Title: F Major
Characters: Jesse Turner, Ben Braeden, brief Claire Novak
Contains: nothing that's not on the show
Word Count: 1860
Summary: Jesse tries to keep his powers in check. Ben tries to help. Neither succeed.
Notes: Prequel to Key in A Minor. Posted to spn_nextgen.
It's a fifteen hour drive from Flagstaff to Tulsa, (and another nine hours up to Pontiac and Claire and her possibly-possessed-mother) and it's been almost entirely silent. Sure, Ben's had the radio blasting rock music, but Jesse has been slumped in the passenger seat, and other than pointing out they would need to stop for gas soon, and telling Ben what he wanted from the gas station, he hasn't said a word.
Until they're nearing the Texas border, when Jesse suddenly turns to Ben and asks, "Can you do me a favor?"
Ben blinks a few times, then reaches over and turns down the radio. "Huh?" he asks, not sure he heard Jesse right.
Jesse turns and looks out the front window again. He looks nervous.
"What's up?" Ben prompts, a few seconds later.
Jesse's eyes slide closed for a second, and then he looks at Ben again, blue eyes sharp. "Could you do me a favor?"
Ben stares. "You need a favor... from me?" he asks. Jesse is the Anti-Christ, and Ben can't think of anything Jesse would need from him.
"Yes," Jesse says, with just the slightest edge.
"Okay," Ben replies, dumbly, a few moments later. "Yeah, sure, what do you need?"
Jesse turns back to stare out the front window, and if anything looks more nervous. "When we check into the motel, there's something I need you to do for me."
It seems to be a more serious moment, but Ben can't help but snicker. "Jesse, man, I care about you, I really do, but--"
"Finish that sentence and I will turn you into a pig," Jesse says, voice high and lofty, but there's a slight tug to his lips.
"I am flattered, really," he says, laughing. Then he feels a punch to the arm, and he gives out a grunt. "If you're going to hit me, you can actually hit me," he points out, because it's a bit weird to get hit in the shoulder by someone who hasn't moved.
"Noted," Jesse says, relaxing into the seat a bit more.
"So yeah, what exactly do you need me to do?" Ben asks a few moments later.
"It's... difficult to explain. Not difficult to do, I just... need your help with something," he says, slowly. "I'll explain when we get there."
"Alright, fine, be all mysterious," Ben mumbles, and when Jesse doesn't reply, he turns the volume back up. An old Creedence Clearwater Revival song playing on the radio, and is soon the only sound in the car.
They stop at a motel in Tulsa, eight hours later. As soon as Ben parks the car, Jesse is out the door, phone at his ear. Which leaves Ben to get the rooms, move the car to the right parking spot, and haul their shit into the room; but given how the streetlamp over Jesse is flickering dangerously, he doesn't feel inclined to complain.
Instead he flicks on the light as he enters the room, drops the duffels, and flops down on the nearest bed. It's surprisingly comfortable for motel standards, and he settles in, and waits.
Jesse appears in the middle of the room, a few moments later.
"Claire okay?" Ben asks, sitting up.
Jesse opens his eyes, looking surprised. He blinks a few times, then says, "Yeah. Yeah, she's fine..."
"If she really needs our help, we can be there by morning."
"If she really needs our help, I can be there in a second," Jesse points out.
Another silence falls, and after a minute Ben coughs. "So, what d'you need me to do?"
"Wait here," he says, and he goes into the bathroom. He comes back a few seconds later with all the towels in the motel room, and lays them out on the second bed.
And then he unbuttons his pants, and starts tugging them off.
Ben feels awkward, and he's about to open his mouth and make some sort of joke to lighten the mood, but Jesse sharply says, "Not in the mood."
Ben shuts his mouth.
Jesse sits down on the bed, and then beckons Ben forward.
Ben is on his feet before he realizes it, and from Jesse's widening eyes and slight wince, Ben is starting to get a bad feeling about this.
"Sit down," Jesse says, and then there's the desk chair behind Ben, and he's sitting in it, almost against his will.
"Jesse..." Ben says, questioningly. It's a rule Jesse set in place -- the moment the he started acting like the Anti-Christ, he asked Ben or Claire to say something. Only the issue hasn't come up before, and Ben doesn't know quite what to say.
"I know," Jesse says, fixing his gaze on the ceiling. "I'm sorry. Here." He hands Ben a sheathed knife, and a scrap of paper with a long string of runes on it.
"What's this for?"
"I'm the Anti-Christ," Jesse says, bluntly, closing his eyes. "And that is a way to keep my powers in check."
"Yeah..." Ben says slowly, hoping for a bit more elaboration. He unsheathes the knife. It's a pretty sweet blade, with faint etchings carved into it. He turns it over in his hand a few times, but he can't manage to get a good grip on the hilt.
