Okay, I am SOOO sorry about the extremely long wait for this chapter… I did have most of it written up, but then my computer crashed and I lost the entire chapter :( It took me a while to get back on and write it again. I do feel that this version is better though.
A huge thanks to everyone who has reviewed, followed or favourited this fic. Over 100 reviews! It really means a lot, so thanks!
And because it's very unlikely I'll get another chapter done before Christmas… Merry Christmas to everyone and have a happy (and safe) New Year!
I'm especially looking forward to seeing The Hobbit (it doesn't come out in Australia until Boxing Day). I love seeing my home country on the big screen haha.
This has not been beta'd, just a quick look-over by me. Please excuse any mistakes...
Long author's note - fin.
THE LAST NIGHT
They were going to get Sam back.
John Winchester growled low in his throat, thinking of what those bastard demons could have done to his youngest son as he drove towards the once-abandoned farm house where they were keeping him. His hands gripped the wheel of the black '67 Impala tightly, his knuckles turning white with the pressure. If they had hurt his son… There wouldn't be a force on earth, heaven or hell strong enough to stop his fury.
It had been a long and arduous day for the Winchester patriarch. They'd spent most of the day at the hospital with Dean as he swam in and out of consciousness. They still had him on some pretty heavy duty drugs – to combat the pain he was no doubt in, and to help stave off infection. It didn't stop the teenager from asking about his brother every time he woke though.
Caleb had found something about a demon of vengeance in one of Bobby's old demonology books and had disappeared for a few hours to try and follow it up after the call to Bobby had turned up nothing. He'd been gone for hours and when he'd come back, the news he brought wasn't what John had wanted to hear at all.
-earlier that day-
"John!" Caleb came rushing into the hospital room; face slightly flushed from excessive exercise. He was gripping a few loose pieces of paper in one hand, the dirty parchment slightly worse for wear.
"Caleb?" John asked, looking up from where he was sitting beside his son's bed. Dean was lying, disturbingly still, on the hospital bed. The oxygen mask was still in place as well as the several IV's, distributing the necessary painkillers and other medication that he needed.
Caleb closed the door behind him quietly, before making his way over to where there was a spare seat. He mumbled a quick hello to the unconscious teen and slumped into the available seat. He was not looking forward to telling John what he'd found out…
It had been hard work. He'd only had a few words to go by – 'demon of vengeance' and while there were plenty of mentions of demons wanting vengeance and several 'vengeance demons', but Caleb had been searching for the very particular phrase of 'demon of vengeance.'
Finally, after what seemed like hours and hours of work, he had stumbled across and old text that told the story of an old, corrupt priest in the early 1900's hiring a demon called Arioch to do his dirty work; which included the murder of several of his fellow villagers who were against his teachings. From there, Caleb decided to pursue the 'Arioch' angle.
Three insanely large books, four phone calls and fifteen cups of coffee later, Caleb found what he was looking for. And it was in the most unlikely place…
…an actual published book in the 1950's.
It wasn't a lot to go on, but it hadn't calmed Caleb's nerves any.
'Arioch: Demon of vengeance, according to some demonologists. He is different from Alastor, and occupies himself only with vengeance in particular cases where he is employed.'
Caleb sighed. This wasn't going well. "Arioch is the Demon of Vengeance – as in, the only one. There are vengeance demons, but this guy is the head honcho. He's summoned by whoever has the means to do so and is 'hired' by them to do their dirty work. That's the only way he exacts his vengeance – unlike the other vengeance demons who just create havoc in their mission for revenge."
John swallowed. So this Arioch demon only concerned himself with vengeance when he was working for someone else? What kind of demon did that?
"So you're saying that for this… Arioch to exact vengeance upon someone, he has to be 'employed' at the time?"
"Yeah…" Caleb confirmed. "And from the stories I've read," he waved the crumpled papers in his hand around, "he doesn't stop until the task is completed. He's never failed yet."
The eldest Winchester sighed and clenched his fists. God dammit…
"And how does one go about summoning and employing Arioch?"
Caleb winced. That was the part he really wasn't looking forward to telling John. He didn't answer straight away, staring down at the papers he'd dropped on his knees to avoid John's gaze.
"Caleb?" The younger hunter winced again as John growled his name, drawing out the vowels in a slightly menacing way. Shit.
Inhaling deeply, Caleb looked up. "That's where the blood, sacrifice and vessel come into play."
"To summon Arioch, one must have several key ingredients. It requires a tricky process, which can take some time to complete," Caleb read off one of the papers now residing in his hand. "One such ingredient is the 'blood of the hunted.' Arioch requires the blood of those his employer wishes to track and destroy. By using the blood in the summoning ritual, Arioch is tied to whoever the blood belongs to and is able to track them…" he trailed off, not really wanting to say the last word written in that paragraph.
