It was supposed to be a date. And yet Sam felt...disjointed...for lack of a better word whenever he tried talking to Jess. Brady had introduce them, and for a few dates everything was...okay. Normal, he would have to say.

But he was a Hunter, one currently off-the-grid for the moment while he tried his luck at college, and that meant he was hyper-aware of certain facts.

Fact one, while Jess was a nice girl she wouldn't last five minutes in a hunt. Fact two, even if he tried to stay out of it he knew perfectly well that his father and quite possibly his brother would eventually drag him back in. Fact three, Jess hated dogs and was allergic to them, but Sam loved them. Not to mention they had vastly different interests on things he wasn't budging.

Despite the crap he had gone through, he still liked the occult.

And Jess... Jess hated it because she was Catholic.

So after the fourth date, they both conceded the inevitable and went their separate ways.

Sam wondered if he would ever find a girlfriend who wouldn't qualify as a series of one-night stands when he saw her.

A waitress of fire-red hair and equally fiery eyes. Eyes that bespoke of passion, iron and a fierce will to get things done. She wore a pair of earrings that only highlighted her face, despite how big they were...they almost looked like gold. She had a decent bust, but not big enough to give her back problems. She was almost a foot shorter than he was, but then again he had hit a growth spurt when he turned sixteen.

In short she looked like a girl who might make a good girlfriend if one were to put the time and effort into getting to know her...and were willing to put up with her personality.

She was the sort of person Dean might have been interested in, but once he got to know her would run far, far away.

And after the string of bad luck he had with women lately, he was willing to put in the effort to at least see if she was worth it.


"So Sam, have you scored yet with that hot red head you've been seeing or...?" said Brady.

"Her name is Lily, and no. I don't even think she knows I exist," said Sam.

He had started to frequent the bar she worked at whenever it was her shift. Sure it drained his cash pretty quick, but at least he got to see her.

Brady laughed.

Later that night

Sam was about to leave sight of the bar when a familiar face appeared. It was Lily.

"You've been at that bar every night on my shift for the past two weeks. I want to know why," she said flatly.

"Uh..."

Sam couldn't admit he was interested in her. And the abrupt way she confronted him would scare a lot of people off. Seeing her patiently waiting for an explanation, Sam realized this was his best chance.

"I guess I wasn't as subtle as I thought I was," he admitted, slightly embarrassed.

"Ya think?" she replied, amusement in her voice now. "So what brought you to the bar I work with every night for two straight weeks?"

Sam decided to take the plunge.

"You," he admitted.

"Me?"

She sounded honestly baffled.

Her mind seemed to take a moment to process this.

"You mean to tell me you've be coming here for the past two weeks because...you like me?"

"Let me guess, you have a boyfriend already," said Sam. He had hoped his attempts to get to know her wouldn't be in vain.

"No, it's just you're the only one brave enough to actually admit you're interested in me for a very long time. Most guys generally don't want to go out with someone who can kick their ass or isn't very lady like," she said honestly.

Hell, just seeing her demolish a buffet is usually enough to put guys off. That is, if seeing her eat a small village's worth of fish whenever they went camping didn't do it.

"I can't believe no one's asked you out before," said Sam.

"I'm not. Generally speaking most of the idiots who come to the bar just want to get into my pants, and those that don't tend to get put off by my eating habits or my personality."

She wasn't about to let some guy take over and take charge. She preferred to be in control, as she was used to Gourry's passive personality and the way he generally let her lead. And the few passive guys she had met couldn't fight their way out of a wet paper bag and had looked at her strangely for trying to teach them how to fight. It was ridiculous!

Sam had the sudden impression of a red haired female Dean, only one that didn't drink like a horse or hump everything in sight. This was someone who was used to being the dominate one in the relationship, and who wouldn't give control that easily unless there was a damn good reason for it. But at the same time he also could tell that her loyalty was unquestioned and she was more of a fighter than anything.

"So...do you want to go out some time?" he asked hopefully.

"You know that buffet down on at..."

Sam nodded.

"Meet me there on Friday at 8. We can get to know each other a bit more then. Oh, and by the way Lily isn't actually my name. It's just the one I use to keep people from looking me up."

"What is your name?"

"Lina."


"You finally managed to score a date with the 'red-haired hottie'?" said Brady. He slapped Sam's shoulder. "Way to go Sam!"

"She seemed honestly shocked that I was even interested. Now if you'll excuse me I have a date on Friday."

"Where?"

"That buffet place next to the coffee house. Though I think she was joking about wearing a disguise in order to get in."

Brady blinked, before he remembered an odd comment he had heard from one of the servers about a red haired chick eating them out of house and home whenever she showed up and charging her double.

"This chick you're trying to get a date out wouldn't happen to wear a diamond pendant that looks like a weird star would she?"

