Another loooonnng wait between chapters, but I hope you enjoy this one :) Contains Van Lancaster, an OC of my lovely friend Selah25 :)
Oh, forgive my bad Latin. Thank Google Translate ;)
"Ghosts?" Sam repeated to Cassidy while she helped herself to one of Bobby's cold beers.
"Yes," Cass snapped of the bottle top and swigged down a mouthful. "Ghosts."
Sam folded his arms. "And we're keeping this from Dean why?" Cassidy had gestured for Sam to follow her to the privacy of the kitchen while Dean was busy changing JD and Bobby was deep into his research.
"Because I think the ghost has something to do with Andie." Cass said. "Look, Bobby's research said the Whore of Babylon torments the mother of this prophesied soldier child. But Andie's not just a mother, she's part angel, so everything is screwed up."
Sam gave her a confused frown. "You're saying if Andie were a human, mortal chick we wouldn't be in this mess?"
"Exactly," Cass nodded. "She's such a basket-case she can't even get haunted right."
"But if that's the case, then why is Castiel gone, too?" Sam asked. "And Ellie? Why are they all stuck on an Astral Plane?"
"Well... my theory... is... that..." Cass's mouth just hung open. She sighed and shrugged. "No idea. I thought it'd come to me if I just started the sentence."
Sam exhaled loudly. "Bobby said the Astral Plane was place of peace, right? That Andie's being kept their for safety. Andie's getting haunted and it triggers some sort of angel alert, so God or whoever freaks out and stuffs all the angels on the Astral Plane to avoid some kind of angel massacre."
Cass raised her eyebrows at him and smiled. "You're a genius, Sam. You'd have been a brilliant doctor."
"I was studying to be a lawyer."
"Same thing," Cass gave a disinterested shrug.
"Hold on," Thinking back to his studying days gave Sam a sudden idea. "I think I know who can help us."
An hour later there was a knock at the door. A tense Cassidy with her fists balled at her sides stalked towards the door and opened it. On the porch was Van, one of Andie's extremely limited number of friends she had been able to keep. Van was a Professor, so in Sam's book he figured she would be a good person to call. Then he brought Dean in on their theory about Andie and Cass had been outvoted.
Dressed in form fitting jeans and a black and red off the shoulder t-shirt, Van stood on the porch with her arms folded and a satchel bag looped around her neck. Van was lean and athletic in a way that Cassidy could never be, she envied that. But it would be a cold day in Hell with flying pigs and a black Michael Jackson before Cassidy ever told her that.
"Andie's knocked out and you're being haunted by a Whore?" Van raised her one brown eyebrow at Cassidy. "Am I right or am I right?"
Cassidy kept her face even. "Do I know you?"
"If you want me to wake up Andie, drop the attitude. Anyway," Van knocked Cass in the shoulder with her fist. "I thought we were buds now."
With a frown, Cassidy stood aside and let Van in. "Don't be so sure." She muttered. Having only had a handful of run-ins with Andie's old friend in the past, Cassidy had found they rubbed each other the wrong way. Andie said it's because they were so similar. Cass and Van disagreed.
Cass locked Bobby's front door and joined Van in the living room. Sam and Dean stood side by side, next to Dean was a pram where J.D. was dozing inside. "You can wake up Andie?" Dean was asking as Cassidy came in.
"I don't have to." Van said. "If Andie and all the angels and half-breeds and whatever are being kept safe from this haunting, we deal with the haunting and then Andie should be sent back."
Dean looked at her sideways. "Should?"
"I've never dealt with a haunted angel before," Van stood straight. "Have you?" She took the silence in the room as the answer. "Things are different."
"Then why are you here?" Cass asked. "You could have told us all of this over the phone."
"Yes, but I couldn't give you this," Van slid her bag onto the coffee table and unlatched it. She reached inside and pulled out a statue made of stone.
Cass narrowed her eyes at the sculpture. The terracotta stone was about the size of a cinderblock and was sculpted into some sort of demon horse with seven heads. Each head had a similar, nasty looking face of a dragon with its mouth wide open and tongue lashing out in a silent hiss. Riding on top of this creature was a figure of a woman who looked as dainty as an 1700's girl sitting down for a picnic. Her open palm carried a chalice which was not made of terracotta like the rest of the statue, it glimmered and shined in a way that Cassidy knew it must have been gold. The odd turban-like hat the dainty woman wore was made of the same glimmering metal.
