's lower back and then down between his buttocks produced some very interesting quivers which Sam made a mental note to investigate later. As it was he turned his full attention on the shaft in his mouth. Cupping Chris' balls in one hand he began running the other over the length of the shaft, licking the tip with his tongue. Chris tasted slightly salty and slightly of soap, which Sam didn't mind at all. Every time a throb of pleasure pulsed through Chris an answering one pulsed through Sam. The half-incubus was totally attuned to his partner.
Sam increased the pace and began stroking the sensitive skin just behind Chris' balls with one finger. Chris' groans became longer and more sustained. Sam sucked a little harder and ran his tongue down the v at the tip of Chris' erection. It took him only a second to find a rhythm that caused Chris to moan in ecstasy. As Sam moved Chris' groans fell into the same rhythm and they built in volume. The ex-SEAL's grip on his lover's shoulders was now almost painful, but it did nothing to slow Sam down. He could feel Chris' arousal growing and with it so was his. Every movement, every touch was tuned to Chris' pleasure. It didn't take long before Chris cried out and bucked under Sam's ministration. The moment the squirt of liquid hit the back of Sam's mouth he swallowed, imprinting the taste and the smell of his lover on his memory. When Sam slowly stood up Chris' legs were gratifyingly wobbly.
Chris only opened his eyes as Sam was once again face to face with him. He looked into his partner's eyes and Sam saw continuing desire shining there.
"I want you," Sam said slowly.
"Then take me," Chris replied, blue eyes dark with passion.
Before Sam could react Chris had his hands on the belt of the robe the Englishman was still wearing. It didn't remain in place long. With them both naked Sam could barely contain himself. His head was full of carnal desire and lust was warring to take away all rational thought. There was, however, a small part of his brain still functioning. Drilled into him were certain responsibilities and he fumbled in the drawer behind him. For once Sam was grateful that he liked to put things away when he arrived in hotel rooms. His hand came back with a packet of five condoms. One of Sam's life rules; always travel prepared. That left only one problem and he glanced round the room to solve that one. There was a bottle of suntan lotion on the side and he picked it up.
For a fraction of a second Sam considered the bed, but in his sex soaked brain that was far too far away. Something primal was in control of Sam and it wanted Chris there and then. Sam ran his hands over Chris' body, quickly turning him round and bending him over the padded arm of the chair. A small part of Sam was still on the look out for any objection from his partner, but there was no sign that he had any problem with the idea. Pausing momentarily Sam ripped open the condom wrapper and slipped it on, possibly the fastest application he had ever achieved. Opening the suntan lotion he covered his erection and hands in the slippery substance.
Chris tensed slightly when Sam first touched him but as the half-demon ran his slick hand between his lover's buttocks he relaxed into the attention. When Sam felt that Chris was ready he moved in, running his hands down over his companion's hips. Pushing gently, Sam found Chris' entrance and slid the tip of his shaft inside. The ex-SEAL was tight and he tensed again at the sensation. The spasm passed and Sam pushed further, sliding in and extorting a gasp from his partner. The sensation was incredible as Sam felt the experience from two angles. Being surrounded and enveloped sent shots of pleasure all over his body, but he was also aware of Chris' perspective. The world took on a luminescent quality as he let his demon emerge completely allowing his partner's experience to invade him fully. It wasn't exactly a telepathic experience, Sam couldn't read Chris' thoughts, but he could feel the sensations which flowed through his lover's body.
Sam angled carefully and pushed in completely, knowing instantly when he hit the right spot. Even if he hadn't been connected to his partner, the way Chris shuddered and gasped would have told Sam all he needed to know. Slowly he pulled out a little, aware that Chris was not quite comfortable with the intrusion, feeling everything from both angles, wanting the best for himself and his partner. Sam let his hands run over Chris' back, drawing his claws along the skin lightly leaving the barest trace of their passage. The he sunk deeper again hitting the same spot in Chris again, making them both groan in pleasure. Sam couldn't help joining his companion in vocalising his ecstasy as wave after wave of sensation over came him.
Pulling out and then plunging back in Sam began a rhythm, feeding both his own and Chris' desire. Eyes closed, head back Sam allowed his passion full reign. His breathing came hard as once more he pushed Chris towards sexual delirium, his own enjoyment building with every touch between them. Chris began to pant, his arms rigid against the chair, holding himself in perfect position. Sam could feel every breath that ran through his lover's body, every twitch of every muscle.
