I'd like to thank AJ Hofacre, again, for all of her help with this fic. And I'd like to thank everyone who read, and those who reviewed. You guys are wonderful. And while this is the end of this fic, there is a sequel. I'll have it done in a few months. Until then, go watch Supernatural. :)
Some dialogue from season four of Supernatural is used.
Spike looked up when he heard the lobby doors open. Looking at the clock, he noted the time; they should have taken longer. Then he took notice of the expressions on Sam and Dean's faces. Something had obviously happened; their postures were stiff and their words clipped. When Dean looked up, Spike saw that his eyes were just a bit darker than was normal, and he could see the stress lines around his eyes and mouth. Sam had a faint bruise coloring his jaw line.
"Get everything taken care of?" Spike asked instead. Asking about what had happened in a lobby full of people would only make things worse. Dean was likely to get defensive, clamming up and claiming that nothing was wrong, and from what Spike had learned about Sam, he would probably do that same.
"Kind of," Dean said, hesitating a bit before answering. Sam continued passed his brother, slumping down onto the couch. The brothers shared a long look before Dean shook his head and turned back to face the others. "I had a vision while we were gone. Saw some guy start coughing up razor blades after eating Halloween candy."
"And you didn't call?" Bobby asked, glaring at Dean.
"It already happened," Dean bit out, sounding more tired than angry.
"Dean and I think we're supposed to figure out what caused it," Sam said. He sounded just as tired as Dean did, and alarm bells started going off inside Spike's head.
"Right then" Spike said, eyes focusing on Dean. "Got any idea as to where this happened?"
"Not really." Dean shrugged. "But I got a name, so I figured if we could find this person, we might be able to figure out where this took place."
"Name?" Bobby asked, grabbing a pen and a piece of paper.
"Norma Bleeker, seventy four years old," Dean said. "The guy and his wife were talking about her before he died."
Quickly writing the information down, Bobby looked up at Sam. "Want to help me with this?"
"Yeah," Sam said after a brief moment's hesitation. Dean let his gaze drift downwards.
"I'm gonna head up to my room for a bit," Dean said. "My head's killing me."
"Dean," Spike called stopping Dean just before he reached the stairs. "Just take it easy, yeah?"
Spike cast a brief glance at the clock, then focused back on Dean's retreating form. He'd give his friend a few hours before he went up, whether or not they'd found anything, he and Dean needed to talk.
Dean was lying on his bed, head buried in his pillow. Despite the aspirin he'd taken earlier, his head still hurt. He had been unable to sleepy any either, despite the exhaustion he could feel settling into his bones. It didn't help that Sam's words were carving themselves into his brain, giving him a permanent reminder of how his brother really felt.
A soft knock startled him and Dean tensed, sitting up quickly. He breathed a sigh of relief at seeing Spike leaning in the doorway.
"You all right?" Spike asked as he walked into the room, closing the door behind him. Turning the desk chair around, Spike sat down, facing Dean, his arms folded on the back of the chair.
"I'm just tired," Dean said with what he hoped was a casual shrug.
"I can see that," Spike replied, titling his head to the side. "But that's not the problem, is it?"
"If you don't tell me what's wrong, I'm going to force a bottle of whiskey down your bloody throat," Spike said. "By then you should be drunk enough to tell me anything."
"It's nothing," Dean said with a defeated sigh. It was just his luck that he would end up being stuck with someone who was an even bigger mother hen than his brother was. "Sam and I just had a fight. It's no big deal."
Spike just stayed quiet, watching Dean pick at the comforter on the bed. A sigh escaped as he fell back onto the bed, arms crossing over his face. What really sucked, in Dean's opinion, was that were Dean had once jokingly said that his Dad was the very definition of stubborn, he had learned over the last few months that it was in fact Spike who bore that particular crown.
"Castiel told me to stop Sam from using his powers."
Dean couldn't hide the desolation in his voice. He hadn't bothered trying either. Along with stubbornness, Spike was annoyingly perceptive too. "Bloody hell. I take it Little Brother didn't like what you had to say."
His laugh was harsh and brittle sounding, and Dean cut it off quickly. He had the feeling if he'd let it go on long enough, he wouldn't have been able to stop it. "He thinks I'm a hypocrite, what with being half demon and all."
