Season Four

Episode Nine: Reflection

By irismay42

Part One

Singer Salvage,
Sioux Falls, SD
March 19th, 2010

“Shut the hell up you noisy mutts!”

Bobby Singer turned over heavily, the bed springs groaning a rusty protest beneath his tired body.

Light was just starting to seep in through the crack in the curtains and a glance at the old digital alarm clock on the nightstand revealed the time to be six thirty a.m. And while Bobby was usually an early riser, a late night with some moldy books and a bottle of Jim Beam had meant he’d had four hours sleep, tops.

Stupid noisy mutts.

Dragging himself out of bed, he padded sleepily to the window, pulling aside one of the musty maroon curtains and squinting into the semi-darkness.

Freakin’ Lila. Knew he was a soft touch when it came to canines.

“He’s just a baby, Bobby,” she’d cooed. “Can’t keep him at the shelter much longer.”

Freakin’ Lila and her freakin’ rescue mutts.

The Rottweiler puppy in question—christened Alec by the staff at the animal shelter on account of him apparently being so smart—was currently planted in the middle of the yard, feet spread out and hackles raised, barking at shadows.

Bobby’s Alaskan Malamute, Max, was standing right next to him, her own teeth bared at the same shadows, probably just to show solidarity with the younger mutt, Bobby figured.

Max was apparently a soft touch too.

As Bobby prepared to close the curtains and crawl back into his pit, the shadows shifted slightly.

Bobby had never trusted shadows.

Grabbing the first thing that came to hand—which happened to be the shotgun loaded with rock salt rounds he always kept propped by the side of his bed—Bobby stealthily opened his bedroom door, making his way quickly and quietly along the hall and down the stairs, before carefully unlocking the front door to the house.

Careful not to disturb the thick salt line laid across the threshold, Bobby cautiously pulled the door open, the dogs still barking up a storm in the yard and the shadows still shifting barely perceptibly beyond them.

Suddenly one of the dogs—Alec by the sounds of it—yelped, and Bobby almost took a step over the salt line.

“Max!” he called, his tone measured and calm so as not to spook either of the dogs any more than they already were. “Here girl. And bring that idjit toyboy o’ yours with ya while you’re at it!”

Both dogs were whimpering now, tails down, ears flat to their heads as they turned and headed quickly up to the house, climbing up onto the porch with a clatter of claws as their master ushered them into the house, careful not to disturb the salt.

No way whatever was out there was getting in.

And from the looks of the shadows out beyond the porch, there was more than one something out there.

Squinting into the half-light, Bobby raised the shotgun slightly as his eyes finally managed to adjust to the darkness.

There were several shadowy figures standing out in the yard.

None of them made any kind of move toward the house. They were just standing there. Watching him.

With jet black eyes.

Taking a breath, Bobby carefully closed the door, drew back the bolts, and reached for his cellphone.


Best Budget Motel,
Lawrence, KS

Dean shifted slightly on the lumpy mattress, muzzy head wondering why the hell someone was bellowing R. Dean Taylor’s There’s a Ghost In My House at full volume into his ear.

Cracking open one eye, he performed his usual check of the room—salt lines: check; weapons bag: check; dirty laundry on the floor: check; Sam snoring like a two-hundred pound hippopotamus in the next bed: check—before remembering he’d changed the ringtone on the new cellphone sitting on the nightstand only the night before.

Groping for the phone, Dean swore silently as he fumbled in the semi-darkness, almost dropping the little gadget onto the questionably-stained brown carpet before bringing it up to his face and squinting at the screen.

Bobby’s cell flashed brightly—too brightly for this time of day—at him.

Dammit. The thing had so many buttons he couldn’t remember which one to push to pick up the call.

Oh yeah. Touchscreen.

Sam might love all this technology stuff, but Dean just wanted to make a damn phone call.

Finger pushing a little too forcefully against the touchscreen, Bobby’s gruff, “You awake, boy?” rattled around in Dean’s brain for a couple of seconds before he was able to formulate an answer.

“I am now,” he muttered, glancing at the time on the clock on the nightstand. “Bobby, it’s the middle of the goddamn night, man!”

“It’s six thirty-five, sleepyhead,” Bobby returned, his voice containing an edge of controlled worry that had Dean instantly sitting up in his bed.

“Bobby, what’s wrong?” he asked. “You sound kinda weird.”

“Part of the job description,” Bobby replied. “As is having your damn house surrounded by demons at stupid o’clock in the morning.”

“Demons?” Dean was instantly on alert. “Bobby, you okay? We can be there in like—” he checked his watch, even though he’d only just looked at the time. “—Five hours.”

“My ass. Five and a half if you break every speed limit on the way,” Bobby snorted. “Dean, I know what day it is, son. And I don’t need you haulin’ ass over here when your daddy needs you over there.”

“But Bobby, if you need our help—”

By this point Sam was sitting up in bed too, rubbing the sleep from his eyes and running his fingers through his thick mop of hair. He cast a concerned look in Dean’s direction, and Dean mouthed the word, “Bobby,” to his brother, which didn’t seem to lessen Sam’s obvious unease any.

“Look, I’m fine, Dean, just wanted to give you a heads up is all,” Bobby was trying to reassure him. “Damn demons are just standing there, watching. It’s kinda creepy, but there’s no way they can get in—the whole house is ringed with salt and there are wards and charms everywhere. They’re not even tryin’ to get any closer.”

“So why are they there?” Dean asked.

“The sixty-four thousand dollar question,” Bobby agreed. “Might be somethin’ to do with what you boys are up to today. Y’know? Keep me stuck here so’s I can’t get to Stull to help you out tonight, like I promised.”