Gasping for air Sam opened his eyes looking down at his lover. He needed him, he craved every last inch of Chris' body. There was no longer any doubt in his mind, Sam knew exactly what he was doing and was completely sure of every move. Nothing else mattered. Not CI5, not Malone, not the world in general, all that was important Sam had with him then. Something inside him, something even more primitive than the demon instincts that had long since taken over, was completely set in its course. This was right, this was what should be and Chris belonged to Sam.
As Sam moved closer to his sexual peak so a pressure began to build inside him that had nothing to do with simple sex. At its basic level sex drove it forward, but it combined the carnal desire with dominance, protection, and every other basic instinct it could find, mixing up a soup of emotion that completely took over the half-demon. Chris cried out with each thrust, lost in the sensation and oblivious to everything else. Sam fought against the release he knew was coming for just a few seconds, holding himself and Chris back for as long as he could. Leaning forward the half-incubus reached for his lover's arm and as he thrust into Chris one final time he drew his claws across his companion's bicep.
Both men cried out and shuddered in unison and Sam let go of any control he had left. He let the sensations pour over himself opening up to Chris without doubt or conscience. Sam vaguely registered a renewed shudder from his lover and then he felt the sensations from his experience run through Chris. Without knowing quite what he was doing Sam had let Chris feel what he was feeling and Sam was struck by a feedback loop that took away any breath he had left. For a few seconds Sam didn't think it would end as his body went into spasm after spasm, each sensation going into Chris and then looping back into him, but finally the connection went dead.
Breathless and weak at the knees Sam finally came back to himself, head spinning but still intact. The first thing that Sam realised was Chris was no longer braced against the chair: his lover was sprawled over it and he wasn't moving. Suddenly worried, Sam pulled out and after getting his balance back bent down next to Chris. Still looking at his friend with demon senses Sam could feel the life flowing through his lover, but Chris was completely out for the count. Sam's eyes flicked to the three scratches clearly visible, red and vibrant on Chris' arm. Their presence made his heart beat a little faster. Without being quite sure where the instinct had come from he knew what those marks were. Chris was his and Sam had marked him to tell the world. No other could have him, not while Sam had any say. Unwilling to dwell on that prospect for too long Sam shifted his focus back to the problem at hand. Chris didn't seem to have collapsed in a particularly comfortable position so, with only a moment's hesitation; Sam pulled him into his arms.
Chris weight was nothing to Sam's incubus form and he hoisted the ex- SEAL into a very careful fireman's lift. Sam then walked to the bed and lowered his lover onto it gently. Chris was out cold and Sam wasn't quite sure how to react. He'd never actually had a partner pass out on him before and it was rather disconcerting. For a few seconds he just stood there wondering what to do and then he finally went for the practical solution. Sam dumped the used condom in the wastebasket, washed the remaining suntan lotion off his hands, put the supplies on the beside table and generally cleaned up. Without even realising it he put his demon half back in the shadows and then climbed onto the bed next to Chris. Unsure of exactly how long his lover might be dead to the world he covered them both with a sheet and waited.
Chris eventually moved about five minutes later. The ex-SEAL frowned, turned his head and slowly opened his eyes. His expression somewhat dazed Chris looked at Sam, confused.
"What happened?" he asked slowly.
"You passed out," Sam replied not particularly helpfully.
"Well duh," Chris said sarcastically, "I think I got that. I mean what happened to cause that. I mean, you're good, but something mind blowing happened at the end there."
Sam had enough presence of mind to smile at the compliment before replying.
"Feedback," he said sheepishly. "I tuned into you, felt every sensation you were feeling. I sort of lost it at the end and let you into the loop which, well, caused ..."
Sam couldn't exactly find the right words, but Chris' expression said he understood what his lover was implying. There was shock on his face for just a fraction of a second and then it resolved into acceptance and a wry smile.
"Showing off won't make me change the way I feel about you, y'know," he said lightly, "I'm madly in love with you anyway."
After a moment's hesitation Sam actually smiled as well.
"Well I aim to impress," he said playfully.
"If you'd impressed any more," Chris shot back, "my brain would have leaked out of my ears."
The ex-SEAL turned on his side to face Sam and winced slightly. Sam was instantly worried, but Chris just grinned at him.