Spike cursed fluently, and in several languages Dean had never heard before, he was pretty sure some were demonic in origin. A small part of Dean was glad that Spike was so pissed off on his behalf. It eased the pain a bit. "I'm sure once he's calmed down-"
"He doesn't get it," Dean said interrupting Spike. Sitting up, Dean lifted his eyes, locking his gaze with Spike's. "He thinks he's doing good. Hell, until Castiel said to stop him, I kinda agreed."
"But you were still worried."
"You'll work it out," Spike said and the conviction in his voice warmed Dean even more.
Taking a deep breath, Dean gave voice to his greatest fear. "But what if we don't? Then what?"
"He's your brother." Spike leveled Dean with a stern look. "You'll work things out."
Dawn was very good at snooping. Most of the time, people seemed to overlook the fact that she was there. Before it had irritated her, but now she counted that as a good thing as she stalked through the Hyperion, ready to do battle. She found the target of her anger right where she thought she would, in Spike's office, working on his laptop. Not wanting to alert the others, Dawn quietly closed the door, locking it behind her.
"You're a poopy-head." Dawn's words brought Sam's head up, his eyes darting between her and the now closed door.
"You're a poopy-head," Dawn repeated. "And a dope. And any other insulting name I can't think of at the moment."
"You really hurt him." Dawn's words stopped him cold, and the tiny spark of guilt he had been ignoring grew.
"You don't know what you're talking about," Sam said with a sigh, his guilt making him defensive.
"Oh, I understand," Dawn said leaning forward. "The angels said to stop using your demony powers and instead of listening, you threw a hissy fit and made Dean believe you think he's a demonic freak."
"I never said that!" Sam said, voice rising. "I said he was acting like a hypocrite. There's a difference"
"You might as well have," Dawn answered with a shrug. "I heard what he said to Spike." At Sam's look, Dawn rolled her eyes. "They didn't know I was listening."
"I'm saving people." Sam's words were firm, conviction that what he did was good shining in his eyes.
"You're not the only freak around here, you know." Dawn's words brought Sam up, his brow wrinkling in confusion.
Dawn sighed. "I'm a Key. Or was a Key. I'm not sure. Anyway, a bunch of monks used magic to put the Key inside me without telling anybody."
"Oh, my God." Sam's expression filled with horror and growing fury at her words.
"It's okay," Dawn said, wincing a little at his reaction. It was kind of the truth, but she still didn't want him to get all righteously angry about it. "They were just trying to hide it from this crazy Hell God named Glory."
"What does this Key do?" Sam asked.
"My blood can be used to open portals to other dimensions, only if that happens, the walls between all dimensions come tumbling down." Dawn was quiet for a few minutes. "I looked into seeing if I could tap into it, use it for good, you know?"
"What did you find out?" Sam's mind was reeling, his fear surrounding his powers growing with Dawn's words.
"That's it's not a good idea," Dawn said with a shrug that was far from casual. "The other's don't know, since I never told them."
"Just because I could possibly open portals, doesn't mean I could close them again," Dawn said. "And it's not worth finding out."
"I see." Sam's voice was subdued and his eyes were focused on his laptop.
"So, you'll apologize to Dean?" Dawn asked, eyes narrowed once more.
"Good," Dawn said, standing. As she walked out the door, she cast a quick glance back at Sam. "But if you don't I'm going to have Willow turn you into a toad."
Buffy could tell that something was bothering Spike. Ever since he'd come back from checking on Dean, Spike had been quiet, and more than a bit distracted. Buffy knew for a fact that Spike was fluent in many languages, something the vampire was still pissed had gotten out, but instead of making easy work of the passage before him, Spike was simply staring at it like it held the answers to the universe's mysteries.
Scooting closer, Buffy looked around the lobby. Willow's attention was sitting at the computer, and luckily for her, seemed to be engrossed in whatever she was looking at. Angel, Buffy noted with some amusement was stuck reading a book with a snoring Xander resting his head on his shoulder. Giles and Bobby had gone back to their hotel to pick up some of Giles' books and bring lunch back for everyone. Leaning closer, Buffy nudged Spike, whispering in his ear.
"All right, spill," Buffy said. When Spike failed to respond, she kicked him gently in the shin. Spike jerked upright, and leveled her with a fierce glare. "Well, if you had answered me, I wouldn't have kicked you."