“You think?” Dean asked. “Like demonic house arrest?” He rubbed at his eyes and exhaled slowly. “You think they’re Lucifer’s? Maybe he’s got some kind of big plan going on to try and stop us getting Dad out tonight?”

Bobby sighed wearily. “Maybe,” he agreed. “I sure as hell ain’t gettin’ no further than my porch today.” He virtually growled down the telephone. “Damn, I hate bein’ benched like this, right before the big game.”

“Bobby, we’ll be okay,” Dean assured him. “We can do this.”

“You boys even have a plan yet?”

Dean swallowed. “We’re working on it,” he insisted. “Only a matter of time till Sammy’s geek-boy brain comes up with somethin’.”

“Well, you and your brother look after yourselves,” Bobby instructed. “Don’t want you showin’ up at my house dead or nothin’.”

Dean snorted. “Not gonna happen, old man.” He paused for a second. “You sure you don’t need any help?”

“I can handle a few pansy-ass demons, boy,” Bobby grunted. “You and Sam just go get your daddy.”

Dean paused for a second. “We will, Bobby,” he said. “Take care of yourself.”

“Ditto, son,” Bobby replied, and the call disconnected.

“Is Bobby okay?” Sam asked immediately, swinging his long legs out of bed and perching on the edge of the mattress nervously.

Dean shrugged. “Says his whole house is surrounded by demons.”

“What?” Sam burst out, jumping to his feet. “We gotta get out there…”

“Hold your horses there, Hoss,” Dean said, forcing himself up out of bed and grabbing Sam’s arm. “Bobby’s fine. The demons aren’t doing anything. He thinks they’re just trying to stop him coming here.”

Sam nodded, taking a breath, although his body remained tense. “They know what day it is,” Sam conceded. “They’re gonna try and stop us getting Dad out of the Gateway.”

“’Course they are,” Dean agreed. “You didn’t think they’d let us just waltz into Stull cemetery, open the Gate and pull him out did ya?”

Sam grinned a little mirthlessly. “Well I was kinda hoping,” he said, before shaking his head. “No,” he admitted slowly. “But it’s been five months since Halloween. Two weeks since the thing with the photo album. Two weeks bumming around every hunter, witch, psychic and soothsayer mentioned in Dad’s journal and we still don’t know how the hell we’re gonna get him out.”

Dean shrugged. “Then we do what we always do, man,” he said, trying to muster up a cocky smile. “We wing it.”

“Dad’s life’s not always on the line, Dean,” Sam returned flatly. “I’m not sure ‘winging it’ is gonna work this time.”

“No,” Dean agreed. “Which is why you need to get that gigantic melon o’ yours coming up with a plan.”

“Planning’s your department,” Sam returned, sinking back down onto his bed. “I’m Research Guy, remember?”

Dean nodded, nudging Sam’s foot as he headed for the bathroom. “Right now looks like you’re Comatose Guy to me,” he said. “Up an’ at ’em, Sammy. We got a long day ahead of us.”

Sam grunted, one arm thrown over his eyes. “Five more minutes,” he muttered, sounding all of about six years old.

Dean smiled to himself at the memory as he closed the bathroom door behind him, peeling off his t-shirt and reaching to turn on the shower.

Just as his cellphone started to scream again.

“Dean, phone!” Sam’s yell sounded muffled, and Dean was pretty sure he’d got his head under the bedcovers again.

Yanking the door open, Dean headed back to the nightstand where he’d left the phone, giving his brother’s foot a slightly less gentle nudge as he passed. “C’mon, Sleeping Beauty! We got Hellgate’s to storm, remember?”

Snatching up the cellphone once more, Dean again checked out the caller I.D., half expecting it to be Bobby calling back.

He was more than a little surprised to see “Bonnie” flashing on the screen.

Jabbing once again at the touchscreen, Dean frowned as he picked up the call. “Hey Bonnie,” he began. “It’s early. Is everything okay…?”

“Dean?” Bonnie didn’t sound okay. She didn’t sound anywhere near okay. In fact, Dean quickly realized, she sounded pretty damn terrified. “Dean, there’s someone in my house,” she finished.

Dean took a breath. “Someone or something?” he asked shortly.

Bonnie swallowed audibly. “Thing,” she amended. “Things.”

“As in more than one?”

“As in several. I don’t know how they got in here. I know how to lay salt lines, you know I do.”

“Dad taught you good.”

“Not good enough, apparently.”

“Are they demons?” Dean wasn’t sure he wanted to hear the answer.

“Black eyes and everything,” Bonnie confirmed. “I don’t know what to do.”

“Are you alone?”

“Uh-huh. Just me and them. And they’re just…standing there. Watching me.”

“They’re in the room with you?”

“Oh yeah. Won’t let me leave the house. Won’t let me call anyone but you.”

Dean’s brain fritzed for a second, and Sam was once again sitting up in bed looking worried.

Man, this can’t be happening, he told himself. Dad had kept Bonnie and her family safe for sixteen years—sixteen years!—and not two weeks after Dean and Sam found out about her, she’d already got demons in her house.

“Bonnie, it’s okay,” he told her, not sure which of them he was trying to convince. “I won’t let anything happen to you.”

“I know what day it is, Dean,” Bonnie said, repeating what Bobby had said just a few short minutes earlier. “I know you can’t help me.”

“No, that’s not true,” Dean asserted. “I won’t let them hurt you—”

Before Dean could get any further, Sam’s cell began to chirp some wussy emo chart crap, and he found his brother looking at him, the question in his eyes. Sam obviously knew something was wrong from the look Dean was failing pretty spectacularly to keep off his own face.

