Mulder ran his hand over the top of the sleek, black vehicle, feeling a strange thrill of excitement. "This is one hot car," he said, feeling almost embarrassed at his own words.
"It was my brothers," Sam let his own fingers trail across the Impala's hood, wiping at the grimy windows, "if he saw it now – he would so kick my ass."
"You don't drive it?"
"Haven't left Bobby's for a while now, I have spent the last year hiding up here. The only time I've actually gone anywhere is to try and open the gate."
"What are you hiding from?"
Sam smiled, sadly and Mulder saw the infinite sadness in the boy's hooded gaze. He wiped a hand across his face, blinking once or twice and then he looked back at Mulder, his voice steady.
"Hunters – demons – the FBI," at the last word, Sam smiled a little wider, his head on one side, "there are so many people out there who want a piece of my ass, Mulder, you don't even know."
"No one has ever found you?"
"Not until yesterday," Sam frowned, "how did you find me?"
"I have my sources," Mulder grinned, rubbing his hands through his own hair. It felt dirty, long and uncomfortable around his neck. He wiped his fingers down his own tee shirt and longed for a shower and a long, cold beer.
"I heard about you," Sam said, suddenly, unexpectedly. "Back when we were on the road. People thought you were mad – they called you spooky right?"
"Right," Mulder could remember those days clearly. He had taken them as a personal challenge and he had kinda enjoyed the spooky tag and the looks of disgust and disbelief he had received from his fellow agents. He remembered how hard it had been to convince Scully about many of his cases and he remembered how he had felt when he found out that his conspiracy theories had been way off.
"You said you had a solution – an idea," Sam sat down on the dusty floor and leant back against the Impala, stretching out his long legs. Mulder flopped beside him, tipping back his chin and letting the sunlight hit his face, "care to tell me what it is."
"Lilith doesn't have all the demons under her command," Mulder stated, blandly, knowing that Sam was fully aware of this fact, "there are a substantial number who are waiting for another leader – their messiah if you will – and those demons are mighty pissed at Lilith – because she isn't following the 'master plan'.
It wouldn't take much to pit demon against demon – a sort of civil war if you like – we can't destroy them, but they sure as hell can destroy themselves."
Sam was silent and Mulder sat back, eyes closed, listening to the distant barking of dogs, the soft, alien sound of birdsong. He could smell sulphur and death in the air and he wished that the flowers would bloom again just so he could rid his nostrils of the putrid stench of defeat.
"You are the leader they are waiting for," Mulder said, not bothering to wrap it up in a fine package, "you are the one who should be leading them – not Lilith."
"I told you – I'm not the fucking anti-Christ," Sam stood up, pacing suddenly, looking like a caged animal, nervous and skittish, "have you any idea how hard I have had to fight not to let those switches flick on in my brain – have you any idea how much it hurts – how much it burns. The nightmares – the pain – if it weren't for – for – for the distant hope that I might save Dean – I would have put the colt to my head months ago and fucking pulled the trigger."
"I have lost so much – I'm not going to lose my humanity."
"I'm not suggesting that you do," Mulder got up and placed his hand, lightly, on Sam's shaking shoulder, "all I'm suggesting is that you say you are going to."
"You mean pretend to be the Anti-Christ – fucking hell – have you any idea what you are suggesting."
"Demons can be fooled you know – they can be trapped and exorcised and they can be tricked – all you have to do is call them to you – tell them you want Lilith and her army dead – and – all hell breaks loose."
"Are you high?" Sam snapped, his eyes suddenly bright and angry, "you are a fucking amateur when it comes to demons aren't you? Trick them? We are talking something big here – something really big."
"What if your brother was here to help?"
Sam stopped pacing and stared at the FBI man, his teeth clenched, and the fire burning in his eyes again.
"You had better have something real good to say," he ground out and Mulder grinned, relief flooding through him.
"I'll get the book," he said.
Sam held the large, dusty tome in his hands and stared at it, awed. Behind him, Bobby let out a gasp and almost fell to his knees. Mulder watched them both, eyes shrewd.
