Author's Note: Here's a big chapter for you guys. Hope you like it. I'm sure someone is looking forward to it. Comment!
Dean took Holly to her room and laid her on her bed. She was still hurting, that much was obvious. She was pale, almost ashen. Gus moved over to hover near her face. "Holly? You're going to be okay now."
Dean started pulling Holly's boots off of her. A boot knife fell with a thud to the floor. He left it and reached for her bloody, torn flannel shirt and light jacket. He glanced at her and saw her head roll to the side with closed eyes. "Hey Holly! Holly!" Dean reached over and tapped her face. "Gotta stay awake, sweetheart."
"You think it's a concussion?" Gus asked. Holly's eyes opened and she was watching Dean.
"Oh yeah" Dean replied. He unbuttoned her shirt front, then unbuttoned her shirt cuffs so they wouldn't catch. He looked at Holly and gave her a smile. "I'm just going to put you in clean clothes, okay?"
Holly made a noise and silent tears slid from the corners of her eyes. Dean was careful to slip her right arm out of her shirt and jacket at the same time; he stopped when it came to the left. Dean made a face when he noticed her left arm. It was definitely broken, but at least it wasn't poking through the skin. He was extra careful, but that didn't stop Holly from crying out.
"Gus, would you let Cas know that Holly has a majorly broken arm?" Dean asked. Gus looked at Holly before leaving the bedroom. Under other circumstances, Dean would have appreciated the black bra trimmed in lace, instead he tried a little humor. "You know, if you wanted me to get you undressed, all you had to do was ask."
Holly moved her good arm up and placed her hand over her face to try to hide her crying. Dean quieted and worked on getting her jeans off. Just as he was slow and careful with her shirt, he was with her jeans. Her legs weren't broken, but they were covered in dark bruises and blood. Her torso and arms were bruised. Whatever took her for a drag apparently hadn't cared in the slightest about her. Her bloody, torn jeans were tossed aside with her shirt.
"So what happened out there?" Dean asked. He started going through her drawers until he found her sweatpants and an oversized t-shirt.
"Pulled through the forest" Holly whispered. Dean got the sweatpants over her feet and worked them up to her waist. "I don't remember most of it."
"Yeah, I think you took a pretty good hit to the head" Dean said.
"Dean" Castiel said from the doorway. He came in with Gus. "I was told that Holly has a broken arm."
"Left arm" Dean said. Castiel looked down at Holly, then focused on her arm. Castiel let his fingers brush her arm until he found the break. He focused and his hands glowed. Dean sat on the bed and smiled down at Holly. "You're in good hands with Cas. He pulled my ass out of Hell."
"Saves your butt a lot?" Holly asked weakly. Her eyes were glazed over and she was simply looking in Dean's general direction.
"I was talking about actual Hell, but yeah, he's save my butt more times than I'd like to admit" Dean told her. Dean looked at Castiel; his friend looked tired, but that was probably from an exertion of his power. The angel released Holly's arm and stood up.
"The bones are fixed" Castiel said. He looked down at Holly and smiled.
Dean watched as the angel's eyes glanced down to Holly's bra. "Cas!" Castiel looked up at Dean with a tilt to his head. "C'mon man. Be cool."
"I've been told that black underwear means-" Castiel said.
"OKAY!" Dean interrupted. He jerked a thumb to the door. "Maybe just go let Sam know that she's okay. I'm going to help Holly get a shirt on and maybe find a glass of water."
"I am glad that we found you" Castiel told Holly as he left the room.
"Are you thirsty? I can arrange for a glass of water from the tall Winchester" Gus said to Holly. She nodded and Gus hurried out to find Sam.
"Have you ever considered giving that guy an actual body?" Dean asked. He slipped the shirt over Holly's head. She moved her good arm through one arm hole and let Dean help her with the other arm, despite it being fixed. It throbbed and ached.
"I don't know of any daimons ever having human form" Holly said softly. "Help me sit up." Dean moved to hold one of her hands while he wrapped an arm around her back to help her up. Holly hissed at the pain from her side and quickly moved a hand to her ribs. "My ribs."