Swallowing hard, Sam picked up his phone, his face blanching visibly when he saw the caller I.D.

“Sarah?”

Dean’s stomach flipped right over even as he saw the color draining from his brother’s face.

This was bad.

This was really bad.

They’d not seen Sarah Blake in quite a while now, but Dean knew Sam kept in sporadic contact with her, even though he wasn’t sure where she was living these days.

“Dean?” Bonnie’s voice was in his ear, reminding him that he was already in the middle of a conversation, even as Sam’s fingers tightened on his phone and his lips compressed into a thin white line.

“Sarah, it’s okay. Everything’s going to be okay.”

“Bonnie, put one of those black-eyed sons of bitches on the phone.”

“Dean Winchester,” a calm, measured voice oozed like honey down the phone line almost immediately.

“Demonic bastard,” Dean returned, equally as calmly.

“Now, now, no need for name-calling,” the demon chided him. “We’re not going to hurt your friend,” the sneer was obvious in his voice. “Not yet anyway. Not until midnight.”

“What happens at midnight?” Dean hardly dared ask.

“If you’re here,” the demon replied, “nothing. If you’re not… well let’s just say your friend’s brain matter will be decorating her kitchen wall.”

“Son of a—” Dean growled. “You touch her, I’ll drag your evil demonic ass to Hell myself, you bastard!”

“Midnight, Winchester. You’ve got until midnight.”

There was a click, followed by the dial tone, and Dean was torn between throwing the phone at the wall and banging his head against it instead.

“Sammy…?”

Sam held up one hand to quiet his brother. “Yeah, well unless you wanna send me a plane ticket, asshole, how the hell do you expect me to get to San Francisco by midnight?”

Sam scowled into his phone, and Dean could hear the dial tone from across the room.

“Sarah?” Dean asked hesitantly.

Sam drew in a breath before nodding. “She’s in California,” he explained. “They’ve got her, Dean. They say if I don’t get there by midnight they’re going to kill her.”

Dean drew a tired hand across his forehead. “Same story with Bonnie,” he confirmed. “It’s gotta be Lucifer, right? Trying to separate us, keep us away from Stull, from Dad? We have to be here at midnight, when the Gate opens, not at opposite ends of the country.”

“Divide and conquer,” Sam agreed. “Remember what everyone kept telling us when we got stuck in the Gateway at Halloween? How bad things happen when we don’t have each other’s back?”

“Yeah, well in case you hadn’t noticed, bad things happen even when we do have each others back,” Dean pointed out. “Even if I floored the gas pedal the whole way, I’d never make it to Lynchburg in anything less than maybe ten hours,” he said. “No way I’d ever make it back in time.”

“And even by plane I wouldn’t make the round trip to San Francisco,” Sam agreed. He just stood there for a second, chewing on his lip and staring at the floor, before turning his attention back to his brother. “So what the hell do we do, Dean?”

Again, Dean never got the chance to answer, his cellphone choosing that moment to once again cry for his attention.

The pit in his stomach deepened as he read the caller I.D. Kyle Williams.

“Dammit, Moses,” he muttered, picking up the call.

“Dean?” Kyle sounded even more freaked out than Bonnie had. “I don’t know how they got in!” he declared, barely pausing for breath. “They can’t be here! This is holy ground! They shouldn’t be able to get in!”

“Holy ground doesn’t always work on demons, man,” Dean said slowly, rubbing at the headache forming between his eyes. “I’m guessing Broken Arrow has an infestation of the bastards too?”

“They won’t let me leave the church,” Kyle said by way of confirmation. “And they won’t let anyone in. I should be getting ready for confession! There are people who need me!”

“I’m sure Oklahoma has plenty of other places for people to confess their sins, Moses,” Dean pointed out. “Like the nearest bar.” Switching tack, he added, “Did they hurt you?”

The priest sighed. “No,” he said. “But they said you were the only one I was allowed to call.”

“Lemme guess. I don’t show up by midnight they’re gonna gank you?”

“Something tells me you’ve heard this story before.”

“Yeah,” Dean agreed. “They’ve got Bobby and Sarah and—and a friend of our dad’s too.”

“You can’t get to all of us, Dean,” Kyle said, the resignation obvious in his voice. “Don’t worry about me. I’ll be okay.”

Kyle was four hours away. Dean could make it. He could get to Kyle. He could save him, and still make it back in time to save Dad. But Bonnie… Sarah… Bobby…

Dad…

What was he supposed to do? How was he supposed to save them all?

“It’s gonna be okay, Moses,” he said confidently into the phone. “Everything’s going to be okay, okay? We won’t let them hurt you.”

“Dean you can’t. Sarah… Bobby… You can’t…”

Even Kyle knew that was true, and he didn’t even know about John being stuck in the Gateway as far as Dean was aware.

“I can,” Dean insisted. “And I will. Kyle? You listenin’ to me?”

“You have until midnight,” a different voice said coldly into his ear, and then the phone went dead.

“Dammit!” Dean resisted throwing the phone at the wall just because he didn’t know if one of his friends was going to need to call him again. Or maybe another of his friends might call.

He shuddered at the possibility.

No one else. They weren’t losing anyone else.

“We need help, man,” Sam said, sounding as if he was a million miles away.

Dean looked up at him, the headache blossoming into a pounding behind his eyes. “Who’s gonna help us, Sammy?” he asked. “How are they gonna help us?”

“Maybe we could call in some favors—some of Dad’s favors?” Sam offered. “See if there are any of Dad’s friends—other hunters—anyone near San Francisco or Lynchburg or—or Broken Arrow?”

