Title: Meg and Benny's Excellent Adventure
Pairings/Warnings: Meg/Castiel, implied Meg/Jimmy Novak, mentions of Sam/Amelia, show-level violence
Summary: Meg and Benny go on a roadtrip. Pretexting, hunting, LARPing, and bickering over music in the car ensue.
Dr. Banh greeted them, same as before, only this time they skipped the explanations and the paperwork. It was a different nurse – petite, bespectacled, with wildly curly honey-brown hair – who set Meg up with the electrodes. The routine was the same: tea, banter, reading. Meg decided to go for some curtain!fic, hoping that some domestic vibes might draw the succubus in. Benny refused to read any more Supernatural on principle, so Meg directed him to some LJ Smith books so he wouldn’t look baffled every time she called him Stefan.
The new nurse, Jen, peeked in right before lights out.
“All comfy?” she asked.
“We should get started soon. The test requires at least eight hours of sleep,” Jen said.
“Where’s Danielle?” Meg asked. “I thought she’d be here tonight.”
Jen shrugged. “Home sick, I guess. At least, that’s what they told me when they called me in to cover her shift. She did look pretty exhausted when I came in. Still, I have kids and she doesn’t.” She pursed her lips, annoyed. “At least this shift will cover the cost of a babysitter. So, lights out in the next five minutes, okay?”
Meg and Benny exchanged glances, remembered to smile when they made eye contact, and nodded at Jen. She bobbed her head in acknowledgement and closed the door.
“All right,” Benny said. “Ready for this?”
“Are you?” Meg countered.
She set her phone aside and lay flat. She knew humans had preferences for sleeping, ingrained after years of unconscious habit. She didn’t know if her body had a preference, if it even could manifest its preference after its original soul had been gone so long. She closed her eyes anyway.
Meg came awake sharply when the overhead light flipped on.
Benny woke up next to her, breathing like he’d just run a marathon. He turned to her, eyes wide and full of horror.
“What’s wrong?” she asked.
Benny scuttled backward, away from her. “That’s what you dream?”
Meg blinked, confused. She couldn’t remember dreaming a thing.
The door flew open. Dr. Banh crossed the room in fewer strides than his short legs should have allowed, and he unhooked Meg from the machines with frightening efficiency.
“I’m sorry,” he said, “you must go. Call my office and I’ll write up a referral to a different clinic. This one is closed.”
Meg stared at him. “What? What’s going on?”
“Order of the CDC, ma’am.” The young man in the doorway was tall, broad-shouldered, official-looking in his dark suit. He didn’t look like a real CDC doctor, though. Was he a hunter? Had hunters caught on to the succubus as well?
“Hurry,” Dr. Banh said.
“Let me get dressed,” Meg said. She lifted her chin at Benny, who had snapped to soldier-alertness. He rolled to his feet and tugged on his clothes swiftly. Dr. Banh and the CDC agent left the room, closed the door after them, but that was moot since the entire room was under video surveillance.
“Pretty sudden of the CDC to do this,” Benny murmured under cover of helping Meg pack her duffel bag.
“Not sure it’s really the CDC.”
Benny raised his eyebrows. “Hunters?”
“Maybe. We found this succubus the old-fashioned way. Stands to reason some other hunters could have, too.” Meg finished bundling up her duffel bag, and then she and Benny swept out of the room.
If this was hunters, they’d come prepared for some serious pretexting, because the hall was cluttered with other agents, and even one or two people wearing white hazmat suits. White suits could mean quarantine. Damn. Meg locked gazes with Benny, who nodded, and instead of slowing down to eavesdrop, they sped up.
Jen the nurse said, “They had contact with her last night.”
Heads turned. The broad-shouldered CDC agent pinned Benny with his gaze.
“Both of them?” he asked.
Her. Who was her? The only her they’d met last night was – Danielle. The nurse.
The CDC agent gestured at Benny and Meg and said, “Quarantine them.”
Dr. Banh, expression resigned, was allowing two figures in white suits to tug him into one of the testing rooms.
“Meg,” Benny said, “what do we do?”
“Let them take us,” Meg said, “and when they can’t see us, we leave.”
“How will you manage that?”
“Hi, I’m Meg. I’m a demon,” she said under her breath.
He rolled his eyes at the familiar phrase but nodded.
White-clad figures swarmed them. Meg wondered if this was what Castiel felt like when he was dragged back to Heaven for reprogramming. She wondered if Naomi had been his reprogrammer even back then.
“Wait,” Meg cried out, twisting weakly in their grip (they were mortal, small, weak, she could crush them with a thought). “No. My husband. Let us stay together. Please.”
The young CDC agent lifted a hand, and the tugging on her ceased. Then he paused, listened to his secret service-like earpiece and shook his head. “Separate the men and the women.”
Meg resumed struggling and screaming for Benny.
He called out to her, and damn he was good, he sounded genuinely upset. Jen the nurse looked guilty and anxious. Even the young CDC agent looked regretful. But Meg was locked in one of the testing rooms alone.
As soon as the door was shut, she was on one of the chairs, punching at the camera. Outside, someone shouted. “What the hell is she doing?”