"You didn't have to kick me in the first place," Spike grumbled, turning his attention back to the book in his lap.
"Nu, uh," Buffy said, placing her hand on the page. "Not until you tell me what's wrong."
"Nothing's wrong, Slayer." Spike sighed.
"You haven't turned the page in twenty minutes."
"It's nothing," Spike tried again.
"Spike." Buffy's words came out on a sigh. "Talk to me."
Spike let out his own sigh, closing the book he wasn't reading. "Slayer…Buffy, it's not something that we can fix."
"What?" Buffy's heart plummeted at his tone. He couldn't be having doubts now. They'd finally started to repair the damaged they'd caused. "Why?"
"Because it's not us who needs to do the fixing." Spike's smile was soft, warm, and Buffy's heart picked itself up and happily climbed back up where it belonged.
"Oh." Buffy followed Spike's gaze as he cast a quick glance at the stairway where Dean was slowly making his way down. She noted that Sam was quick to reach his brother's side before the two went off to the garden. "They'll fix it. They're brothers."
"I hope so, luv."
"So, we're heading out tomorrow, huh?" Dean said as he lowered himself down onto the bench. He could hear the multitude of noises from the traffic and the whispered words of people passing by. Luckily, the smell of jasmine covered most of the noxious fumes left by cars speeding by. It was only now Dean knew none of this was normal for him. He clearly remembered what it had been like before. How despite all of his training, fighting off ghost, demons, and other such nasties took a lot of effort, usually leaving both him and Sam with more than a few bruises. And those were on the good days. Bad days consisted of either of them patching up the other's broken bones, or stitching up lacerations. Dean honestly couldn't remember how many times either of them had ended up in the hospital. Now all of this healed in a matter of hours, or days depending on the severity of the injury. Now he could toss a demon around like it weighed nothing. Now he could identify something, or someone, by how it smelled, and if that someone was human or not.
It all just reminded him of how different he really was now, a half demon who got visions of the future. He hadn't been born a demon, but because of his deal, he was now what other hunters killed. Out there, on the road with Sam, it would only make it worse. He'd have to hide a part of who he was now, and that bothered Dean more than he wanted to admit, even though he still wasn't sure how he felt about the whole thing. Ruby, the snarky bitch, had warned him after all. Every soul that goes to hell eventually turns into a demon, though Dean was fairly positive that this was not what she'd had in mind when imparting that bit of information.
"Yeah," Sam said as he settled down next to his brother. "Once we tracked down the right Norma Bleeker, it was easy to find where Luke Wallace lived."
"Good." Dean nodded. "We'll get there, find out what caused his death, stop it, and get out."
"It's going to be weird leaving here," Dean said, interrupting his brother.
Dean kept his head down and shrugged his shoulders. "Because I'll be coming back. We never did that before."
"Oh." Sam's voice sounded small and Dean turned his head slightly to look at his brother's slumped form.
"Thought things would go back to the way they used to be?"
"Well, yeah." It was Sam's turn to shrug. "That's how things have always worked."
"That was before."
"Before what, Dean?"
"Before I died," Dean stated casually. "Before I got brought back with a demon in me and visions pounding my head."
"So one last road trip, huh?"
"I didn't say that," Dean said. "I just said that I had to come back. I'm Spike's seer now." He barely resisted the urge to roll his eyes. The word Seer sounded so formal, and just a bit pompous. It was everything Dean wasn't.
"Well, it's about time we got separate rooms. And oh thank God, I won't have to share a bathroom with you and your weird teeth brushing habits anymore."
"Huh?" Dean turned, finally lifting his head to look Sam in the eyes.
"What?" Sam said, finally letting his grin break free. "Did you actually think I was going to leave you here in L.A without me? Dude, you wouldn't know what to do with yourself."
"Shut it, Geek boy," Dean said, smacking Sam on the back of his head. The anxiety that had been squeezing his heart since their fight disappeared at Sam's words. He could finally breathe again. Standing, Dean grabbed Sam's arm, dragging him towards the garden doors. "Come, we've got work to do."