“Or Sioux Falls?” Dean added. “’Cause you can bet your ass Bobby’s on the same schedule as everyone else.”

“We can’t be in five places at once, Dean.”

“No we can’t,” Dean agreed. “Which I think is the point.”

His hand spasmed as his phone once again started to yell at him.

He closed his eyes briefly, not wanting to look down at the caller I.D. Not wanting to hear another of his friends was in mortal danger.

“Dean,” Sam said quietly. “You gotta answer that.”

“I know, Sammy,” Dean murmured. “I know.”

Finally glancing down at the phone, Dean was almost relieved to see “Unknown caller” flashing on the screen.

With some trepidation, he hesitantly picked up the call, saying nothing by way of greeting.

The silence stretched out for a couple of seconds, and Dean could hear someone breathing on the other end of the line. A rustle of clothing or long hair. A sigh.

“Hey, lover. Long time.”

Dean sucked in a breath as the world tilted suddenly sideways and he found himself collapsing down onto his bed, his legs no longer able to keep him upright.

Couldn’t be. Couldn’t be. He ganked the bitch himself.

“Dean, baby? You still there? C’mon, honey, talk to me! I don’t bite. Well, not unless you want me to.”

Dean swallowed. Hard. His chest had constricted painfully, and he was finding it kind of difficult to breathe.

“Dean?” Sam said, concern darkening his eyes. “You okay man?”

Dean shook his head. No he wasn’t friggin’ okay. He wasn’t okay at all.

“Dean?” the woman’s voice repeated his name.

“Bitch,” Dean replied flatly. “I’d say it was good to hear your voice but I’m not that good of a liar.”

“Aw, baby, don’t be mean! Did you miss me?”

“Like several holes in the head,” Dean hissed, before finally demanding, “Whaddaya want, Mia? Gotta be pretty damn important for you to come back from the dead and everything.”

Sam’s expression shifted to one of abject shock, and he blinked several times before sinking bonelessly onto the bed next to his brother.

“Can’t keep a good girl down,” the former half-demon snarked down the phone. “Or a bad one.”

She was laughing. The bitch was laughing.

“This is all you, right? What’s happening to our friends? This is all you?”

“Well Dean, I’m kinda hurt you couldn’t spot my handiwork a mile away. You getting rusty in your old age? Or just complacent? You know, I hope you haven’t gotten all fat and lazy while I’ve been gone. I mean, yeah, more of you to stick sharp things into, but I’d hate to think you’ve gotten all out of shape without me to chase you around.”

“Don’t worry, sweetheart, you’re not the one who’s gonna be doin’ the chasin’ today.”

“Well that’s right, baby,” Mia agreed. “Because you really have got a lot of running around to do before midnight, haven’t you? I mean, how, exactly, do you plan on saving all your friends and your dad?” She laughed hollowly. “Someone’s gonna die tonight, handsome. Several someones if I get my way.”

“Why are you doing this, you skank?” Dean demanded. “They’re innocents!”

“You left me dead, Dean,” Mia returned, voice suddenly hard as iron. “Dead. In a cemetery.”

“Best place for a rotting skank if you ask me.”

“You didn’t even bother to bury me! Just left me there. Like an animal!”

“You are an animal.”

“I don’t think Lucifer feels the same way,” Mia retorted. “Raised me up right there off the ground and fixed me right up. Fixed the holes you put in me. Told me he had big plans for me. Big plans, baby. I’m in the starting lineup for the Big Battle, Dean. Star quarterback. Gonna crush your pretty little ass like a bug.”

“While I can see death hasn’t stopped you fixating on my ass,” Dean returned, “over my dead body.”

“Over someone’s dead body,” Mia replied. “And you, Dean, you get to choose whose dead body it’s going to be. How about Bobby? Nice Uncle Bobby, used to tuck you into bed at night when your daddy couldn’t be bothered to take care of you. Or pretty little Sarah. Break Sammy’s heart if I put her on the ceiling and set her on fire, don’t you think?”

Dean clenched his jaw, trying to look anywhere other than Sam.

“Or how about Kyle?” Mia continued. “That nice little priest who tried so very hard to save my soul.”

“I see you’re as grateful as ever.”

“My soul was never up for saving, thanks to your daddy, Dean. Speaking of. So Bonnie, huh? Who’d o’ thought Johnny had it in him? Stepmom. I bet Sam loves that!”

“We have other friends, bitch,” Dean spat. “We’ll get to ’em…”

“Not all of them, Dean. And maybe we have other surprises lined up for you today. Other people you care about thrown into the firing line because you’re just too sloppy, too useless to protect them. Who knows what the day will bring? Maybe we’ll even run into each other later, y’know? Kiss and make up? For old time’s sake?”

“I’d just as soon kiss a wookiee,” Dean replied tartly.

Mia obviously found that hilarious. “Pity you’re such a Boy Scout, Dean,” she said. “You’re really fun to play with. And hot. Did I mention that? You’re really hot. For a Boy Scout. And the sex was killer. Literally. You sure you don’t wanna switch teams, baby? Come bat on Lucifer’s side with me? It’d be a blast. I guarantee it.”

“Let our friends go right now or I swear to God I’ll kill you all over again. And again. And again. And as many times as it takes to make sure your skanky demonic ass is really, really dead.”

“In your dreams, Boy Scout,” Mia snorted. “You be sure and have a nice day now.”

The line clicked over to static, and Dean’s head was pounding so hard he was pretty sure it was going to explode any minute.

“Please tell me that wasn’t who I think it was,” Sam said slowly.

Dean shook his head. “She’s back, Sammy,” he said through gritted teeth. “The bitch is back.”

They needed a plan, dammit. They needed to think.

