Author's Note: Okay, so I was reading over all of this the other day and, wow, is this one loooong story. I realize that a lot of stuff was thrown in here and I hope I covered pretty much everything, explained everything. I'm kind of thinking about doing a sequel, but I don't know. If I do it will probably be something a bit less intense. I for one enjoyed writing a lot of the sibling interaction and would love do more of that, but throw in some more lighthearted stuff. Anywhoo, you just let me know. So, alas, this is it, I hope you enjoy!
Disclaimer: I don't own anything, least of all The WB's Supernatural.
"No," he says quickly as he pulls away from her embrace. "No, I can't."
She moves her thin fingers along the fabric of his shirt, further smears the bit of grease that landed on his collar not even an hour ago. "You can," she says softly, slowly fiddling with his buttons. She inhales long and deep, breathing in his smell of musky sweat and oil. Her eyes turn up, glaring at him from beneath those pale lids and she says huskily, "You will."
Again her lips press into his and he is taken aback. He is drowning, falling, dying. Her slight frame is now pushed up against him so tightly that it almost feels as though she is melting into him. Her hand soothingly massages the back of his neck, all the while holding in him in place, at times pulling him even closer to her so that she can devour him more. He closes his eyes and begins to give in.
It happens. Men have affairs. All the time. They cheat, sleep with others…no, fuck others. But they always go home to their wives. It doesn't mean they don't love their wives. This doesn't mean he doesn't love his wife. Mary. Mary.
His eyes shoot open and he chokes and gags, the taste of her in his mouth suddenly shifting from sweet to bitter. He releases her lips and tries to pull away, has to peel her hand from the back of his neck to do so. "John," she says, mock confusion and hurt ringing forth. Her swollen lips begin to pout like a pitiful child threatening tears and tantrums if not given what is desired.
"No," he says again, pushing her away. "No!"
Her pout disappears and is replaced by a snarl. She rolls her eyes and spits angrily at him, the liquid sizzling and sputtering on the concrete floor like spattered hot oil. He sees her now for the first time. She is not Sarah, the petite 20 something who took over the books of the garage several months before. She is not that sweet and innocent girl who commiserated with him over money troubles and debated with him whether or not the '67 Shelby GT was really the finest example of a Mustang to date. She was someone else. She was something else.
They lock eyes for one bewildering moment before she turns and heads for the door, leaving just as she had come, giggling like a little schoolgirl. At the doorway, just before ducking out and leaving never to return, she throws over her shoulder in a sing song voice, "If you really loved her, you would have said yes."
"Sarah," he says absently, relating the face to the name before making the necessary connection. When he speaks all eyes turn on him. His children stare, watch his face slowly transition in the dark, going from simply tired to expectant, to moderately surprised, then on to enraged. They glance back at the strange woman, who is now close enough to inspect, their heads all moving in unison towards her, then back to their father. Now the look on his face is one of reticence, one of relief. This is what he has been waiting for, looking for, for over twenty years.
He moves slowly towards her but stops suddenly when she throws up her hand. He is not even a foot away from her now, close enough to smell her eerie smoky scent, like a campfire that's been doused with acrid water. If he reached out he may just be able to touch her, another step and he could lunge swiftly, grip her throat, strangle the life out of her. If there were even any life in her to begin with. But he can't reach out, and he can't move forward. He is stuck in place, cemented to the ground without the ability, without, it seems, even the desire to move.
She laughs. "Are these your children, John?" she asks, a smile still playing on her lips. She sweeps around to face them. "Dean. Sam?" The two men look at her blankly. Inside they fume, but on the surface they seem unfazed, uncaring even that this woman, the thing that killed their mother, is standing in front of them. Speaking to them. Touching them. Her hand lightly glides over Sam's face, her fingers pinching a loose tendril of hair moving to sweep it behind his ear. "You grew up to be so handsome."