"Yeah, why?"

"I've heard things about her. She's considered the buffet destroyer because she goes in and practically eats everything there," said Brady.

Sam blinked.

"Seriously?"

"I overheard some of the servers at that all-you-can-eat Chinese place talking about it. Something about how she only goes to buffets because it's cheaper than anywhere else."

Weird, but fortunately it did ease some of his worries about her being a demon or something. He only knew of humans who could eat like that, and they were competitive eaters.

Sam got ready and left for the buffet. When he found Lina, she really was wearing a disguise, though not a very good one.

She seemed pleased he actually showed up.

Once they were seated, the first he had to ask was if she really was a buffet destroyer.

Lina blushed, though it was more out of mild embarrassment.

"You know how certain activities eat up calories like crazy?"

Sam's mind drifted to hunting and how after certain cases he was hungry enough to eat two pizzas on his own. He nodded.

"I practice certain arts that pretty much mean I'll never have to worry about being fat, but as a consequence give me a stomach almost as efficient as a competitive eater," said Lina.

Honestly she didn't know what they were complaining about. She learned her lesson after the first time she got chased out of a buffet line, and at least she learned to space out her food so she got the maximum impact and didn't gross out everyone else. Hell, the reason she became a waitress was because she had figured out how to balance the plates on her arms without spilling a thing.

The only reason she picked a bar was so she wasn't tempted to eat everything and she had ready access to combustible materials. Molotov cocktails were extremely useful at causing damage.

While Sam raised an eyebrow at the large number of plates (she used the same one at least five times in order to disguise how much she was actually eating, another useful trick) he wasn't horrified. Honestly, he had seen far more disturbing things than someone eating that much.

The two of them quickly shared horror stories about their respective older siblings (Lina had an older sister named Luna) and the crap they each put them through as a kid and developed an easy rhythm together. It felt nice, and aside from a few odd quirks she wasn't nearly as bad as he had feared.

She was odd, but rather fun to be around. So when he offered to take her out to a rather interesting fireworks show to celebrate the recent victory over another school at football (Sam didn't really follow sports that much) she took him up on it.

They simply clicked.

Lina was aggressive, brash, and very much a firecracker, but one that would remain loyal to you as long as you were loyal to her. Sam was passive-aggressive and perfectly fine with someone else being the dominate one in the relationship so long as they let him do things at his own pace and didn't try to smother him like Dean had. But at the same time he wasn't so passive-aggressive that he didn't know how to use the gun he had in his sock drawer.

That seemed to be the main reason Lina agreed to date him...he owned knives and knew how to use the damn things without cutting himself in the process, yet at the same time he was perfectly willing to let her do things her way without trying to take control.

Because while Lina wasn't abusive or controlling, she did enjoy a certain amount of freedom without any strings to tie her down. Things that a guy took for granted, but at the same time balked if a woman did them. He knew for a fact his brother wouldn't have let Lina do her thing without looking at her sideways.

Like how she always kept her knives sharp or left most of her actual possessions in a storage locker whenever she set up shop, or how she followed certain commodities. Specifically jewels. And while she was a pagan, she was one that kept her faith discreet.

Sam honestly thought she was a Wiccan, though not one that had a coven. It would explain why some of the occult things he found in her house (he had moved in with her three months in, having realized she was the best he was likely to get without completely losing his hunter's edge) wouldn't look out of place at Bobby's house.


Lina and Sam were an almost perfect couple. She worked at the bar and took the odd class at the college, while he studied law. She was unusually well aware of the oddest laws in the books that even he had never heard of. The only weird thing was that she didn't like Brady, and was unusually fascinated by monster movies. Though she couldn't stand Twilight. Too fake for her tastes, especially the vampire-werewolf debate. Sam agreed wholeheartedly. None of the vampires or werewolves he hunted would tamely allow the other side to live so close.

Lina seemed surprised, then very pleased that Sam actually knew how to bless water like in the movies, and Sam once caught her trying it out like some sort of weird spell one night while having a midnight snack raid.

Sam said nothing the next morning, but it was still there. The fact she listened to him on matters of the occult.

And the protection amulet she gave him for Christmas. It was similar to the one she had around her neck, except instead of diamond it was an emerald. He wondered how much she had to spend in order to get it, or how she found one that had such a fascinating cut.

Either way she claimed to have blessed it with the agreement of 'The Lady' which he thought was code for the moon goddess Selene or something. He didn't really care, and he had seen weirder.

Like the looks Brady shot the amulet when he thought Sam wasn't looking. Looks that had Sam itching to take some salt and 'accidentally' spill it on his best friend. Quite a few things reacted badly to the seemingly innocent substance, and you could carry it with you without drawing any attention.