They needed to save their friends. Before midnight. Before Mia tore them to pieces.


Lawrence Public Library,
Lawrence, KS

“Sammy, while I admire your commitment to the written word and Geekdom in general,” Dean said, slamming the Impala’s door and turning to look at the big, one-storey building in front of them, “you really think we’re gonna find something to help us here?”

Dean had never been a big fan of libraries, Sam knew that, but if they were going to find anything to help them save their friends today, Sam was convinced they would find it here.

“I heard they have a really extensive occult collection here, Dean,” he informed his brother, leading the way toward the library’s main entrance. “Maybe we can—”

“What?” Dean cut him off suddenly, grabbing Sam’s sleeve and spinning him back to face him. “Find a spell to turn us into time travelling Terminators who can be in five places at once?”

“Dean—”

“We’re wasting time, man! Time our friends don’t have!”

“Dean, we can’t leave Lawrence,” Sam pointed out, sounding a hell of a lot calmer than he felt. “Not now, not today. You of all people know that. We can’t. So right now this is all we can do.”

Dean took a breath, eyes skittering off to scour the street beyond Sam’s shoulder. “I know, Sam,” he said quietly, a hint of resignation in his voice and the sudden slump of his shoulders. “I know.” His eyes returned to seek out his brother’s, a vaguely teasing tone returning to his voice. “But I’m surprised to hear that from you, man. You putting Dad before Bobby, Kyle and Bonnie. Not to mention Sarah.”

Sam shrugged. Although he wanted to believe he was doing this for Dad, a tiny part of him knew it wasn’t John Winchester’s wellbeing he was putting before everyone else’s. It was Dean’s.

“C’mon, man,” he said, refusing to explain his plan of action to his brother. “Like you said, we’re wasting time.”

Dean nodded, finally releasing his hold on Sam’s jacket and allowing him to open the door to the large, modern-looking library.

Sam’s heart sank a little as he crossed the threshold.

Lawrence Public Library was all big windows and sunlight and Dan Brown novels. It certainly didn’t look as if it held an impressive occult collection.

“Sam, are you sure about this?” Dean muttered from behind him, obviously arriving at the same conclusion. “’Cause unless Jackie Collins started writing grimoires, I’m not sure we’re gonna find anything to help us here.”

Sam bit his lip, scanning the floor plan on the wall before making his way to the front desk, Dean shuffling behind him in his wake.

The woman who looked up at their approach could have had the words “stereotypical librarian” tattooed right onto her forehead. She was the living embodiment of the picture Sam figured popped into everyone’s head when they heard the word: twin set and pearls, hair up in a tight bun, sharp eyes peering at him over half-moon glasses.

She smiled brightly at him, fingers tapping on the desk in front of her.

“Good morning, gentlemen!” she greeted them. “How can I help you today?”

Sam returned the smile with as genuine a one of his own as he could muster. “Uh, hi,” he said, approaching the woman cautiously. “Me ’n my brother here—” he indicated Dean over his shoulder, who waved helpfully, “—we’re into local history, and wondered whether you had any material about the Stull legends, or occult lore in general? It’s—it’s for a paper we’re writing. We’re students at Kansas U.”

As if that explained everything.

The librarian paused for a second before her smile broadened still further and she nodded enthusiastically. “Oh yes, there’s always a lot of interest about Stull around these parts,” she said. “Although it’s usually around Halloween.”

Sam returned her smile. “Well we like to be different,” he told her lamely, and she squinted at him a second before edging out from behind the desk.

“If you’d like to follow me?”

“Not particularly,” Dean muttered, and Sam elbowed him sharply in the ribs before dragging him after the librarian, who had marched off toward the furthest, darkest corner of the library, to a single bookcase standing all by itself.

“Wow, she is way too hot to be working in a library,” Sam heard Dean murmur from behind him, and, figuring his brother wasn’t talking about the librarian, he turned to glance in the direction Dean was looking—backwards, naturally, rather than the way they were going. Following the direction of Dean’s gaze, Sam’s eyes lit on an attractive young black woman shelving books nearby. She was dressed in a navy blue skirt and white blouse, her hair tied back in a long ponytail, and her gaze flitted curiously in their direction, before abruptly looking away again when she caught Dean’s eye.

Dean snorted softly and Sam figured his brother was pretty used to women looking at him when they thought he wasn’t looking back.

The librarian in the meantime was pointing to the rather uninspiring-looking bookcase in front of them, and Sam couldn’t help feeling a little crestfallen. There really wasn’t much here.

“This is it,” she told them with a sunny smile. “If you need any more help, don’t forget to holler!”

“Oh, we will,” Dean told the woman, his voice oozing insincerity. “Count on it.”

The librarian appeared not to notice, instead smiling at them once again before heading back to her desk.

Sam shook his head as he examined the books in front of them. “We’d have been better off going to Bobby’s,” he declared, picking up one of the dusty volumes and flicking through it unenthusiastically.

“Except we wouldn’t have gotten past the demons,” Dean pointed out, also snagging one of the books and pretending to look through it.

There were a few books on Stull, Sam noted. Nothing really awe-inspiring. Nothing that looked as if it might contain something to help them out of their impossible situation.

“Y’know, Bobby said they had some good stuff here,” Sam told his brother, again shaking his head. “But if they do, I sure as hell can’t see it.”

“Look man,” Dean said, suddenly serious. “We have—” he glanced at his watch, “—fifteen hours until midnight when Bitchface Hellsucker’s gonna gank all our friends—”

“You mean Mia?” Sam couldn’t help smiling at Dean’s latest nickname for the half-demon.