"And to think, you were going to kill him before he had the chance." Sarah cranes her neck to look at the young woman standing beside her brothers. Unlike them, she is far from serene, her eyes burning with rage, the skin of her cheeks glowing in red so bright and deep it can almost be seen even in the dark. She scowls at the murderous interloper.
"And you," she says, letting her hand fall away from Sam's face. "Shouldn't you be…elsewhere?" Tessa merely shifts her weight from one foot to the other, standing tall and strong on her ground. Sarah moves toward her and reaches out, her hand grasping onto Ben's. Whereas a moment ago that hand had been gripping her shoulder tightly, his arm wrapped protectively around her, now it fell loosely down by Tessa's side. Guided by the demon, he steps carefully around her and allows himself to be pulled nearer to Sarah. "You see how simple it is?" she says to Tess as she brings Ben's hand to her lips, kisses tenderly.
"Right," she says with an indignant snort. "Because controlling a man is so difficult." In a flash she grabs his wrist and wrenches his hand away from Sarah, shoves him back behind her where he stumbles briefly before falling in line along side her catatonic brothers. "You killed my mother," Tessa hisses, her hands clenched in tight fists. She is doing everything in her power to control herself, to keep from tearing this woman apart, a thing she knows would likely get her killed. Frustration flows through her and tears begin to collect in her eyes. She bites down on her bottom lip and tries to blink them away, hoping that they go unnoticed despite the fact that her eyes remain locked with this woman's. What did her father call her? Sarah? "Lilith," she says slowly, almost inaudible.
"I don't go by that name. Not now, not in this form. That name is far too great to belong to someone who looks like this." She gestures down her body, the same young, taught one that had come so close to seducing John decades ago. "It's so…human," she says with obvious disgust. "In fact, I don't think I like you even saying it. It sounds so terribly urbane coming from those fleshy lips."
Tessa tries to speak, to say something witty or insulting, or entirely meaningless even. But no sound comes from her parted mouth. By now she can feel the warm tears running down her face and she reaches up to wipe them away, furrowing her brow in distaste as she does so. Weak, she thinks, so weak, to cry like little girl.
"I was thinking just that," the woman in front of her says, a sadistic twinkle in her eye. Fury penetrates Tess' psyche. Fucking demon, reading minds now too? She looks over at her brothers and Ben, all three stand motionless still, their confused gazes directed at Sarah. She can see in their eyes that they are fighting, they know something is wrong. Looking at them she is fully aware that they have every intention of coming out of their stupor, if only they could figure out how. But there are very few men who can resist Lilith, very few who can maintain control of themselves when her spell is placed on them.
So she is alone, just as she knew she would be. Just as she suspected she should be.
"What's the matter," Sarah asks her with mock concern as she sees fresh hot tears roll from the girl's eyes. "Cat got your tongue?"
She shakes her head violently. No, she thinks, no, you can't control me that easily. But despite being able to conjure them, she still can not make the words come out. Sarah reaches out and touches her face, wipes away a tear with the pad of her thumb and quickly places it in her mouth, suckles the sweet, salty fluid of fear. The taste of tears, the smell of blood, the cries of infants ready to be devoured…these are the things she longs for when not in human form. They, like the delightful twinge that runs up her spine after finagling a man from his wife's embrace, are the things that almost make the putrid human form worthwhile. Yet they are the things that real people never seem to enjoy.
"So much you don't know," she says, smiling at Tessa. "All that you've read, about me and mine, all that you've studied and still there is so much that you don't know. You think just because you are a woman you're immune to my influence? Oh, dear," she says as her thumb returns to stroke her wet cheek once more, "you're not. You're nothing, remember? No one." She leans in, wraps her arm around the girl's trembling frame and pulls her close, whispering in her ear. "We're so much alike, Tessa, you and me. Both spurned and tossed aside. I fled from Paradise because I didn't belong. But I don't belong anywhere. And neither do you." She releases her hold and moves back, speaks in a normal tone again. "Both of us, you see, we're only here because certain men need us to be. But without them we're nothing. You and I are nothing."