Oct. 30, 2008: 171 Days Later
The motel room was just as gaudy as the countless others Dean had been in over the years. Two double beds, a hideous green couch, and the prerequisite table and chairs. The beds, Dean knew, were thankfully clean but smelled of dust. After a brief test, he found the mattresses were as soft as the floor. It made Dean homesick, which surprised him. He still couldn't believe he had an actual home to go back to, and all it took as coming back from the dead. Shaking his head, Dean settled down on the couch. Not surprisingly, it was just as uncomfortable as the beds.
Flipping open his phone, Dean took one look at the tiny screen and rolled his eyes. Three missed calls, and Dean was willing to bet there were three fairly annoyed voices mails to go with them. Sighing, Dean hit speed dial, and waited. It wasn't a long wait, and the gruff voice on the other end was exactly what he'd expected.
"Why the bloody hell haven't you two called?"
"Dude, we just got a room."
"Still could have called, Dean." Great, his first name. Next thing he knew Spike would be adding Winchester as well, and sounding alarmingly like his father when he'd been annoyed. It made Dean feel all of three inches tall, and he hated it. "Spike, we had a long drive. Then we had to talk to Mrs. Wallace, so give me a break."
Silence greeted his words, and Dean braced himself for the explosion. "What did you find out?"
"You're not going to yell?" Spike's amused chuckle helped Dean relax and he sank back into the couch.
"Not at the moment," Spike answered. "Besides, Slayer's giving me the evil eye so I'd better behave myself."
Dean heard Buffy's distinct voice carry over the phone. "About time you realized who ran this relationship."
"She so owns you," Dean laughed. When Sam walked in, Dean noticed the amused look on his brother's face, and promptly flipped him off.
"Not even going to justify that one, mate," Spike said.
"Has he read you the riot act yet?" Sam grinned, unwilling to pass up the chance to needle Dean.
"Dude, shut it."
"Tell Little Brother, I'll do more than that if either of you don't answer the bloody phone next time."
Dean let out a bark of laughter. "Dude, he just threatened to include you in the riot act as well."
"We were working on the case." Sam rolled his eyes as he set up his laptop on the coffee table and sank down next to Dean. Dean pulled his phone away and switched it to speaker.
"You hear that Spike?" Dean quipped, his voice taking on the snide tone he'd perfected in principle offices, and police stations, across the country. "We were busy."
"Ha, bloody, ha," Spike grumbled. "Now tell me what you two wankers found out."
"We found a hex bag," Sam answered before Dean could reply. Sending his brother a pointed glare, Sam went back to typing. "And not your typical hex bag either."
"Oh, Willow's going to love this." Buffy's voice drifted over the line. Seemed Spike had put them on speakerphone as well.
"So you lot have a witch on your hands." Spike's voice was soft and Dean could just imagine the thoughts in the vampire's agile mind.
"Yeah," Sam said.
"What was in the bag?" Angel this time, though his voice was distant.
"Gold thread, some herb that's been extinct for two hundred years, a Celtic coin, and the charred metacarpal bone of a newborn baby."
"Eww, gross." Sam couldn't help laughing at Buffy's words, especially when they went so well with the look on Dean's face.
"Let me guess," Spike said, his amusement carrying over the line. "Big Bother was holding it wasn't he?"
"Dude, not funny," Dean grumbled wiping his hand on his jeans. "Now I feel all dirty."
"Relax, man, it's at least a hundred years old," Sam said, picking up the small bone.
"Still gross," Buffy said. They could hear the others laughing in the background at her words. "Well, it is!"
"She's right." Dean nodded point at the phone. Shaking his head, Dean got up, heading for the bathroom. He really wanted to wash his hands. "Witches, man, they're so friggin' skeevey."
"Wasn't talking about you, Willow," Dean called over his shoulder.
"Anyway," Sam said. "It takes a pretty powerful one to put something like this together."
"Did you take pictures?"
"Good," Spike said. "Send them to Willow. She might be able to tell you what they're made for."
"You mean besides killing people?" Dean asked, walking back into the room.
"See if Angel, or Bobby, can find out what that coin is, too," Sam said, ignoring his brother.
"Will do," Spike replied. "And next time, answer the bloody phone or I'm coming down there."
A dial tone followed quickly and Dean couldn't help but glare at the phone. "Dude, sometimes I think he's worse than Dad ever was."
"He's had more practice." Sam laughed, as he began searching for more information on the hex bag.