Dean took advantage of his place next to Holly and reached up to touch her head. He could feel a sizeable lump under her hair. "Looks like you have a good lump going on. I should find you some painkillers."
"If you give me a minute, I'll be downstairs" Holly muttered. She moved to stand up and doubled over, dry heaving. Dean was next to her, holding her hair back.
"Whoa there killer" Dean said. He ushered her slowly to the bathroom. "Definitely a concussion. I haven't seen one this bad since Sam got his ass kicked by a hipster werewolf outside of Denver."
In the bathroom, Dean set Holly on the plush rug that was outside the tub and in front of the toilet. She was on her knees, still dry heaving over the toilet. Dean went through the medicine cabinet and found a bottle of advil. Holly's dry heaves were subsiding.
"I don't remember if it's okay to take advil when you have a concussion" Dean said out loud. Would he take them in her condition? Yes. Simple. He unscrewed the cap and took two tablets out. "I think you'll be okay with two of these, but you can't be dry heaving or it's just going to come back up."
"Here's a glass of water" Sam said from the doorway. Sam's face showed his worry. "Everything okay?"
"She took a good hit to the head. She's covered in bruises and blood, probably a fractured rib" Dean replied. Holly took as deep of a breath as she could manage with her ribs and moved away from the toilet.
"Holly, do you think you could stomach some toast or something?" Sam asked. "It would help with the advil."
"Sure" Holly replied. Sam went to busy himself with making toast or something that would help her stomach. Dean took a wash rag from a bathroom shelf and soaked it in warm water. He knelt down and started cleaning her face.
"You're pretty dirty" Dean told her. He chuckled at the double entendre and let her take the rag from him.
"I'm surprised you have any sort of bedside manner" Holly said. She tried standing up and was relieved when Dean helped pull her to her feet.
"You think I'm some sort of hard ass?" Dean asked.
Holly gave him a small smile. Dean took the rag and slowly wiped at the dirt on her neck. She looked at herself in the mirror. "I look terrible."
"You could crawl out of a swamp and still look good" Dean told her. He gave her a big smile. She took some stumbling steps past him, almost out of the bathroom. "It's a compliment." Dean watched her stop and brace herself with a hand on the wall. He moved to help her out. "You can't make it downstairs by yourself, but good try-"
There was a pounding on the front door that seemed to echo through the chalet. Holly froze. The pounding came again. Holly looked at the exterior walls. They shimmered just the tiniest bit.
"Demons" Holly whispered to Dean. "They can't break my wards."
"Sam!" Dean shouted. "Demons!"
Downstairs, Sam had a handgun pulled from the bag Dean had dropped and was trying to glance out the front window without being notice. Castiel was at the back door with his angel blade ready.
"Cas" Sam called out. "They can't come up to the door."
"They appear to not be allowed on the deck either" Castiel replied. "I have two back here."
"I just have one" Sam told him. Sam took a deep breath and opened the door. He was ready with his gun. "Excuse me, but I'm going to have to ask you to leave, lady."
Amelia looked ready for a fight. She dragged her fingers down the invisible barrier. Her red hair and red lipstick were a burst of color in the dark of night. "Winchester."
"I'm only going to tell you one more time. Get lost" Sam said firmly.
"Just give us Holly" Amelia negotiated. "You'll never see us again."
"I'm not really in the habit of handing people over to demons" Sam replied. "Why do you want her?"
"I'm not really in the habit of sharing plans with hunters" Amelia answered. She hit the barrier and stepped back.
"Get going" Sam ordered. Amelia smiled at the younger Winchester and stepped back to sit on the hood of Holly's blue car.
"Which one are you?" Amelia asked. She looked like she could don sunglasses and be lounging alongside a pool.
"Sam" Sam told her. Amelia gave him a big smile.
"Oooh, Sam" Amelia said. "I've heard about you." Sam looked around, expecting others to jump out or something to happen. "You share a special bond with some pretty important people."
"What's it to you?" Sam asked. Behind Sam, through the open door, Dean appeared with a gun in hand. She looked him over, appreciating his form.
"You must be the other Winchester" Amelia said. "I'm Amelia."
She held her hand out for a shake, but neither brother passed the barrier. Dean looked around, taking in the surrounding driveway. It seemed to be clear.