"You're half right," John says from behind as he lunges at her. She had thought he, like the others, was placated, still and awaiting an invitation to move. She had thought he had been under her thumb, as all men at one time or another are. She had thought she was safe, in control. But she was wrong.
Before even being able to whip completely around, her legs go numb and collapse out from under her. She reaches her fingers around to her back, feels the gaping, oozing hole. Lying on the muddy ground she looks up at the man standing above her, sees the dagger glinting in his hand, her blood dripping from its tip. She attempts to rollover, reach out, get to her feet once more, but finds herself incapable. He must have severed her spinal cord. Stupid, useless human body, felled by something so small.
He looks up quickly, across the two feet or so that separate them, and penetrates his daughter's stare. "Tessa," he says, but she does not respond, her eyes transfixed on the woman writhing at her feet. "Tessa!" he says again, louder, kicking Sarah hard in the side as she reaches for his daughter's ankle. This time she does respond, though meekly. She looks up at her father through tear stained eyes, the movement long and exaggerated. He speaks slowly, clearly. "Now. Go get it now."
Sarah rolls her eyes. Get what? Do they really think that there is anything that could stop her? She clenches her lids shut and begins to chant softly, her essence leaving the pathetic human shell in quick wisps and gasps as she does so. The wind begins to blow and twist around her, readying itself to carry her away, on to the next poor soul in need of torture.
There is hardly any feeling left in her body when John lifts her head up by the hair. Vaguely she can feel a cold sting across her throat, but the touch is so fleeting, so unimportant, that she pays it no heed, her true self never looking down on the proceedings as it is whisked up into the air.
But she does not fully ascend.
Beneath her winding wind John kneels in the mud, holding Sarah's head over an ancient looking urn, the blood seeping from her gaping neck wound quickly flowing and dripping into the container. Tessa sits beside it, her eyes closed, head bowed, lips moving swiftly with only inaudible words spilling out.
It's not an urn, she realizes as the pull increases. It's not, but…it can't be. How could she have been so blind, so casual and confident? Men were the ones who let their egos cause their downfall. Not her. She was better than that.
Tessa continues reciting the incantation as Sarah's blood fills the bowl and begins to trickle down the side. Her voice grows louder, but the words are still foreign, even to her. The rough translation she knew by heart, but this was a language so old that few remained who could utter it plausibly. Yet her attempt was excellent, and further more, it was enough. Enough for the recitation to work, pulling Lilith closer and closer with each word. And finally, sealing her in with the final, "Amen, amen, Selah."
The wind ceases almost immediately and John quickly flings the clay top on the overflowing bowl, letting Sarah's limp body lay heavily across him. He looks to his daughter then up at his sons, both of whom, along with Ben, stare plainly down, broken from their stupor yet unaware of how to proceed. "It's a Persian incantation bowl," he says as he slides the body off of him and struggles to rise, his legs leaden and heavy. Dean moves to help him up, but John brushes him off; he is weak not inept. "It can trap her, her…essence. It did trap her."
Sam steps forward cautiously and bends down to look at the pot. His mouth hangs open as though readying itself to speak, but no words come out. He looks back up at his father, his face blurring through the tears just now collecting in his eyes. His mother's killer, found, contained. "Shit," he hears Dean say and glances down to the ground next to him, where his brother's eyes are widely focused. Sam falls back and skitters away a few paces as the body lying beside him slowly disintegrates into dirt. No, not dirt, ash. He wrinkles his nose, the scent of sulfur permeating the air, and quickly rises hoping to escape it.
"Now what?" Ben asks quietly. He stands away from the group, just behind the brothers, and looks at them now expecting an answer from them collectively.
"Now," John says as he bends down and sweeps up the bloody bowl, "we burn the bitch."