But if Brady was giving him a bad feeling, then Lina's old friend Xellos (and wasn't that a weird name, but he looked pretty foreign so that was okay) gave him a downright bad vibe all around. The thing was that he could sense Xellos had little interest in Sam or in humans in general except to annoy them by offering tantalizing tidbits of information, then claiming it was all a secret. Highly annoying, but not overtly dangerous. Even Lina admitted that she only trusted Xellos because she knew she couldn't really trust him unless he had an agenda that happened to coincide with whatever she was doing. And even then, he wouldn't be too helpful because of it.

Helpful, but not so much that you could always count on it. It was surprisingly comforting to know that right off the bat, instead of finding out the hard way.


Dean's return in Sam's life coincided with a week before Sam planned to propose. Lina wasn't perfect, but she was infinitely easier to live with than Jess was. They just clicked.

That being said it could have gone a lot better than how Lina reacted to Dean breaking into her house at three in the morning.

"HOLY SHIT!"

Dean had right to swear, considering Lina damn near gelded him with a knife between the legs. He had actually fallen on his ass the second he saw it flying towards him.

She had a second knife, which was more of a long curved dagger, in her right hand and fully prepared to fight.

"Dean?"

"Sam? What the hell man?"

"You broke into her house. You deserve anything you get if you're that stupid," shrugged Sam.

Lina hated thieves (well actually she said something about bandits but he translated it to thieves) so anyone dumb enough to break into their house when they were trying to sleep earned anything she came up with in retaliation.

"Sam, who is this?" asked Lina a little too sweetly. He barely refrained from shuddering.

"This is Dean, my older brother."

"The man-whore Dean?" she said raising an eyebrow.

Dean shot him an annoyed look, which he shrugged off with ease.

"Why are you here Dean?"

"I need your help. Dad's gone missing and he refuses to answer my calls," said Dean.

"Dad's gone missing before. For weeks in fact," said Sam tersely.

"Not like this."

"I'm sure he's fine."

"He skipped out on a hunt Sam. The last I heard from him he was leaving the rest to me. When has he ever done that?" countered Dean.

"What was he hunting?" asked Lina, having patiently listened.

Dean shared a look with his brother.

"Maybe we should finish this in private."

"No. Whatever you've got to tell me can be told to Lina. I trust her."

More like he suspected she knew about hunters, but hadn't thought to bother to see if Sam was one or just knew about them as well.

"Fine. Dad was after what I think was a ghost, but I have no idea what kind. All I got out of the last call he gave was some EVP."

"EVP?"

"Electronic Voice Phenomena. Sometimes you can get a ghost's voice on something recording audio," explained Sam.

While Lina was very self-sufficient, she was somewhat out of touch when it came to technology. Her stove was gas for crying out loud, and if not for Sam she wouldn't be able to do more than use the bare bones of a computer outside of putting in orders. However if you threw her into the older stuff she took to it like a fish to water.

"Look, can you help me figure out where dad went or not?"

"I can't. I have an interview on Monday..." started Sam, but Lina cut him off.

"Will this trip take more than a few days to get back?"

"It's less than a day's full drive to get to, so no," said Dean.

"Lina?"

"Go. I can handle a few days without you here and I know you'll never forgive yourself if something happened to your dad and you only found out second-hand. Besides, from the sound of it your brother actually misses you enough to track you down, despite the fact you never gave him your new address."

Sam kept forgetting to file his address with the college, and most of his mail went to a P.O. Box anyway because he once had his apartment mail broken into twice.

So Sam reluctantly went with Dean. At least living with Lina had kept his skills at using knives sharp, even if she actually had to correct his grip several times because she kept disarming him with the wooden ones when they sparred on the weekends.

She hated having a boyfriend who didn't know how to use a bloody knife properly, so coming across Sam had been a pleasant surprise, even if he didn't know how to hold it right, by her standards.

"So who was the red haired babe?"

"My girlfriend. Who I am seriously thinking of proposing to very soon."

Dean blinked twice.

"Seriously?"

"She's more interesting than half the girls on campus and she didn't give me the fish eye because I own a knife. Besides, I'm fairly certain the only downside is that she's a Wiccan."

"How can you tell?"

"She knows home remedies a little too well, she uses a common ritual dagger for something as common as cutting up vegetables, and she prays to someone she calls 'The Lady' whenever she's had a trying day. Not to mention how heavily she's in the occult."

"Not a witch?"

"Definitely not. She took one look at the list of things inside a basic revenge hex bag and set the thing on fire stating there were easier ways to get back at someone without having to rely on questionable ingredients. Though the way she looked at me after she saw that said that if I brought anything like them into her house again I might be introduced to some of those ways before I was kicked to the curb."

Dean winced.

"Which one?"

"Freshly ground remains from a newborn infant that was murdered," winced Sam.

"Gross. Still, at least you know she's okay with you being a hunter."