“Who d’you think I meant?” Dean asked. “Santa Claus? Look, if we don’t find a way to stop the demonic bitch, Dad’s stuck in Stull for another six months and we’re gonna be attending a hell of a lot of funerals, Sammy. Not to mention Lucifer’s Little Helper will probably find a way to wreak even more havoc, whether she’s fully human or fully demon now.”

Suddenly Dean broke off, his attention snapping to a spot just beyond Sam’s shoulder.

Sam turned, to find the hot library assistant standing right behind them.

Dean blinked at her. “I help you with somethin’?” he asked, clearly a little perturbed at the woman’s sudden appearance in his personal space.

“No,” the woman said shortly. “But I might be able to help you.”

When she blinked her eyes were black.

Sam’s left hand went straight for the flask of holy water in his inside jacket pocket while his right went for the Glock secreted in the waistband of his jeans.

Dean’s Colt was already out, the barrel inches from the woman’s forehead, but she merely raised her hands in surrender and sighed heavily.

“Truce, guys,” she said, seemingly unconcerned by the gun in her face or Dean’s murderous expression. “I’m really here to help you.”

“Like hell,” Dean spat. “No pun intended.”

“Who are you?” Sam demanded. “What do you want? Have you been following us?”

The demon shrugged. “Hey, I just work here,” she informed them. “If anything I might start to think you’re following me.”

“Bull,” Dean growled. “Gimme one good reason why I shouldn’t send your ass back to Hell right now, sweetheart?”

“Because it’s such a pretty ass?” the demon hazarded with a mischievous grin.

Dean blinked at her, his gun faltering a little. He’d never been particularly comfortable with demons flirting with him, Sam reflected.

“Look,” the demon continued, hands still raised but her relaxed stance indicating she wasn’t in the slightest bit afraid of what the Winchesters might do to her. “You don’t have to worry, okay? I’m not like that Hellbitch Mia Cameron that you boys seem to enjoy hanging out with so much. I’ve not come here to make friends with you then turn around and bite you in the ass or anything. Although from what I hear you might like that, huh, Dean?”

Dean scowled at her. “What the hell do you know about Mia?” he asked. “And us? What—how do you know about us?”

“Oh come on, sweetie!” the demon burst out. “I know you boys are modest, but you gotta realize everyone knows about the Winchesters, don’t you? You guys are famous. Especially in the demon community.”

“‘Community?’” Dean echoed.

“Well it’s not like we get a newsletter or a corporate email or anything,” the demon agreed. “But we hear things. And from what I hear, you boys have a big problem.”

“Oh yeah?” Dean said. “And what would you know about that?”

“You can’t save your friends as well as your dad,” the demon said. “Best you can do is split up. Maybe save a couple of them.”

Dean blinked at her. “How did you—?”

“It’s not magic, Dean,” the demon said. “I overheard you talking when you first came in.”

Dean’s cheeks colored slightly. “Oh,” he stammered. “Okay.”

“So what can you do to help us?” Sam put in. “You seem to know so much. At the most, we can only save two of them. And that’s if we both head off in opposite directions and forget all about saving our dad.”

“Don’t you boys listen?” the demon suddenly burst out, dropping her hands to her hips and all pretence at surrender. “Didn’t you learn anything from your little trip through the looking glass?”

“Uh—” Sam stammered.

“You boys are stronger as a family!” the demon reminded them. “Don’t you see? That bitch Mia’s trying to split you up so she can pick you off one at a time! You know bad things happen when you don’t have each other’s backs!”

Sam glanced surreptitiously at Dean, who he was pretty sure was also wondering whether this woman had somehow bugged their motel room and eavesdropped on the conversation they’d had earlier.

“So why would you want to help us?” Sam finally managed to ask her, pushing Dean’s gun down as he spotted a security guard meandering in their general direction.

Dean caught sight of the elderly guy a second after Sam, quickly stowing his Colt in his waistband, although his hand continued to hover over the grip menacingly.

“Okay,” the demon said, smiling pleasantly at the security guard, who tipped his hat at her before carrying on straight past them. “My name’s Addie. Addie Roberts. Or—y’know—that’s the name of my meatsuit.” She raised an eyebrow. “No way you get to know my real name. Way too much power in that. Look, I’m being straight with you guys. I’m a demon, so it goes without saying I’ve got an agenda. We all do. It just so happens my agenda coincides with yours, otherwise I wouldn’t be seen dead—or whatever—with you guys. I may be a demon, but I’ve got standards.”

“Thanks,” Sam snorted. “Seriously.”

The demon—Addie—ducked her head. “My meatsuit—sorry, my host, she doesn’t like it when I call her a meatsuit—has been working in this library for ten years. Four years ago she found out she had terminal cancer. She had two little kids, both under five. So one day, she’s working down in the basement and she finds a spell book containing a ritual to summon forth a demon, and I was the one who answered the call. Lucky for me, because I hate it Downstairs. Couldn’t wait to be forcibly dragged Topside.

“Anyway, Addie—my host—made a deal with me.”

Sam raised an eyebrow.

“Yes, Sam, one of those deals.”

It was Sam’s turn to blink at her.

“I didn’t want to go back to Hell. Addie didn’t want to die. So in exchange for Addie allowing herself to be possessed indefinitely, I had to make sure she survived. While I couldn’t heal her, I could stop the cancer from spreading, keep Addie alive long enough to see her kids grow up.”

“Wait,” Dean said, holding up a hand. “Let me get this straight. You gave up the happy-go-lucky life of a demon to be a desperate housewife?”

Sam shook his head, suddenly understanding. “Not a desperate housewife,” he said wistfully. “Normal. You wanted normal.

