Emily was cold, very cold. Her teeth were chattering and she dared not open her eyes for fear of them freezing inside her skull. But she was curious also, very curious, and the urge to view her surroundings overwhelmed the need to keep her lids clamped shut. Slowly, she opened one eye by just a sliver, then the other one. Realizing her fear of frozen eyeballs was quite irrational; she opened them the rest of the way.
She was barefooted, she realized, and dressed in a long, white nightgown. The floor beneath her exposed toes was hard-packed dirt. But she wasn't outside. No, as she raised her head she saw that she was in a building, a cavernous building, most likely a warehouse. The windows were clouded with dust and grime, but it didn't really matter because it was dark outside anyway.
"Where am I?" she whispered, but the sound came echoing back through the warehouse as loud as a clap of thunder.
At her words, a single beam of light sliced through the darkness, creating a spotlight not ten feet in front of her. She blinked at the harshness of the sudden light and recoiled when a shadowy figure stepped into the spotlight. She gasped and nearly stumbled backwards at the appearance of the broad-shouldered, cloaked figure.
"I knew you would come." The voice was male, and somehow familiar, but Emily couldn't put her finger on who it was.
"Who are you?" she asked warily. She began to circle the spotlight, hoping to catch a glimpse of the figure. But he turned with her, never letting the black cloak slip.
"You know who I am," he spoke. "You have come for answers."
She shivered and wrapped her arms around herself, feeling colder than ever. "Answers to what?"
The figure raised a shadowy arm and Emily suddenly felt a pressure at her throat. She grasped her neck with both hands, hoping to alleviate the pressure, but it only increased. It was getting harder to draw breath, her pulse became more rapid. "Stop," she tried to wheeze, but no sound would come out. She began to claw at the skin in a panic.
Can't breathe. Can't breathe…
Something cracked in her throat and everything went black.
Emily sat bolt upright in bed, gasping and panting for breath. Breath, yes she could breathe. She raised a hand to her throat gingerly and realized that it had all been a dream. Well, more like a nightmare.
She was in her room, in her own bed. As her hear rate returned to normal, she looked around to see that everything was in its place: her stereo, dressing table, desk and chair. The blinds were drawn, but tiny slivers of light leaked through the cracks and fell like stripes on the parquet floor.
She never slept during the day, never. Why am I in bed? She wondered. Then it all came flooding back to her, as if a dam had burst. She remembered talking to Dean that night and the argument the next morning with her father. She remembered Cara coming to her door, remembered the blackness of her friend's eyes. Something had felt so wrong, so evil. She vaguely recalled fighting with something, struggling against something within her. And then her mother…
"Oh God," she breathed, burying her face in her hands. "What have I done?"
The "Ding-Dong" of the doorbell interrupted her thoughts and she heard her father's voice as he answered it. He was talking with someone, two someones in fact, and whoever it was sounded familiar.
She swung her feet over the edge of the bed and winced as they made contact with the cold floor. She hadn't realized how sore she was until she stood up, and she noticed the bruising on her wrists for the first time. Grimacing with every step, she slowly made her way to the door and opened it just a crack so that she could eavesdrop.
Dean let his hand fall away from the doorbell and peered in through the narrow column of windows beside the door.
"Dean, Mr. Russell isn't going to be happy to see us," Sam commented, shifting his weight impatiently.
Dean gave him a withering stare. "I just want to make sure Emily's okay, is that alright with you?"
Sam knew it was a rhetorical question, but also knew that there was something bothering his brother. "You know…what that demon said, it didn't mean anything. All that 'keeping her forever' garbage, he was just talking sh…"
"I know, Sam," Dean said a little too quickly. "I'm following up on a job, that's all." He rubbed the back of his neck wearily. "Dad thought this was important enough to break in and steal that book, so I wanna make sure everything's alright."
"If Dad thought it was so important, then where is he? Huh? Why didn't he help us?" Sam's voice rose with every word, eyes flashing angrily.
"Shut up Sam," Dean's tone was dangerously quiet. "Don't talk about Dad like that."
Sam's retort died in his throat as the door to the Russell home creaked open and James' face appeared. The man looked exhausted, he had dark circles under his eyes and sported a day and a half's growth of beard. He looked slightly shocked to see the Winchesters standing at his door, but managed a faint smile.
"Sam, Dean, won't you boys come in?"
"Um…sure," Not having expected an invite, Dean glanced at his brother who just shrugged in response. They followed Russell into the house and into the living room where just twenty-four hours ago; Emily had nearly killed her parents.
"Sir, we just wanted to make sure everyone was okay," Dean began.
Russell sighed and sank into a leather recliner, removing his glasses and rubbing his eyes. "Yes, we're fine thank you," he said, eyes still closed. "My wife is set to be released from the hospital sometime tomorrow and Emily is sleeping in her room."
Both boys nodded. "Good to hear," Sam offered.
Russell gave another excuse for a smile and perched his glasses atop his nose once more. "Listen…I can't thank you two enough for what you did. Without your help…"
"Thank us?" Dean snorted and his whole demeanor changed. Sam recognized his brother's stance and knew that he was fighting the urge to deck James Russell.