“Answered your own question, Short Bus,” Meg said. And then she reached out, felt for Benny’s consciousness. She could never read his mind, but here on the mortal plane, when he was close enough, she could sense him.
She reached for her cell phone, fired off a text message. Kill the camera.
She wedged the chair under the door handle and braced her back against it. Fists hammered on the door.
“Mrs. Lafferty, I know you’re upset, but you have to let us monitor you,” the CDC agent said.
More shouts echoed down the corridor.
“Another camera’s out.”
The agent cursed. “Why are they destroying the cameras?”
Meg blinked out of existence, duffel bag and all. She materialized in Benny’s room long enough to get a hand on the lapel of his jacket, and then they were on the front bench seat of Trusty.
Meg heaved her duffel bag into the back seat and peeled out of the parking lot.
“Where are we going?” Benny asked.
“To find that nurse.”
According to Claire’s hacker friend, Danielle Henderson lived on the north side of the city in a small apartment she rented all by herself, across the street from a rowdy bar. She drove an old but well cared-for Dodge Neon parked next to the stairs leading up to the apartment. All her lights were out.
The CDC would be here any minute. Meg parked Trusty around the block and out of sight, teleported them in. Danielle lay on her bed, deathly still, too still for sleep.
Meg reached out, tugged a few of Danielle’s hairs free. She kept them cupped in her hand while Benny rummaged through the cupboards for a couple of mugs. Meg used a burst of power to boil the water, and then she paced back and forth, waiting for the tea to steep. Benny closed all the curtains, locked all the windows. He broke the broom and used the halves of the handle to jam the windows shut.
“Tea’s done,” Meg said, stirring in Danielle’s hair. “Hide under the bed.”
Benny paused, mug halfway to his lips. “What? Why?”
“They won’t look for us there. Don’t want to be awakened so rudely again.” Meg clinked her mug against Benny’s. “Bottoms up, Louis.”
“I think I’m more of an Armand.”
Meg glared at him, wordlessly ordering him to drink.
Then they wedged themselves under the bed, careful not to leave any edges of clothes or shoes sticking out, and closed their eyes.
Mama Cass was singing about stars shining bright above.
“Sounds a little clich&ecuate; to me,” Benny said.
Light came up on a beautifully domestic scene. Danielle, wearing comfortable jeans and an old, worn, much-loved off-the-shoulder sweater, was humming along to the music, standing in front of the stove and stirring a massive pot of stew. She paused, checked something in the oven, and the scent of fresh-baked rolls filled the spacious kitchen. The pale tile floor was covered with scattered throw rugs, soft underfoot. The counters were topped with heavy granite, and the cupboards were made of solid dark wood. One swinging door led out to a dining room with a massive table, the type usually reserved for manor houses of the rich and inbred. Every place was set.
Danielle sang out, “Daddy will be home in fifteen minutes! Make sure you’re washed up for dinner.”
Meg crossed the kitchen in a few quick strides. “Danielle.”
She screamed and whirled around, one hand pressed to her throat in shock. “Who are you?”
“Danielle, where’s your husband?”
Danielle lunged, scooped up the nearest weapon, which was a wickedly-sharp carving knife.
Benny raised his hands in a gesture of surrender. “We’re here to help.”
Danielle frowned, her stance with the knife wavering. “Mr. Lafferty? Meg? What are you doing here?”
“You’re not safe,” Benny said. “We have to get you out of here.”
“Why are you in my house?” Danielle lowered the knife.
“We’re not in your house,” Meg said, “because this isn’t even a house. You’re asleep, and you’re dreaming. You need to wake up before you die.”
“I’m not asleep –”
“You’re dreaming!” Meg threw her hands up. “You live in a crappy apartment in North Omaha. You’re a nurse. A nurse at a sleep clinic where a bunch of the patients have gone into comas and then died. Right now you’re heading for the coma part. So snap out of it.”
Danielle looked back and forth between them. “Is this one of those hidden camera pranks?”
“No,” Benny said, “it’s not a prank –”
Meg slapped Danielle across the face. “Wake up!”
“Hey!” Danielle cried, clapping a hand to her cheek, outraged. She paused. “Wait. That – that didn’t hurt.”
“Like we said, you’re dreaming,” Meg said, “and it’s time to wake up.”
The dining room door swung open. An adorable six-year-old girl wearing a blue denim jumper and pigtails stood in the doorway.
“Mommy, I’m all washed up.” She displayed her little hands for everyone to see. She didn’t seem to notice Meg or Benny.
Danielle stared at the girl in confusion. “Mimi, give Mommy a moment, okay? Good job washing your hands.”
Mimi giggled and bobbed her head, then vanished from the doorway.
“What the hell is going on?” Danielle asked. She looked at Benny and Meg, switched her gaze back to Benny again. “I know you. I remember you. I know I’m a nurse.” She pressed a hand to her forehead. “But I also know I’ve been married for the past eight years.”
“Eight years?” Meg echoed. “Have you been pregnant the entire time? Because you have enough place settings out there for the Brady Bunch and the Partridges combined. Was it all twins?”