Addie nodded just as wistfully. “I used to be an angel once,” she told them, her eyes momentarily distant. “One of the Fallen, just like your buddy Lucifer. One of those thrown out of Heaven and into the Pit because we wouldn’t bow down before you humans.” She shrugged. “Millennia later, I finally understand what my Father saw in Humanity. Addie gave up her free will, her eternal rest, just so she could be there to guide her children into adulthood. I just want what she has. I just want to be happy. I just want to be normal. A normal, quiet life. Two kids. A husband. A dog. A job I enjoy. The white picket fence and the minivan. The whole nine yards.”

“And Lucifer could destroy all that,” Sam agreed, nodding. “If he succeeds. He could take it all away from you.”

“I didn’t like Hell,” Addie said. “So I really don’t want to see Hell on Earth, which is, I think, Lucifer’s ultimate goal. I like Earth just the way it is, thank you very much. I’m happy. For the first time in two thousand years. I don’t have to listen to screaming souls being torn apart over and over. I don’t have to torture anyone. I don’t have to kill or maim or destroy.” She shrugged her shoulders, gaze suddenly downcast. “It’s the closest I’ve been to Heaven since I Fell.”

There was a pause, when all Sam could hear was the shuffling of Dean’s feet.

“Why should we believe you?” the older brother asked at length. “Demons lie.”

“Yes we do,” Addie agreed. “And if I was in your position, I wouldn’t trust me either.”

“Lady, you ain’t exactly making your case here.”

“All I’m asking is you give me the benefit of the doubt,” Addie continued. “I haven’t lied to you. I haven’t pretended to be human, not like your friend Mia. I’ve laid it all out for you like it is and all I ask in return?” The demon laughed hollowly, shrugging. “All I ask is that you save the world. Not that big of a deal, right?”

Sam couldn’t help his own mirthless snigger. “No, not that big of a deal,” he agreed, as Dean finally took his hand off the grip of his Colt and seemed to relax for the first time in several minutes.

Addie smiled a little lopsidedly at him, nodding her head a fraction before tilting it slightly to one side.

“So,” she said, taking an obviously relieved breath. “You boys want to see the real occult collection?”

* * * *

Now this was more like it, Sam mused, casting his admiring gaze over the rows upon rows of ancient-looking tomes arrayed floor to ceiling all around him.

Addie had led them down to the basement and into a locked room which she was only able to access using an electronic keycard, and now Sam was here he felt a little like a hyperactive kid in a candy store.

“Wow, you guys even have a copy of the Key of Solomon!” he burst out, admiring the large volume, which was in a whole lot better condition than the copy Bobby had given to them, and now lay hidden at the bottom of the Impala’s trunk.

“Bobby Singer’s mighty jealous of this place,” Addie confirmed with a nod, causing Sam to glance up at her, and Dean to frown suspiciously.

“You know Bobby?” Dean asked uncertainly, one brow raised while his fingers returned to hover near the place where he’d secreted his Colt.

“Uh-huh,” Addie confirmed. “He’s been in here a few times. Knows we have one of the best occult collections in the entire continental US.” She grinned conspiratorially, leaning into Dean as she added, “Don’t think he knows he was shown in here by a demon the last two times he visited though.”

A glimmer of a smirk flickered across Dean’s face. “Mr. Greatest Living Demon Expert,” he snickered. “If only he knew.”

“My thoughts exactly,” Addie agreed. “It’d break his heart if I told him. Plus, y’know, I might find myself on the wrong end of the Rituale Romanum.”

“True,” Dean nodded. “The guy’s definitely the fastest exorcist in the West. Except for Sammy here, of course.”

Sam looked up from the book he’d been perusing, only half listening to conversation going on between his brother and his new demon friend.

“It’s all in the tongue,” he told his brother with a rakish grin, which caused Dean to actually snort in return.

“Maybe I should have studied a little harder,” he said. “Might have some real world applications we’d not previously considered.”

Addie had disappeared behind one of the stacks, and chose that moment to poke her head around the corner. “So that half-breed has four of your friends held captive, right?” she asked, scanning along the uppermost shelf with one long finger.

“Yeah,” Sam confirmed. “That about sums it up. We have to get to all four of them by midnight or she’s going to kill them.”

“Okay,” Addie said, selecting a small, unprepossessing volume that had definitely seen better days and laying it on the reading table in front of the Winchesters. “Then this one should do it.”

Sam looked down at the small, black book, the cover of which was embossed in gold leaf with the words, “Darke Spelles.”

“A spell book?” he observed a little skeptically. “Really?”

Dean grimaced in disgust. “You’re not a friggin’ witch on top of bein’ a friggin’ demon are you?” he grumbled.

“The hell I’m not!” Addie burst out. “I actually find them pretty disgusting. All that spitting and blood-letting. Yuck.”

Dean appeared slightly perturbed by the idea of sharing an opinion on anything with a demon. “Uh—yeah,” he managed. “I—yeah. Exactly.”

“Nice to see you two agreeing on something,” Sam teased, causing his brother to scowl at him.

“Okay, this is the spell we need,” Addie was saying, laying the book open and pointing at one of the yellowed pages. “It’s a location and dispersal spell.”

Sam frowned. “Meaning…?”

“Meaning I’m going to use it to pinpoint the exact location of the demons who have your friends and send them back to Hell where they belong.”

Dean blinked. “You can do that?” he asked, sounding more than a little awestruck.

Addie smiled brightly, her eyes once again oiling over into black.

“Oh yes,” she confirmed confidently. “I can do that. But I’m going to need some supplies…”


Best Budget Motel,
Lawrence, KS

“Jesus, it looks like a mini-mart exploded in here,” Dean commented, leaning one shoulder against the motel room door as he surveyed the “supplies” Addie had spread over the floor and both beds.