"Thank us?" Dean repeated. "Why don't you thank your daughter? Sam and I didn't save your sorry ass, Emily exorcised that demon herself."
"Demon?" Russell asked. "What are you talking about?"
"Oh, you know exactly what I'm talking about," Dean leaned down and placed a hand on each arm of Russell's chair, looming in the man's face. "What? Did you think you could just conjure up a demon for kicks, see what happened? Then you could just run away like a little bitch, huh?" he was yelling now. "You put that book under Emily's bed, you bastard!"
"Dean," Sam put a hand on Dean's arm and pulled him away from the older man. Russell was trembling now, tears coursing down his cheeks.
"I never meant for any of this to happen," he sobbed. "None of us did."
Sam motioned for his brother to keep quiet and turned towards emotionally unstable Russell. "How did it happen, James? How did you find the book?" he asked gently. Dean was still glaring at Emily's father, but had resorted to pacing back and forth in front of the sofa.
Russell hiccuped a couple of times and wiped his nose on his sleeve. "It was Daniel," he finally croaked. "Danny found the book at a construction site in his home town. He said they'd dug up a bunch of unmarked graves on accident when they put in a new shopping center," he paused to wipe his nose again. "We…I researched the book and decided that…that it would be…interesting to see if we could actually conjure the…the demon."
"Jeez," Dean muttered with an eye-roll and earned a glare from his brother.
"But it was too much to handle, wasn't it?" Sam pressed quietly. "You didn't mean for Daniel to die."
"Of course not!" Russell exclaimed and Dean muttered something unintelligible. "After it happened, we all split up, hoping it couldn't find us."
"But why did you keep the book?" Sam asked.
"I just thought that, I don't know, nothing else would happen."
"…Nothing else would happen."
Emily felt herself begin to shake with pure rage at her father's words. He'd left the book under her bed, his daughter, and his own flesh and blood. He'd thought that 'nothing else would happen' and had been careless. Because of him, Emily had nearly killed her mother. If it hadn't been for Dean and Sam…
She dashed away the tears that were checked in the corners of her eyes and drew in a ragged breath. Dean had said that he Sam hunted evil things, things she hadn't wanted to believe existed. But now she knew differently, she'd seen the fires of hell and lived to tell about it. No matter what her father said, he could never make things right. He could never take back the things he'd done that had caused so much pain and death.
She needed answers. She needed to know what was out there lurking in the dark, waiting to take her soul. She had to know why her father had done the things he had done.
Taking one last deep breath, she pushed her pain aside and rose, she had things to pack…
"Nothing else?" Dean poked his head around his brother's shoulder to ridicule Russell once more.
"I'm sorry! You have to believe that I never meant for this to happen!" Russell pleaded.
Sam was rapidly growing weary of this conversation. Dean was angry beyond all reason and Russell was a blubbering mess. He knew that he had to get them out of there before Dean lost control of his fist and planted it in Russell's face.
But all three men were suddenly drawn by the sound of someone very small clearing her throat. Emily stood in the doorway to the living room, dressed in jeans, cowboy boots, and her motorcycle jacket. She had a blue, quilted duffel bag slung over one shoulder and her 44 magnum over the other. She still looked a little pale, but was standing rigidly, trying not to show the aches and pains of her wrestling match with Dean.
Dean and Sam just stood there blinking, stunned into silence. Russell turned towards his daughter, face lighting with happiness. "Emily, sweetie. Are you feeling alright?"
She gave her father the coldest look imaginable and Sam could swear he could hear the man's heart breaking. Then she turned away from him and took several stiff steps towards the brothers.
"Are you…okay?" Dean asked, not quite sure what to say.
Emily took a deep breath, squared her shoulders, and looked into Dean's eyes. "I'm coming with you," she said firmly without any traces of indecision.
Sam recognized the look on her face; he'd seen it on his brother and father many times before. It was that stubborn-ass look that said 'I dare you to tell me any different'. He looked sideways at Dean. He knew this wasn't his decision to make, it was between Dean and Emily.
Dean stood there helplessly, looking completely bewildered. He weighed the possibilities in his mind. If Emily left, Russell would be utterly lost and depressed. But on the other hand, his actions of the past had already lost him his daughter. Dean didn't want to become mixed up in the family troubles of someone else, Lord knew he had enough of his own.
But he couldn't turn away from Emily, from those eyes. They were full of so much pain and confusion. She had forced that demon out, all on her own, a task that he hadn't thought possible. He knew she had so many questions, and no matter what her father said, she would never feel the same about him.
"Fine," he said quietly and reached to take her bag. Her eyes thanked him quietly and she handed over her bag, but held on to the rifle.
Sam looked at Russell one last time. The man had dropped his head into his hands, utterly defeated. He didn't try to stop his daughter as she walked through the front door with the Winchester brothers. Sam pulled the door to gently behind him, leaving Russell alone, with nothing but an empty house and his inner demons.
That was the end! However, I have a sequel (or two) in the making and would like to carry Emily through a few more fics with the boys. Plz review and let me know what you think! Thx.