"Very funny," Dean grumbled. Lying back on his bed, Dean sighed closing his eyes. When the vision hit, he nearly fell off the bed. The image of a basement flashed quickly before his eyes, Halloween decorations littering the walls. There were several bored teenagers in various costumes scattered in small groups around the room. In the center of it all was a tub full of water, apples gently bobbing on the surface.
Then the image switched and a dark haired girl was leaning over the tub, her face in the water. Dean could hear her screams, could feel the heat of the water around her face. He knew her heart was racing, knew her lungs were burning with the need for oxygen, and he could feel two sets of hands trying, and failing, to pull her out. It ended just before she died. When he opened his eyes, Sam was kneeling next to him, holding his arms in a vice grip.
"Thanks," Dean said, voice rough.
"Girl dies bobbing for apples," Dean replied, wincing at the pain in his head. Sam started to rise, only to stop when Dean grabbed his arm. Seeing the look on his brother's face, Sam sighed, shoulders slumping.
"Girl's already dead isn't she?"
"Yeah." Dean nodded.
"I don't get it," Sam growled, jerking away from Dean. "Why show you these things if we can't stop it?"
"Cause the Power's are cruel dicks?" Dean grumbled. At Sam's look, he shrugged. "At least that's what Buffy's told me."
"Did you get where this happened?" Sam sighed.
"Yeah," Dean said reaching for the aspirin on the nightstand next to him. Downing three pills, Dean grimaced at the sour taste they left behind, and wished he had something a bit stronger to fight the pain.
Spike sat on the roof, his legs hanging over the side. His cigarette hung from his mouth, smoke curling to join the already smog heavy sky. Dean had been gone for only a day, and if it hadn't been for the frantic need to find the rouge witch, Spike would have felt his old friend apathy settling in. Sure, Spike knew that Dean was planning to come back, he'd only taken enough clothing to last for a few days, but a small part of Spike still feared that he would send for his things, choosing to stay with Sam rather than return. Spike knew his fear was unfounded, since both brothers planned on returning.
"You know, for a second there, I thought that smoke was coming from your ears." Buffy was soon sitting next to him, her shoulder bumping his. "Then I noticed the cigarette."
"Ha, ha, Slayer," Spike said as he took one last drag from his cigarette and then tossed it away. Turning, he brought his gaze to her smiling face. "What brings you up here?"
"Dean called, again," Buffy said. "He said they got a visit from their more angelic acquaintances."
"Bloody hell," Spike grumbled, rubbing his face. "There's more than one?"
"Yeah," Buffy said, her tone carrying a hint of awe and anger. "They met Uriel. And Willow is completely wigging out over this, by the way. I think her and Giles are in research heaven. On the other hand, Dean says he's a dick."
Spike snorted in replied. "Why am I not surprised?"
"Because we've dealt with Higher Beings before." Buffy rolled her eyes in disgust. "And it seems that these angels are a bit smite happy as well."
"Oh?" Spike turned to look at Buffy, eyebrow raised.
"They wanted to destroy the town," Buffy said, eyes narrowing.
"Bloody hell! Dean-"
"Managed to talk them out of it," Buffy hurried to say before Spike could rush off. "With a little help from the Powers. They know where the witch is."
Spike's shoulders slumped in relief, though he couldn't help thinking of all those people. If Dean had not…Spike shook his head. He refused to go down that path.
"Spike," Buffy said, her tone taking on a softer note. "How are we going to do this?"
"Well, first off we're going to help Dean and Sam find this wrinkly hag and put a stop to her ticks," Spike answered, gaze turning to the Los Angeles skyline. "Maybe even get Red to work her mojo on their records once this case is taken care. Can't have the FBI charging in and arresting anyone while we're trying to save the world."
"That's not what I meant."
"I know, luv," Spike said. "But that's something we can actually do something about."
"Spike." Buffy grabbed his arm, her grip tight enough to bruise. "Lilith is trying to raise the freaking Devil. With the Senior Partner's help!"
"We fought the First."
"But…" Buffy sighed.
"There were no actual angels involved then," Spike said. "And you were the one leading the charge."
"It's not fair." Buffy's voice cracked and her shoulders sagged.
"Life's not fair, luv," Spike replied as he slid his hand along her cheek, turning her to face him. He gently kissed her forehead before letting his forehead rest against hers. "But they're not alone anymore. And neither are we."