Warnings: Swearing. Vague discussion of serial killings.
Summary: Martin Creaser's story - or parts of it
Disclaimer: Supernatural belongs to others.
Let's tell this story backwards.
Martin's last moments are threatening a woman. There's some kind irony in that. He's using her as bait, because he wants her great-grandfather dead. Her great-grandfather is a monster. He kills people. Martin wants to end him.
But it's not just that. Martin misses the thrill. He misses the feeling of holding someone else's life in your hand. Vampires, monsters, young women - it's all the same.
He misses the feel of being a hunter.
It gets him killed.
Let's tell this story sideways.
Martin stops being a hunter in Albuquerque. That's what everyone says, later.
His traveling companion is younger than he is. She's not a lover, not a sister (Martin has no sister), just a dear friend.
She's not even a hunter. Doesn't - yet - know the truth.
When the battle's over, Martin emerges alive and unharmed. Lee Deller is dead.
No one knows the full story.
Martin knows what they whisper behind him. That he couldn't handle it, losing his love, that this is why he lost his mind. And it's true. Lee did die that day, eaten by a many-tentacled creature that could only be defeated by fear, which Lee appeared to not possess.
From that day forward, Martin was always fearful.
But it's not Albuquerque that ended him. It wasn't New York City, either, where he was cornered by a band of vampires and barely escaped with his life. It was Kansas City.
A serial killer was prowling the city. Martin didn't know if this was a supernatural event, or not, but he read a story about one of the vanished boys, and he knew he had to put an end to it.
He tracked the monster - human or otherwise - back to his lair. This monster took pictures. Detailed pictures. Martin looked at every one of them. He found the bodies in the basement.
Martin discovered that the murderer was a man who was using supernatural means to hide himself and his bodies. Martin decided that this justified killing him.
His first response was some kind of bravery. He was going to stop all these men, these monsters that made the world so horrible for everyone.
His second response was something else altogether. He walked over to the nearest emergency room, and said, "I need help."
His world from that time on consisted of the asylum. He had no personal possessions but a picture of Lee.
Later, he wondered if maybe he really had fallen apart in Albuquerque, if his later hunts were just figments of an unreliable mind.
Martin called Sam.
He called Sam because, even as isolated as he was, he heard some stories on the grapevine. Sam had thrown himself into Hell to save the world, but that wasn't the story Martin was most interested in. Sam had come back - somehow - and come back different. He had started hallucinating the devil, but kept hunting until those hallucinations became so severe that he had to be hospitalized. Then Dean saved him in the way that they did, those Winchester brothers.
Martin never had a brother.
He called Sam and Sam balked. You've only been out of the hospital three weeks, what are you thinking, etc.
Martin said, you hunted when you saw Lucifer. I'm asking you for help.
That what he said to the mental health staff, I'm asking you for help. I don't know how to do this alone.
Sam sighs, and directs him to Louisiana to observe a vampire.
He has hallucinations, sometimes, in the hospital. He never knows if they are real or not, if they're the result of what's going on in his head, the meds he was taking, or some kind of beast trying to trap him.
"I used to be a hunter," he tells his fellow mental patients, in a moment of weakness.
"Me, too," says one old man. "Used to hunt deer. Did you hunt deer?"
"I hunted monsters," Martin says.
The old man nods. Everyone believes him, and no one believes him.
Martin listens to Sam's careful, exacting orders.
"You're treating me like a child," he says, the surly complaint that he wanted throw at the mental health staff, at his psychiatrist, and his therapist. Only he needs them too much.
Sam says, "I'm trusting you to handle a very sensitive situation correctly."
Martin says nothing, but he believes Sam is telling the truth.
He doesn't stop to think if he's actually any good at handling sensitive situations correctly.
It's a bit of a relief, when he stumbles on the dead body that Benny must have killed. Vampires are bad. It's that simple. Right now, he needs that simplicity.
It's not so simple when it comes to the goodness of people.
It's always a tragedy that gets you into hunting.
That's what Martin believes.
For Martin, it was his son.
He never married Caleb's mother, and they had no particular custody arrangement. But he saw Caleb whenever he could.
He wasn't there when Rose, Caleb's mother, beat their son to death with a shovel.
Rose's desperate pleas that Caleb was not Caleb, that he was trying to kill her, convinced no one, but gave her the option of an insanity plea. Rose was ruled sane enough to stand trial, and sent to jail.
Martin visited Rose weekly, trying to understand what had happened, how she had gone from devoted mother to child murderer.