"Need some more practice," he said lightly and then his eyes alighted on his arm.
The scratches had bled a little, but they were clear and obvious. Sam didn't really know what to say, he'd never felt so nervous in his entire life. He held his breath and waited for his lover to react. Chris just stared silently for a few moments then he looked Sam directly in the eye. The half-demon was surprised to see a look of understanding there.
"Yours forever," Chris said quietly, half statement, half question.
Sam nodded, unable to vocalise his feelings properly, unable to find the words.
"I love you," Chris continued, "and I will treasure these."
Then he leant forward and caught Sam in a kiss. Closing his eyes Sam let himself attune once more to his lover and feel the sensation from both angles. Along with it came the slight discomfort Chris was feeling, but his companion's passion sent that flying into insignificance. For those few moments until the kiss broke Sam was completely content.
"Something's bothering me though," Chris said, a very serious expression on his face.
"What?" Sam asked again a little afraid.
"So far you seem to have done all the work," Chris replied reasonably and then as Sam caught up grinned impishly.
His blue eyes lit up as he smiled and Sam was overcome with a wave of love. Then Chris lifted the cover and looked down at Sam's body.
"It strikes me I really should do some recon," the ex-SEAL said mischievously, "there's so much unexplored territory."
With that affirmation he dived under the cover. Sam didn't have long to wait before he found out exactly what Chris had decided to investigate. There was no chance this was going to be a one sided relationship.
End of Part 7
Sam looked up at the semi-detached suburban house and tried to remember what it was like to be in just the ordinary world. The house looked like every other house in the street, a sixties clone house in an average road, but nothing looked average to Sam anymore. The house was bigger than the one he had grown up in - his parents had moved here after he left for university - but there were the little touches that reminded him of the old home. The thing was Sam felt like he'd been living a lie. His whole life had been an illusion and he was having trouble coming to terms with it. It had been Chris who had suggested he go home, talk to his parents about the truth. The American had even offered to come with him if he wanted moral support, but Sam knew he had to do this alone. Finally the agent picked up his solitary bag and walked up to the front door. It opened before he had a chance to knock.
"Hello, love," his mum said with a very motherly smile, "I wondered when you'd get round to coming in."
"Hi, Mum," Sam said suddenly feeling a little better about things.
Without so much as a moment's notice the short woman pulled her son into her arms and gave him a hug.
"I've just put the kettle on," she said lightly and broke away. "Come on in, sit yourself down and tell me what's bothering you."
To most of the world Sam Curtis was as unreadable as stone, to his mother he was completely transparent. It was something he had accepted a long time ago, and something which gave him great comfort at that very moment. Forgetting just for a while that he was a hard-bitten CI5 agent Sam followed his mother into the kitchen and let himself just be a son.
"I hope there's nothing the matter with that nice American friend of yours," his mother said as she pulled two mugs from the cupboard.
"No, mum," Sam said evenly, "Chris is fine. He was the one who told me to come home."
"Sensible boy," she replied with a smile. "I really would like to meet him one day."
She poured milk in both mugs and then reached for the teapot. Sam tried to figure out how he was going to broach his newly discovered heritage, and his mum left him to think.
"Mum," he finally started as she put the mugs on the table and sat down opposite him, "was I ever strange as a kid?"
Sam watched his mother's face as it first went expressionless and then softened into a resigned half smile.
"Oh," she said as if she'd finally heard what she'd been expecting for a long time. "What happened?"
"Stuff," Sam replied shortly, " Mum, did you know I wasn't normal?"
His mother picked up her tea and took a sip.
"I suspected," she replied calmly, "after all I carried you for nine months. I knew something was definitely off when your dad seemed to think you were conceived at a different time than I did. I kept telling myself I was imagining things but as a toddler you were never boring. You used to know things. You'd tell me things that a two year old could never have known. It stopped when you went to school and I tried to forget there was anything strange about you."
"You know Dad's not my father, don't you," Sam said quietly.
"Actually I'd never really thought that," his mum replied honestly and gave a sad smile. "I remember your dad on the night you were conceived. It was him."
Sam shook his head.
"It was a demon, Mum," he said as gently as he could manage.
Somehow Sam had expected more of a reaction from his mother than picking up her tea and sipping it. Then again she was the one person in the world who never ceased to surprise him.