A normal year has maybe four or five demonic possessions, and that's a strong maybe. This year alone I've heard of twenty-seven so far.

Sam died and was brought back, but now Dean's own time is ticking because of his idiotic deal.

I've worked bigger cases lately and it's taking a toll on me.

"Playing with demons now?"

My head sharply turns to where his voice comes from.

"Since when haven't I?" I close my trunk and double check the inside of my coat pocket. "If you don't mind, I have a job here."

"Can't mix business with pleasure?"

My boots pound against the wet asphalt and towards the oddly ominous blue house. I halt as Gabriel tugs on my jacket sleeve. The entire property has a negative energy. The air feels electric like a fatal spark could appear on the grounds. The look on Gabriel's face says exactly what he's thinking.

"The owners want their house blessed."

Gabriel makes an "oh" sound, nods his head and continues to listen.

"They're in no position to move, the house is continuing to get worse, so— ", I exhale, "I'm their next best bet."

"No pressure."

"Aha. Right."

He grins before looking over the house again. It's apparent something dark is at play. The few plants on the property have given up any attempt at grasping to life.

"This looks a little out of your league. No offense, sugar."

Ouch. I take offense.

"I didn't go to school for nothing."

"Wait, what?" His brows furrow and he steps in front of me.

"I was schooled in the fine arts of pastoral studies and blessings, my friend."

"Whoa, whoa, pump the breaks now. Seriously?"

I turn, pop the trunk open, and pull away some trap covers. A framed associates degree sits under boxes of ammo, worn bibles, and excess junk.

Gabriel takes this moment in. He studies the frame. His eyes look at every detail before him. He looks back to the necklace around my neck. There is a shift as he shuffles back to fully look at me differently. I ignore it, close my trunk, and turn my attention back to the house.

"You're a big hitter, aren't ya? Got some powerful religious mojo hidden away."

Normally, I'm all for jokes and side remarks. Hell, that's what gotten me through the majority of my life so far. Right now I'm all nerves. It's weird that Gabriel can't easily read that. I'm worried about dealing with a demonic presence this dark by myself.

I'm too stubborn to ask for Jonah's help, Sam and Dean have their own problems.

"Hey—", Gabriel sputters out quickly and grabs my arm.

"What?" I snap and pull myself together. Calm and relaxed is what I need right now. I clear my throat and speak softer, "I'm just on edge."

"Then ditch this place! Come on, I have a great set up right now. A little witness protection is what you need."

My head bobbles slightly, "I'm sorry, what?"

He takes a sharp breath, "anyone can handle this. They can call someone in the phonebook for this. You shouldn't deal with it." He sticks his tongue out and waves a dismissive hand.

"These people have known me for years. They know my family."

"…And?"

"And they know the Knights are good on their word!"

A pop is sounded by the house. A crack in a front window is now visible. Gabriel frowns.

"Look, I said I'd handle this and I will. I may be keeping a distance from my brother but…I'm not just going to jump off the grid completely. I lived in this town my freshmen year of high school. I'm not going to just ignore this case."

"Okay, I get it, you're a big and bad hunter. You're book smart, you got the brains and the bod. These little demons, they live for that. You have no idea what you're getting into."

I narrow my eyes at him. He rolls his eyes at me before continuing.

"Even a trickster keeps up with how horrible the demon to human ratio is nowadays. You gotta learn when to walk away."

"Tch. That's where we differ." His eyes swirl at my response. I turn back and continue my walk to the front door. It feels long and draining.

"Oh, sugar, you're playing with fire. Don't call me when you want back up!"

The first part of his sentence is spoken more to himself, so I don't struggle to try and make it out. The second is clear as day. But I still don't turn back.

Sweat, sore muscles, and a tired body. It sounds like a good time, but it was not.

My clothes have blood stains on them, some obviously my own and a few from Tiffany. A demonic presence turned into a possession. The demon inside her put up the worst fight I've dealt with.

"Let us get you to a hospital." Natalie pleads for the fourth time.

"God, Liv, you look horrible," Tiffany speaks slowly. She looks like a mess as well, her excuse being there was once a demon making her home. A reasonable excuse.

"Eh, I'm still a catch. I'll be fine. Really."

I collect my things. I'm helped out to my jeep. Pain adrenaline is my best friend. The engine revs and Tiffany calls out just as I'm about to peel off.

I drive home in a hazy state. I want to ignore the past eight hours of my life. Shrugging my jacket off, the reality of my damage is felt. A thick coat of blood from my shoulder blade is smeared against my seat.