They didn't know for sure if it would work. Really it was no more than a guess, an educated one, but a guess none the less. Fight fire with fire. Nowhere could they find anything definitive regarding the destruction of Lilith. She was one whom, in the past, people only managed to avoid, perhaps exorcise, or bind. But no one could kill her. No one had tried. Until now.
When they threw the incantation bowl into the fire they all expected…something. Even as the clay slowly melted, the blood burning and congealing to the mud and cinders, they waited patiently, theirs eyes wide, ears perked for any sight or sound that might confirm their hopes. That she was dead. But there was nothing, no deafening scream, no flash of bright light or gust or wind or rolling tuft of choking smoke. Nothing. So all they had to lay their hopes on was the overriding optimism they all in some way possessed, that good would triumph over evil.
And since they could receive no confirmation one way or the other, not from Sam with his feelings or Ben with his ability to communicate with others, or even the ever sensitive Missouri Mosely, they had not choice but to simply move on and hope for the best.
"You don't have to go, you know," he says as she shoves a crumpled up T-shirt in her duffel. Sitting on the bed with his leg twitching nervously beneath him, Dean can do nothing but watch as his sister moves frantically around, trying to pack up all that she can.
"I don't even know how I got all of this crap here to begin with," she says quickly, surveying the room with its piles of books and papers. All of them but John returned to the hotel in Roseville to gather everything worth anything. The three siblings bid their father farewell, though they had been assured it wouldn't be for long. He had some things to take care of, some people he needed to see, jobs left to finish. Work was still work, the evil in the world didn't stop creating havoc just because they wanted it to, just because they needed a break. There was no time for a vacation. "You want any of these?" she asks, spinning wildly on her heel and tossing a few books towards the bed.
The corner of his mouth rises in a half-hearted smile and he snorts out a laugh. "Your books? I figured you'd want to be buried with them."
"I trust you to keep them safe until my funeral."
She stops short and turns around to look at him, a stack of papers lingering in her hand over the open box. "You really think he'll go?" she asks solemnly.
He shrugs nonchalantly. "He says he is. He wants to."
"Man," she says rising. The mattress sags next to Dean as she takes a seat. "A lawyer? I just don't get it."
"I know," he says shaking his head back and forth.
"I mean, who'd want to give up all this?" She sweeps her arm over the room in a dramatic gesture and Dean can't help but laugh when surveying the disaster in front of them, around them. Who would want to leave a life of cheap hotel rooms stuffed to the brim with books about witchcraft and demonology, newspaper clippings relating to various hauntings, bloody towels left on the floor following demonic brawls, and of course empty coffee cups and candy bar wrappers galore? Sam would.
"He's staying for a while still though, right? Until the next term starts?"
"That's what he said."
"Yeah," he says with a sigh, "that's good."
"You know," she says after an all too long moment of uncomfortable silence, "I won't be gone forever. I mean…I have some things I have to…work out." He looks up at her sadly. "But…"
"You got to work these things out with Ben?" he asks, a ring of playful sarcasm to his voice.
She laughs. "He's giving me a ride."
"Yeah, I'll bet." She slaps him upside the head as she rises and tosses a stray shirt into her bag beside him. "Ow," he says through a chuckle.
She tries not to laugh and attempts even to hide her smile, turning her back to him while saying, "You're such a jerk."
"Yeah, well," he lets out simply. Then, grabbing a hold of her wrist and twisting her around to face him again he says, "You're still with me then? You'll come back?"
She glances at him briefly, sees the pleading his eyes. "There'll always something to hunt, right?" Throwing the large duffel over her shoulder she ducks from his stare. None of them were ever good at good byes. "You'd get killed out there without someone watching your back," she says heading for the door.
He gets up quickly and hoists the box of books and papers. "Hell I would," he says indignantly. "I'd do just fine on my own."
"Uh huh, okay."
"I can handle anything," he says, balancing the box awkwardly on his leg while swinging the door shut behind them.
"Yeah," she says, watching him struggle. "I'll bet."