"I need you to carve those runes into my leg."
There's a beat of silence. "Are you serious?"
"Yes. It's a form of magic that works. It keeps.... it keeps things in check. I'm a few days early, so there should be scars there, so you know what size to make everything."
Ben scoots the chair in closer to Jesse's bed, leans over, and looks at Jesse's freakishly white thigh. "No," he says, "there are no scars."
Jesse's gaze snaps to Ben, then down at his body. "Shit," he says, emphatically, and the lights flicker. "Then you need to start carving, fast."
Telling himself it's just like cutting into his own arm, Ben presses the blade down, and slowly etches the first rune. The lighting continues to flicker. He glances up. "Does this hurt?" he asks.
"Yes," Jesse says, through grit teeth.
Ben hesitates. "Is there anything I can do to make it hurt less?"
"Do it quickly," Jesse commands.
Ben watches as his hand snaps over to Jesse's leg, the knife suddenly cutting into him. He looks back at the scrap of paper Jesse gave him, and winces as he finishes the second rune, which doesn't look that much like the one Jesse had written down -- rune-work is Claire's specialty, not his. But Jesse asked him for this favor, and Ben said he'd do it, so he soldiers on, carving wobbly Enochian into Jesse's leg. It's nothing like cutting into his own arm, and it's a lot harder than he would have thought, trying to carve something precise into somebody else's body. His hand isn't shaking, but the characters still come out crooked, some too large, some too thin, and he has no idea what any of them mean.
He hears a choked noised, and tries to ignore it, tries to ignore the red smear spread across Jesse's leg, tries to remember the last rune he cut.
There's another choked noise, louder this time, more pained, and Ben looks up, worried.
Jesse's eyes are closed, and there's a wide smile on his face.
When Ben looks back down at his leg, it's completely healed, no blood, no cuts, no runes.
Ben looks back up.
Jesse's eyes are open, and a demonic black.
Next thing he knows, he's flung back, his back hitting the far wall.
"Well you fucked that up royally," Jesse says, but it's not Jesse, not really. Ben watches as he swings his legs over the side of the of the bed, and starts making his way towards Ben. There's something off about the way he moves, and Ben tries to discreetly push against the invisible barrier holding him up. "Thank you."
Ben shoots him a smile. "Not a problem," he replies, keeping his voice cheery.
"Really," Jesse continues. "He's been binding me for years now. I tried to fight it, of course, made the scars heal as fast as I could, but he would keep slicing away. When he's carving them, that's when he's the weakest, 'cause if I can just heal those scars as they're being made, I can get out, take control. But he usually he does it so quickly, and silver stings like a bitch, so I can never quite get the time to heal myself and heal him. But you were so slow, and your runes were so wrong, and I cannot tell you," he says, and by now he's inches away from Ben, and his voice drops as he continues, "how thankful I really am."
"Hey," Ben says, trying to sound casual, "you know I like you, and I know you like me, but if could just take a few steps back..."
"Oh no, Jesse likes you." He leans in even closer, voice dropping to a conspiratorial tone, and continues, "I think you're pathetic."
It's not Jesse, his eyes are black, how he speaks is different, how he looks at Ben is different, but he can't help but feel a sharp twist to the gut.
Jesse draws back slightly, cocks his head to the side. "For all your smart remarks, and witty comebacks, I was expecting something more than, well, nothing."
"Sorry to disappoint," Ben deflects. He doesn't allow himself to react. It's not Jesse, it's a demon, and demons are dicks, looking for any sort of weakness to exploit. Ben won't give him any.
There's a stiff silence between them, not unlike the silences that had been littered throughout the day. The demon is staring at him intently, sizing him up.
"I wonder..." he says, finally, touching the tip of the knife to Ben's jawline, "...what would happen if I cut you? There's already demon blood on here, what would happen if there was cross-blood contamination?"
Ben tenses, unable to help it.
The demon smiles at that. "You look terrified," he says, sounding satisfied.
Ben is terrified. He knows what happened with Sam and demon blood, he knows what a downward spiral it is, knows just a few drops is enough to screw him for the rest of his life, knows there's just a few drops of the edge of the blade, knows there's nothing he can do to get out of this situation, and goddamn he needs to get out of this situation.
"Jesse can see you, you know," he notes. "He's screaming in me, right now."
"Jesse, get me out of here," Ben says, hurriedly, before he can help himself. He can feel the edge of the blade against his skin, a hair away from breaking his skin.
The demon laughs. "This is--" he starts, before his eyes flicker blue.
Then blue again.
Jesse takes a step back, flips the knife around and stabs himself.
The light goes out, and the invisible hold keeping Ben up disappears, dropping him to the floor.
When the lights come back on, a few minutes later, Jesse is gone, and Ben hasn't moved.
- [Supernatural] F Major