In my head, I'm compiling a list of books for Dean and Sam to look into. I'm making a list of what Bobby will need for spells. I'm thinking of how many warning signs Jonah must have had about this Lilith and Dean thing.

"How many phone calls did I ignore?"

Managing to get out of my jeep and inside my little motel room amazes me. Every step is heavy and hard. I can still hear my phone buzzing from the continuous calls from people. My entire head is in full spin.

My keys jingle in attempting to open my door.

On my fifth attempt, the door swings open. I shut and lock it immediately. I begin to scramble around the room to find everything I need. My battery is low and suddenly, Gabriel's witness protection doesn't sound so bad.

"Ah!" I wince at the peroxide on my shoulder blade. Looking in the mirror only causes me to see how bad I truly look. A stab wound on the right shoulder blade, cut on my left temple, bruises all over. "Definitely not my cleanest case..." I try to not move my shoulder as I leave the bathroom to grab the few first aid supplies from my bag.

Turning from my bag on the bed, Gabriel is suddenly in my path to the bathroom. My muscles tense quickly and I wince at the pain before cursing and biting my lip.

"You can't do that! You can't just pop in like that." Exhaling, I leave toward the bathroom to sew my very much open wound.

"What happened?" His voice is soft but urgent, I can't help but cock an eyebrow at him. His presence is demanding like he has an automatic right to be here despite not having seen me in some time prior to earlier. He asks me again with brows furrowed and soft eyes that swirl with worry and a horrible spark of anger. "What happened, who did this?"

His eyes follow my hurt movements as I study my shoulder in the mirror again.

"It was a rough case," my gaze leaves the mirror when I see I left cotton balls on my bed. I turn and to leave the bathroom to grab them. Gabriel watches me, closer than he normally does. His pained expression causes me to feel bad when I did nothing wrong, it's not my fault I got beat up on the job. "It happens." I attempt to shrug my shoulders as I turn towards the bathroom again.

My path is blocked by Gabriel. His face still so worried, he brings a hand to my forehead.

A wave is sent through me. It's a strange feeling and something I don't try too hard to place. I feel rested and the throbbing pain from my cut is absent. My right shoulder rolls slightly, to see if the pain is actually gone. And it is! I let my hand slide across the shoulder blade, prepared to feel a gash, but there's just smooth skin.

I hurry towards the bathroom just to look in the mirror again. My eyes meet not a cut, or blood, but just smooth skin. I continue to run my hand over it while moving my shoulder. The cut on my temple is gone, too. My mouth opens, trying to gather words while Gabriel paces around for a bit.

"Uh, I don't," my head shakes as I try to grasp what type of trick this could be, what's the catch? "What did you do, exactly?" I step out of the bathroom and Gabriel finally pauses his pacing to look at me.

"If you're ever in a situation like that, call me. I'll smite down whatever is in your path. I should have just tagged along."

My eyebrows raise and my mouth gapes somewhat at his word choice.

"I'm serious." He nods at me.

A laugh or a scoff leaves my mouth, I'm not sure, "You ditch me and you just pop in, literally out of nowhere, place your hand on me like some...healer doing God's work. And you want me to call you whenever I'm in a situation?"

He doesn't say anything. He stands in front of me, not moving, arms crossed.

"I've had a lot lately." He sees my cocked eyebrow and hurriedly adds onto his short explanation, "there's a lot happening that certain people shouldn't be involved in." Again, it's too short of an explanation for me. He snaps slightly, "It's more than a hunter should get involved with, please, leave it at that."

There's silence after I sigh in defeat. I trust him, oddly enough. There's just that automatic bond there and I trust my gut with it. I'm not getting any more information from him.

"We're both running from things we're trying is distance ourselves from. I get that, okay. I just know-" my words are cut short as he takes my hands in his. He lifts them and kisses my once bruised and bloody knuckles. "What are you—?"

"I just know I don't want to see you in that condition." He turns my hands to kiss my wrists before allowing my arms to fall down to my side, "I should have been there."

This moment is soft and I wish for it to last longer. It reminds me of when he walked me home, teased and begged for the night not to end on the doorstep.

Something flashes in his eyes, whether it's a memory, the thought of seeing my beat up self, or something else entirely. It's a moment of panic. He gathers me in his arms in one quick motion. It's a tight hug where he rests his head in the crook of my neck. He breathes in deeply before exhaling and looking me straight in the eyes, "Do you have any Halloween plans?"

"You're the worst. That was a nice, genuine moment."

I shrug him off and he follows, "What? The freaks come out at night, you need a partner to watch your back!"


Authors Note:

Whoa, an update. I'm still kickin'. And still love you all. c: Happy Halloween!

Simply-Colleen