“What? No.” Danielle laughed like Meg had said something funny. “The other mothers are staying here, too. Just till the danger is over.”
“Other mothers?” Benny echoed.
Danielle nodded. “Their husbands contacted mine. They said there’s someone out there, someone who wants to hurt us, to take away our children.”
Crap. Maternal instinct, amplified. The demon was storing the energy from all of the victims in a central location.
“What’s your husband’s name?” Meg asked, stalling.
The kitchen door swung open. A man, tall and beautiful, dark-skinned and strong, held a gun in one hand. “Like you need to ask.”
“Morgan!” Danielle cried. “What are you doing?” She flinched when she looked at the gun.
“I warned you,” Morgan said. “People want to hurt you, to take your children, and you let them into the house.”
Danielle turned her gaze, wide-eyed and betrayed, on Meg and Benny. She leveled the knife at Meg. “You – but you said this was a dream, you said –”
“It’s your dream,” Meg said. “We’re just guests. You have all the control.”
“Hey now,” Benny began, and he was right. It was the wrong thing for Meg to have said.
“You do have control,” Morgan said. “You can stop them.”
Meg and Benny abruptly found themselves chained to the wall where the refrigerator and china cabinet had been.
“Good job, Anya,” Benny said. He struggled. It was no use.
“You are attractive and have many fine qualities,” Meg gritted out, struggling as well. Just in case.
Benny said, “Meg didn’t lie to you. She said this was a dream, right? That’s why you have power over us. Did Morgan ever tell you this was a dream?”
Danielle wavered. She darted a glance at Morgan. “Honey –”
“Don’t listen to them. They’re here to hurt you.”
Meg rolled her eyes. “If we were here to hurt you, would we have lied to you? If you have power over us, you have power over him, too.”
Danielle darted a glance between Meg and Morgan. “But he’s my husband –”
“You said you remembered,” Meg said, “us as patients, that you remember being a nurse. When did you marry Morgan?”
“Eight years ago.”
“What were your wedding colors?”
“Silver and pink.”
“Who was your maid of honor?”
“Who was Morgan’s best man?”
“His best friend.”
“What was his name? What did he look like? When did you last see him?”
Danielle pressed her hands to her temples, brow furrowed in pain. “Stop it. Just stop! You’re confusing me!”
“Well, get un-confused, and fast,” Meg snapped, “because right now you’re in a coma, and you’re going to die! Like the other patients at the sleep clinic where you work!”
Morgan crossed the room in a few strides, gathered Danielle in his arms. “It’s okay, baby. Don’t listen to her. She’s a liar. She’s a monster.”
“And so is he,” Meg said, lifting her chin at Morgan.
Danielle curled into Morgan’s embrace.
“Baby,” Morgan said, “look at me.” He tipped her chin up with one finger. “I love you.”
Meg caught Benny’s gaze. “Do something,” she hissed.
“Like what?” He wriggled his bound arms for emphasis.
Meg bit her lip. “Say it. The word. That I can’t say.”
“You mean – Christo?”
The world flickered at the edges of Meg’s vision.
Danielle made a strange sound. “Morgan? What...?”
He spun to face Benny. Rage contorted his features as his eyes flickered from black to normal. “You stupid worm –”
“I might be a monster,” Meg said, “but so is your husband. A monster who’s trying to hurt you.”
“How do I know you’re not trying to hurt me, too?” Danielle pointed the knife somewhere useless halfway between Meg and Morgan.
“Because we came to the clinic to try to track the monster down and stop him,” Meg said. “Now come on, you stupid woman, wake up!”
Morgan had Benny by the throat and was hoisting him toward the ceiling. “She can’t,” Morgan said. “She’s weak. I’ve been walking dreams for so long. In this place, I am a god.”
“I have it on good authority that being a god isn’t all it’s cracked up to be,” Meg said. She pinned Danielle with a glare. “Now wake up, dammit!”
Danielle was sobbing. “How? Morgan, stop, you’re killing him!”
“He would have killed you, babe,” Morgan said, only his voice came out wrong. Mangled.
Benny made an unhealthy gurgling sound.
“This is your dream,” Meg said to Danielle. “Take control of something, for once in your life!”
Danielle was trembling. “What do you mean? I control my life. I raise my kids right, I –”
“I’ve seen your apartment,” Meg said. “The ratty furniture, the hand-me-down clothes, the stacks and stacks of half-finished self-help books. You’ve never stood up for yourself a day in your life, and now you’re going to die because of it.”
“Don’t listen to her, baby,” Morgan crooned. Blood leaked from around his fingertips where they were digging into Benny’s throat. “Listen to me. It’s my job to protect you, keep you and the kids safe.”
“You don’t have any kids,” Meg spat.
Benny’s eyes rolled into the back of his head. He was dying.
Meg said, “This is a dream, remember? Your dream. You trapped us here against the wall. You can set us free.”
Danielle blinked, startled, just barely remembering. The chains disappeared. Meg was across the room in a single breath. She wrenched Morgan away from Benny, threw him down on the ground. Danielle screamed. Meg stomped on Morgan’s throat, hard, and then she spun around, raised a hand to Danielle.
“Now, dammit, wake up!”