"Do you know what you have here?" Sam said, his fingers playing across the surface almost reverently, "this thing is so powerful no one even dares speak its name – how the hell…how the hell did you get hold of it?"
"I did a job for someone – long time back – they owed me – I called in the debt," Mulder shrugged, "like I said – I have my sources."
"Must have been some job," Bobby gasped out and Mulder grinned.
"Kidnapped child," Mulder shuddered at the memory, "kept for human sacrifice to some sort of pagan God – FBI thought it was some sort of paedophile ring and put me on the case – they were never any wiser – but the mom – a white witch – she was pretty grateful – she offered me her body – but I took this instead."
Sam stared at the book in his hand and lay it down on Bobby's table.
"So – what are you going to use it for?"
"There's a spell – a ritual really – inviting demon possession – we can use it – to summon up your brother."
"Shit," Bobby's voice was rough, "you offering yourself up here Mr Mulder?"
"Yes, yes I am." Mulder kept his eyes on Sam could see the light of hope in the younger man's gaze; see the desperation in every movement he made.
"You can't do it," Sam burst out, pacing again, "I've been possessed Mulder and, believe me, it isn't a very pleasant experience, you – it – you can't do it."
"It'll be Dean I'm inviting in," Mulder stated, "your brother."
"Who has been in hell for over a year – God knows what state he is in now," Sam sounded broken.
"Didn't stop you from trying to open the gate though – did it?" Mulder said, playing his last ace card and hoping it would be enough, "come on Sam – you said you wanted your brother back – I'm not him – but I could be."
Sam bit his lip, glanced at Bobby and nodded slowly.
"I guess there isn't much else left to lose," he said, biting his lower lip hard, "let's do it."
Mulder lay on the table; bare chested, candles burning all around him, the scent of wax and smoke thick in his nostrils.
There was a devil's trap drawn around the table and several charms hanging over him. Sam bent down and made a slight indentation in the trap, just enough to let a demon through, but small enough to draw in again in emergencies.
Bobby had the book open on his knee and bent down over it, his cap obscuring his face. Mulder heard him start the chant, the words in a language alien to him, jumbling up in his head.
He was terrified; wondering what had possessed him to do this. When had he become such a martyr? It wasn't as if he owed the world anything.
Sam leant forward, silver knife glittering in the candlelight. His face was pale, the skin stretched thin across harsh bones. He mumbled something that sounded like 'sorry' and then he pricked the knife against Mulder's skin, digging into his flesh, carving out the symbol needed.
Mulder's skin burnt in agony and he bit his lip to stop from crying out. He closed his eyes for a moment and when he opened them again, the whole room seemed enveloped in darkness. He opened his mouth to scream and the darkness moved inwards, pressing against his lips, pouring into him, his whole body going hot, and cold. His legs were shaking and his stomach rolled and then he felt some sort of explosion that came from the inside of him and his mind whirled away into nothingness.
His eyes opened, but he knew, immediately, that he hadn't opened them.
It was a weird feeling; he mind was still alert, still working, but his body refused to obey it. It felt as if he were watching himself from a distance, watching his own feet twitch, his own hands come up and brush against his face. He couldn't feel a thing, like a coma patient or someone suffering from severe paralysis, he had totally lost control of himself.
His legs swung round and landed on the floor and he wobbled to his feet. He heard Sam say something, his voice laced with concern, but he didn't answer. His body moved forward and he was looking through his own eyes, but he knew it wasn't just him who was using them. He was just a passenger; someone else was in the driving seat.
His body moved over to the bathroom, to the mirror that hung over the sink. He was aware of Sam behind him, of Bobby in the background, clutching the colt. He peered forward and saw his own face looking back at him. There was an expression there that he had never seen before and his eyes widened hands going up to his face again, stroking curiously.
"Son of a bitch," his own voice, but the inflection was all wrong, "I'm a fucking G-Man."
Behind him, he heard Sam gasp and one word forced itself through his lips.