John frowned. The look on Caleb's face was making him uneasy. "And?" he snapped loudly, before quickly looking over at Dean, checking to see if the injured boy was still asleep. Thankfully he was.
"Arioch will be able to track them… forever."
John closed his eyes and rested his head in his hands. Fuck. That was definitely not what he wanted to hear. "What else?" he asked, resigned.
Caleb started reading again. "A sacrifice is also needed to summon Arioch. Four souls will be need to be forfeited in order to gain enough spiritual energy to bring froth the soul of the damned. These souls, unlike most other rituals, must not be pure in nature."
"Jeezus, this is one dark summoning…" John murmured. Souls that had to be tainted? This was some dark magic and John was starting to think they were in over their heads…
"The last aspect to the ritual is a vessel. Arioch is unable to take form in the human realm by himself and is need of a vessel to carry out his work. The vessel must be male, mature in age and also must have a tainted soul. This way, Arioch will be able to merge properly with the host and utilize his abilities to the fullest."
The younger hunter sighed and placed the papers on his knee again before looking back up at John.
"That's all the book said. There's no mention of what the incantation is, nor is there anything said about a way to reverse the process."
"Dammit!" John cursed, standing up and sending the plastic chair skidding backwards and crashing to the floor with a clatter. "We've got to get Sam back!" If those demons had Sam… and they had his blood…
John was snapped out of his internal rage by the weak, muffled voice coming from the hospital bed. Dean was awake, his green eyes open, but glazed.
"Dad?" he repeated.
"Dean," John breathed as he quickly made his way to his son's side. Dean was struggling with the mask resting over his mouth, but was too weak to pull it away.
"Leave it, son. It's there to help."
"Where's… Sam?" he asked, blinking lethargically. John could see that Dean wasn't going to be able to stay awake for much longer. The drugs pumping through his system were really screwing with his body.
"He's resting at the moment, buddy," John lied. Dean needed to focus on his recovery first and foremost.
"You're… lying…" Dean coughed, taking in a wheezing breath. He felt like death warmed over. His head was pounding, yet it wasn't. He was hazy, like in some kind of fog. But even through the thick fog he knew his dad was lying.
"Where… is… he?" he gasped.
John bit his lower lip and was about to answer when Caleb came up and pulled him aside.
"Tell him, John. He deserves to know. And I think we're going to have to spring him. If those demons have Sam's blood, then there's a high chance they'll be coming after Dean's too – if they don't have it already. He'll be safer with us."
Caleb was right, John realised. There was no telling what the demons could have done while Dean was in hospital. The amount of blood tests he'd gone through…
"Dammit…" he murmured. He approached Dean's bed again, watching as his son struggled to sit up.
"Stay, Dean." A deep sigh. "Here's the thing…"
And that was how it began. Hours later, John was driving towards the farm house. Bobby had called not long after he had told Dean about Sam, saying that he'd found him. After calling in a few favours with some local law enforcement, they'd found strange activity occurring at one of the old, abandoned farm houses. Bobby had gone to check it out and had discovered the presence of several demons. That had been enough for John.
Dean was bundled up in the back seat, half asleep. They'd snuck him out of the hospital. It had been bloody hard, but they'd managed it and Caleb had managed to acquire an IV stand, several bags of hospital strength liquid painkillers, antibiotics and a couple of nutritional bags to try and keep Dean hydrated while he couldn't stomach solid food. They'd also filled a few duffel bags with antiseptic, bandages, needles and thread, steri-strips and other medical supplies.
Bobby was waiting for them a couple of miles from the farm house. They were going to meet up with him and while Caleb and John went in to extract Sam and destroy the demons, Bobby was going to stay with Dean. John didn't want him left alone, especially with his condition and the fact it was very likely the demons were after him too.
It wasn't long before John saw Bobby's old beat-up Dodge Charger parked on the side of the road, headlights dimmed. He tightened his grip on the steering wheel again, fury racing through his veins.
This was it.
He was going to get Sam back and destroy these demons once and for all.
It had all started with a school dance and had somehow morphed into a bloody demon summoning ritual. One of his son's had been shot and should really still be in the hospital, while his other son had offered himself up to a bunch of demons to save his brother's life and was now a hostage in some twisted ritual.
John still didn't know what the hell this ritual had to do with his boys, but he wasn't about to let his boys be involved in it in any way. They were going to have to deal with him first.
They'd better watch out, John thought as he pulled the Impala up next to Bobby's Charger.
John Winchester was about to hit them and he was pissed.
Info about Arioch comes from "Encyclopaedia of Occultism" by Lewis Spence. © 1959 (found on a demonology website).
Thanks for reading. Hope you enjoyed! Sorry not much happened in this chapter, but it was needed to keep the plot going. The action kicks off in the next chapter :)