"Who's this?" Dean asked.
"She wants Holly" Sam told him.
"You work for Saxer?" Dean asked. Amelia moved to stand in front of the blue car.
"You have some blood on your shirt, Dean" Amelia said indicating a bloody spot on his stomach. She looked between the brothers. "How's dear Holly doing? That's not her blood, is it?"
"She's better than you're about to be" Dean grumbled. Amelia put her hands up. They heard the back door of the chalet open and close. Sam risked a look behind him and saw Castiel wiping off his angel blade.
"The backdoor demons are disposed of" Castiel announced from the front door. Amelia's face turned to a glaring frown.
"Cas, this here is Amelia" Dean said. "You know her?"
"No" Castiel replied. He walked over to stand next to his friends. "We heard about raising Andras."
"Is that so?" Amelia said.
"You won't succeed" Castiel told her. Amelia's smile returned and she slowly backed up towards her car.
"I'll see you three again" Amelia said opening the driver-side door. She looked over at Sam. "Call me, Sam. I wouldn't mind riding that ride."
They waited for her to drive off. She seemed to take her time. As soon as she was definitely gone, Dean turned to his brother. "Were you flirting with her?"
"What? No!" Sam said. "I was about ready to put her down."
Dean walked back into the chalet shaking his head and muttering something about his brother and demons. Castiel turned and looked at Sam. "You really shouldn't flirt with them, Sam."
"I didn't do any flirting" Sam rebuked. Castiel was already heading for the cottage. Sam followed and made sure the door was locked.
"The warding on this chalet is quite strong" Castiel said. He followed Dean into the living room. "Holly is quite powerful if she can do this, but it tastes wrong."
"Tastes wrong?" Dean repeated. "You can taste wardings?"
"It makes my mouth tingle" Castiel told him. "It's like raw power." Castiel smiled. "I don't taste it often with humans."
Dean headed for the stairs. "Yeah, well glad she amuses you."
"You left her upstairs?" Castiel asked. Dean just headed up to her room. Holly's bedroom door was open.
"We took care of things" Dean announced. Gus was hovering over a book that was on the bed next to Holly.
"I've been watching her" Gus said. Dean went over to check on her. "I thought Castiel could fix all of her wounds."
"He doesn't have all of his grace" Dean said. Holly was awake, but she was just laying there. Her face clearly told Dean that she was not amused and that she was exhausted. "Want to come watch a movie or something?"
"No" Holly said. A page in the open book turned and Dean glanced at the floating skull.
"I'll watch her through the night" Gus told him. "Her aura took a hit, but she's on the mend."
"You can see her aura?" Dean asked. "Can you see mine?"
"Yes" Gus replied. Dean waited for more from the skull.
"And?" Dean prompted.
"And what?" Gus asked. "You're fine, aside from being a bit of a dick."
Dean stood up and looked down at Holly, who was trying to stifle a smile. "You might want to reconsider your nurse." Dean stood up straight and narrowed his eyes at the skull. "I'm taking the high road here. Gus, you can suck it."
As soon as Dean was gone Gus spoke. "If you want Nurse Winchester back, let me know." Holly cracked a smile and chuckled. "Music?"
"Yes" Holly said.
"Lord Andras" Leon said in a commanding tone while staring into a black full length mirror. "My lord, we have gathered the consecrated seal and your great sword. The promised one has evaded us, but we know where she resides."
The mirror shimmered and looked as if it held black water. Leon Saxer stood before the mirror attired in his suit and robe with his hands bleeding onto a sigil of Andras. Leon would have stroked his pointed beard, but that would have broken his focus.
"Your duties" An angelic voice finally said before an image appeared in the black mirror. "Were to bring me all three items."
"Yes, my lord" Leon replied. "I was hoping that you would accept the two and perhaps assist in her capture. She has surrounded herself with protectors that have killed several of my men."
The handsome man in the mirror, Andras, narrowed his dark eyes at Leon Saxer. Andras could easily be considered beautiful in a pre-Raphaelite manner with long wavy auburn brown hair, aquiline nose, and a slight wildness to his face. Leon Saxer was sure that Andras would have been a revered model for Rosetti or Courbet.