He turned to books, he turned to names, people who might have any explanation for how a child could become super-powerful and attack his mother.
He discovered demons.
Now, he had a supernatural explanation for Caleb's death. But there were days when he wondered if Rose had just snapped.
There's something deeper going on with Sam and Dean. Even Martin gets it, although he doesn't know what. It doesn't matter. He isn't here to play counselor between Sam and Dean. He's here to kill a vampire.
He knocks Dean unconscious.
Sam is stunned.
"Let's go do our job," Martin says. Sam wakes up a little. "Cuff him."
"We can't..." Sam blanks out a moment.
"He's going to come after us," Martin says. "Do you really want to face some super-powered vampire without keeping his badass hunter ally out of the picture?"
Sam cuffs Dean to the radiator while Martin watches. Sam pauses, closes his eyes, and sighs.
"Look, I'm sorry about this," Martin says, "but it's now or never.
When he first gets out of the hospital, Martin is too frightened to go to the grocery store to get food.
He has a car, and a cell phone, but no food.
He calls his therapist. The first five times he's told that Dr. Blaine is busy with other patients. The sixth time, he finally gets through.
"I need to go get groceries," he says.
"Then go," says Dr. Blaine.
"I can't. I'll have a panic attack."
"Go, anyway. We've discussed how to handle panic attacks."
Martin walks nine blocks to the store, even though he hates walking. He has a panic attack in the vegetables section. He stands still and breathes, as other customers give him odd looks.
Eventually, the feeling subsides.
He buys everything on his list.
He considers the episode a success.
It's a reference to John Winchester that has Sam pushing him against a wall, threatening to take the hunt away from him.
Martin gives in, but he's thinking, This is not your fucking hunt. You brought me in to hunt a vampire that you hate because your brother loves him. You think you get to call the shots? When you put appeasing your brother above the lives you are supposed to protect?
When you find yourself getting angry at something, his therapist had said once, think that they are having a bad day. It will make your anger go away.
Martin tries it. Sam's having a bad day, Dean's having a bad day, fucking Benny is having a bad day.
It doesn't work.
Martin wakes up one night in the hospital, shivering from the warmth. He had been dreaming about a young man he failed to save, screaming accusations. A woman approached him who seemed familiar, but it wasn't until she showed her fangs that he remembered who she was - a vampire he had killed.
"You're a serial killer," said the vampire.
The young man was screaming, trying to drown out the vampire. "You let me down, you let my family down, weak, weak is what you are! You hide out in a mental institution, too cowardly to face the world."
Martin forced himself to wake up.
Martin has taken this hunt as his own. Dean calls, to warn him off the situation, to explain.
"Find a new line of work," Dean says.
Martin wonders what work Dean has in mind. You don't quit hunting. No matter what it does to you. Martin was a full-time patient, he lost himself in that. But he's done enough hiding, enough avoiding, enough being weak.
Dean had warned that if Martin faced Benny, Martin would die. Martin doesn't want to die, not now. If he can't be stronger than Benny, he has to be smarter.
What does Benny value?
"Just saying – brother chooses a vampire over a brother? I know how I'd feel." Martin doesn't actually know. He never had a brother. But he's imagined one, his whole life. Perhaps that's the same as knowing.
Sam is getting that spacey look again, so Martin taps his arm. Sam turns to glare at him.
"Why don't you mind your business?"
"Hey, I'm only here because you invited me. All I want to know is what the hell is going with your brother and that vampire."
"I told you," Sam says. "Benny helped Dean escape Purgatory."
"Then what's going on with you?" Martin asks.
"What do you mean?"
"You want the bloodsucker dead, you don't want him dead. You appease Dean, you turn against him. You wouldn't let me just kill the guy when he first killed someone. I had to call you. What the hell is going on here?"
They're in the car now, Martin taking the wheel.
"I'm trying to be fair," Sam says.
"You're not being fair," Martin says. "You're being unpredictable. And since what does 'fair' mean letting a murderous monster run loose?"
"Dean's done a lot for me," Sam says.
"And Benny's done a lot for him. How touching."
"I didn't know he was in Purgatory," Sam says. "I really didn't."
Sam stops talking, and Martin wants to keep pushing, but something about the look on Sam's face makes him back off with a sigh.
He's not blind to the fact that she's innocent. She could be Rose, or Lee. Instead she's Elizabeth, or Lizzie, a woman who had no say in being the great-granddaughter of a vampire.
He'd never kill her. But he will use her, draw her blood to make a point.
It's time she saw Roy for what he really is.
He himself doesn't realize what Benny really is until a second before his death.