Sam was standing looking over the girl’s shoulder as she completed the complex pattern she’d been drawing in white chalk on the carpet for the last ten minutes, wiped her hands off on her sensible skirt and finally rose to her feet.

He couldn’t make heads or tails of the design, and he was pretty sure he’d never seen anything like it in any of the spell books he’d read at Bobby’s.

“Guess we’re not getting our deposit back,” Dean muttered, as Addie picked up a bowl full of weird-smelling herbs she’d discarded on the bed prior to ruining the carpet.

“What’s in there?” Sam asked, eyes skimming the remains of plants and flowers, most of which he didn’t recognize, which Addie had discarded all over the other bed as she prepared her concoction.

“Just some stuff,” Addie replied noncommittally. “Herbal stuff,” she added, catching sight of the skeptical frown on Sam’s face. “Don’t worry, I’m not trying to conjure Lucifer into your bathtub or anything.”

“Good,” Dean said with a smirk. “’Cause we don’t have a bathtub. Just a shower stall.”

Addie returned his smirk with one of her own. “Well there’s a stroke of luck, then. Wouldn’t want to disappoint the Big Guy, would we?”

Dean sniggered, and if Sam hadn’t known any better he might have started to think his brother was beginning to like the demon library assistant.

“Okay,” Addie said, carrying the bowl and the spell book into the center of the chalk drawing and taking a breath to compose herself. “Here goes nothing.”

With infinite care, the demon began to read aloud the ritual from the spell book, Sam only catching the odd word here and there as Addie chanted in a language that might have been Latin but could just as easily have been something else entirely.

After a few seconds, Sam noticed Dean suddenly straighten up from his position slumped against the door, the single word, “Sam…?” expressing the concern flooding his features as Addie’s eyes suddenly glazed over completely white.

Sam took a step toward the demon, but stopped abruptly when the chalk pattern surrounding her suddenly began to glow.

“Dude, if she sets fire to the room I’m blaming you, okay?”

Sam scowled. “She’s not going to set fire to the room, Dean,” he reassured his brother, although he found himself suddenly checking out the ceiling for a smoke alarm or sprinklers.

There were neither, which he wasn’t entirely sure he was relieved about.

“What’s she doing, man?” Dean asked, cautiously approaching the demon’s position and tipping his head to one side as he examined the lines glowing around her feet.

After a couple of seconds examining the pattern, he raised one brow and muttered, “Huh,” and Sam was reminded of that time in Chicago when Dean saw a pattern in the blood splatters left by the Daevas on that girl Meredith’s carpet, and found himself wondering what the hell Dean had managed to see this time that he couldn’t.

Taking a step toward his brother, Sam instantly retreated with a startled yelp when a section of the carpet a couple of inches in front of him and off to the demon’s far left suddenly burst into flames.

“Sammy, you’re such a girl,” Dean snickered, causing Sam’s scowl to deepen. “She’s not going to set fire to the room, Dean.”

“I take it back,” Sam returned, trying to remember whether he’d seen a fire extinguisher anywhere in this dive of a motel. “Maybe we should do this someplace else? Outside maybe…?”

Dean ignored him, his attention still fixed on the carpet, where the flames were already burning themselves out. “San Francisco,” he murmured, nodding as he circled the chalk drawing, and Sam tilted his head as his brother had, trying to work out what the hell Dean was seeing.

“One down,” Addie muttered, before returning to her chanting, her eyes still white and her voice not even faltering as she easily switched between languages.

Without warning another section of carpet slightly behind the demon and to her right burst into flames and Dean nodded again, muttering, “Lynchburg,” just as another section ignited just behind where Addie was standing. “And that’d be Broken Bow,” Dean continued with an impressed grin. “Kyle’s place.”

“It’s a map?” Sam burst out, suddenly understanding. “It’s a map of the U.S.?”

“Go to the head of the class, Sammy,” Dean said, just as an area directly in front of Addie caught fire.

“And that’d be Bobby’s,” Sam hazarded. “Sioux Falls, right?”

“Uh-huh,” Dean confirmed. “Pretty damn ingenious. For a demon.”

“I’m so happy you’re impressed,” Addie snarked, her eyes still glazed over.

Dean raised an eyebrow. “That’s it?” he asked her. “You got ’em all?”

“Not quite,” the demon murmured, her brow crinkling slightly in concentration. “Just one more—”

It was Addie’s turn to yelp as the carpet beneath her feet suddenly burst into flames, and she jumped back as her eyes flew open, back to her host’s ordinary warm brown.

“What was that?” Sam demanded, not quite understanding what just happened.

“She’s in Lawrence,” Addie declared, breathing hard as her knees went out from under her, Dean catching her before she could faceplant onto the smoldering carpet.

“Who’s in Lawrence?” the older brother asked, gently guiding the girl to the nearest bed, where she collapsed gratefully, just as Sam’s cellphone began to warble.

Sam fished the phone out of his pocket, mildly surprised by the name appearing on the caller I.D.

“Missouri?”

“You and that no-good brother of yours better get your no-callin’, no-writin’, no-visitin’ asses over here right now, boy,” the psychic’s unmistakable voice bellowed into his ear.

“Missouri, are you okay?” Sam began to ask, but was abruptly cut off by Missouri’s sharp reply.

“No I’m not okay, Sam,” she snapped. “Some skinny white chick just walked into the devil’s trap in my kitchen, and you boys better collect, ’cause I sure as hell don’t deliver…”

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The Winchester Chronicles

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