"Who are her protectors?" Andras asked with a twitch to his lip.
"Two men named Winchester" Leon said. Andras raised an eyebrow. "And the angel Castiel."
"I've heard of them" Andras replied. Andras looked amused and a smile slowly spread across his face. "To kill the Winchesters, what an amusing thought." Leon watched as Andras raised a groomed hand and pushed against the glass until he began walking through. "I am quite amused, Saxer."
Midnight dragged around in the chalet. Sam had gone to bed an hour earlier, leaving Dean and Castiel to watch television and browse through Holly's collection of books. Dean had a pile of books near his feet, propped up on a coffee table, and a few empty beer bottles next to them. Castiel had changed into the sweatpants and t-shirt that Holly had provided for him the night before.
"You should change into something comfortable, Dean" Castiel said. They had a German cop show on. It was...dry.
"I might just go hit the hay pretty soon" Dean replied. He had taken his boots off, but that was it. His shirt was still stained with Holly's blood. Castiel was sitting cross-legged on the couch while hugging a pillow to himself. He looked over at Dean.
"You look tense, Dean" Castiel remarked. "There's a hot tub on the deck. Holly showed me last night." Dean looked over at his friend. "We could use it."
"I didn't bring trunks" Dean said. The thought of a hot tub sounded nice.
"We can be naked in a hot tub" Castiel replied. "It's done all the time."
"Dude, I am not getting naked with you in a hot tub unless there is a damn good reason" Dean replied.
"It would be relaxing" Castiel remarked with a calm shrug. The stairs creaked and they cast glances to their right. Holly was coming down the stairs in a slightly disjointed manner with Gus' skull resting on her head.
"Hey, Holly" Dean said. "Feeling better?"
"That's not Holly" Castiel said standing up. Dean followed Castiel's lead and stood up. Holly came down the stairs looking almost like a marionette and took a seat on the couch. She looked over at Dean and Castiel. Her eyes were white.
"Good evening, boys" Gus' voice greeted from Holly's mouth. "Just moving Holly down here. She's doing better, but I need you to watch her for a few hours."
"Did she allow you to drive?" Dean asked. One hand was clenched into a fist.
"Of course" Gus replied. Holly slumped back into the couch and the skull floated up the stairs.
"Holly?" Castiel asked. Dean moved to sit next to her, making sure she was okay. Holly came to as if she was waking up from a dream.
"Hey" Holly said with a smile.
"Hey" Dean replied. "Did you give that goon permission to bring you down here?"
"Yeah. He insisted that I not be alone" Holly said. Dean looked over at Castiel. He was met with a concerned look. "Did he scare you?"
"We were concerned for your safety" Castiel told her.
"He wouldn't have left if you weren't here and awake" Holly said. "But at midnight he leaves for a little bit."
"What do you mean, he leaves for a little bit?" Dean asked. Holly shrugged.
"I don't know" Holly said. "Maybe he goes around the world. Maybe he terrorizes the local squirrels. He just gets a little freedom, then he comes back."
"I have a multitude of questions" Castiel said. Holly stood up and stretched. It was a slow rising with obvious aches and pains, but it was done without assistance.
"You guys have my books all askew" Holly said picking up the stack of books that Dean had left piled on the coffee table.
"I was going to get those" Dean said. Holly moved over to the bookcase and started putting the books away.
"Yeah, right" Holly replied. She held up an old, partially rotted leather bound book and turned to the two on the couch. "You were looking through the 'Formicarius'? Could you even read it?"
"I...uh…" Dean muttered.
Holly shelved the book with a silent 'hmph'. "It's a $46,000 book. Next time, maybe keep the beer away from it."
"Hey, Sweetheart" Dean snapped. "We've been trying to figure out this shit storm that you got us into. I think your nerdy book there can take five minutes off the shelf."
Dean was met with narrowed eyes sporting a deadly glare. The short, dark-haired woman stepped over to him.
"She is not happy, Dean" Castiel whispered to his friend. Dean kept quiet and returned the glare.
"Okhat aet d'eanaa" Holly finally said. She held her left hand out towards the stairs. Castiel watched a circular thing move through the air, from upstairs, into Holly's waiting hand. Holly held up the round disc. "Gus and I finished this up. We've been working on it for a few weeks. It's a-"
"The Ancile!" Castiel gasped. Holly's head bobbed to the side.
"Well, a copy of it" Holly replied. "It works though."
"What is it?" Dean asked. Castiel moved to get a better look at the hand mirror-sized seal. The seal was nestled inside a metal holder with narrow loops for a strap.
"The ancile was delivered to Earth from Heaven during the reign of King Pompilius" Castiel said. "Rome became the strongest nation in those days, until the ancile was taken back. How do you know it works?"
Holly held the narrow loops and whispered a word that Dean couldn't quite make out. A golden glow emitted from the seal in a shape that resembled the body of a cello. Castiel reached out and touched the celestial shield. Dean tentatively reached out and felt the shield. It was firm and felt like it was slightly buzzing against his hand.
"Andras can't break through this shield" Holly stated. She lowered the seal and the shield was gone.
"So what?" Dean scoffed. "You finished working on a fucking shield and now you're all better?"
"It gave me focu-" Holly began.
"You can stay down here with Cas" Dean grumbled. "I'm done with tonight and fucking shields-" Dean stepped past Holly, heading for the stairs. "-and $46,000 books and everything else."
"Dean" Holly called after him. Dean raised a hand and kept heading for his room. When his door closed, Holly looked at Castiel.
"He's been concerned about you" Castiel told her. Holly lowered herself to sit on the couch.
"I'm not magically fixed" Holly sighed. "Everything still hurts."
"I am sorry about that" Castiel said. "If I had all of my grace, I could stop the pain."
"It's fine, Castiel" Holly told him. "Sometimes pain is good."
Castiel's mouth tightened for a moment. The cop show filled the living room with a police siren at low volume. "Could I interest you in bathing naked in the hot tub?"
In the early morning, sitting at an outdoor bistro table with a doppio in a small espresso cup in hand and a small bottle of water in front of him, Andras watched Holly and her angel enter a pastry shop. Castiel hovered protectively close to the woman. Perhaps it was due to the stiffness she seemed to have in her walk. Andras smiled and drank his doppio in two sips. He enjoyed the bitter double espresso and the resulting sweetness that lingered on his tongue.
"That would be them, sir" A demon said from behind a newspaper. From their position, they could see a little movement in the pastry shop. Andras opened his water and waited, watching.
When they left the pastry shop, the angel was carrying a paper bag for the woman. She glanced over in the direction of the café and Andras gave her a big smile. She smiled back, automatically, then resumed her walk with the angel.
"She is lovely" Andras whispered. "She will be delicious when I devour her."
The demon next to Andras folded his newspaper and kept an eye on the two walking away from them. The angel was in a trenchcoat and the woman in a peacoat. To the demon, they were just targets. Andras stood and waited, still watching. Holly glanced back over her shoulder.
"Is something wrong?" Castiel asked. Holly's mouth was tight and she seemed concerned.
"I just feel like...I don't know" Holly told him. She shivered slightly. "I just feel like I'm being watched."
"Well there were the two men sitting outside at the cafe" Castiel said.
"No, like...watched by something dark" Holly said. "You didn't get any dark vibes?"
"No 'dark vibes'" Castiel replied. Holly turned her collar up and shoved her hands into her coat. The early morning was cool and damp making Holly wish she would have grabbed a scarf or a hat. They walked as fast as Holly was comfortable with. She was moving faster as they headed back towards the chalet. The morning stiffness was working itself out.
"Cas, I need to ask you about something" Holly said as they left the main part of Gryffburg. "Dean thinks I should give Gus a form, a body. Is that a good idea? Has it ever been done with a daimon?"
"I honestly have not spent much time around daimons" Castiel replied after a moment of consideration. "If it isn't taxing on yourself, I would probably try it."
"Really?" Holly asked. They diverted from the road, walking up the slight slope of the driveway.
"He is protective of you and daimons are notorious for having a high potential of power" Castiel replied. "Extra help against Andras would benefit us." Before they reached the chalet door, Castiel reached out and stopped Holly. "Are you seriously considering doing this?"
"Yes" Holly replied.
"Just be careful" Castiel told her.