"This," Van gestured grandly to her statue. "Is the Whore of Babylon."
"She might be a whore, but she dresses like a pimp." Cass snorted at her own joke not caring that no one else joined her.
"But I killed her," Dean said to Van. "She didn't look like that and sure as hell wasn't riding a dragon-pony."
"You killed her vessel, but she's not dead." Van explained. "Her spirit is haunting Andie, she wants revenge so she's reaching out from wherever she is to mess with you." Van twisted the statue around so the dragons heads were facing away from her. "We have to resurrect the Whore's spirit, banish it into this statue, then break it and bury the pieces on holy ground."
Dean caught eyes with Cassidy for a moment. "And then Andie will wake up?" Cass asked.
Van nodded. "That's the plan," She got to her feet and picked up her statue. "So are we gonna do this or just sit around some more?"
There were few things that scared Cassidy, but summoning demon ghosts was one of them. She also didn't like leaving JD alone with Bobby and Dean when Andie was out cold, but they had to travel to the nearest sacred ground and there was no way Cass would be bringing the baby along. Dean was in the panic room with his wife and son waiting for Sam, Van and Cassidy to complete their ritual.
Sam drove them to a church that had been built on a graveyard. Van lead the way through the tombstones, some of which Cass noted were dated in the 1800's, until they came to a clearing. The ground was mostly dirt with scattered, thinning grass poking through. Van set the terracotta sculpture of the Whore of Babylon in the ground and began drawing symbols in the dirt and setting out candles.
"Are you going to stick around?" Sam asked Cassidy casually as he followed Van's instructions for the order in which he lit the candles.
"When Andie wakes up?"
"For a little bit, yeah," Cass said. "Why?"
Sam shrugged and continued lighting candles. "No reason,"
Cassidy got the distinct impression that there was a reason, but Sam was stubborn and Cass knew he wouldn't tell her. Something odd was happening with Sam lately, she'd picked up on it as soon as she had arrived at Bobby's. But with Andie collapsing and JD needing her, she hadn't been all that focused on Sam.
"Okay," Van slapped her hands on her jeans to get the dirt off them. At her feet was an open book and a weathered baseball bat. "Ready?"
Cass nodded. "Let's do this."
Van knelt before the statue, put the book in her lap and gestured to Sam and Cassidy to kneel on either side of her. "We've got limited time to do this, alright?" Van reminded them. "Sam, be ready to beat the crap out of the statue." She handed him the baseball bat.
"I could explode it," Cassidy offered. "You know I'm electro-powerful."
"Yes, but you can't control it, it spurts out at random and at different wattages, so a bat is slightly more reliable." Van shrugged. "Sorry." She took a breath and cleared her throat, then read from the book in her lap. "Babylon meretrix duce me et verba mea coram te," she spoke in fluent Latin. "A plano ubi habitas, tuum iudicium redire. Vobis ultima vale. Vobis ultima vale..."
The wind picked up in quick bursts, swirling the dirt up in small gusts and making the flames of the candles flicker. Van kept muttering Latin underneath her breath. A small light formed in the centre of the terracotta statue. It brightened, more and more until the Whore of Babylon statue was lit up like a lamp had been switched on. The light pulsed light a dimmer switch was being dialled back and forwards.
"Sam?" Van suddenly spoke in crisp, clear English. "Bat, now."
Sam jumped to his feet and gripped the handle of the bat. "You might wanna duck," He said before taking a huge swing at the statue.
Cass and Van crouched down to the ground as Sam cracked the bat against the statue. A wild scream echoed as the bat broke through the terracotta. A pained scream, a woman wailing in frustration. As the scream died down, the wind slowed, and then when the air was still all the candles snuffed out.
Cass leant up off the ground to see the statue had been successfully smashed into chunks. Van, looking pleased with herself, pocketed one of the pieces. "All of you take a piece and bury it at a church or graveyard. If you want to be even safer, break it a few more times and put the pieces in a bunch of different places."
Sam turned over his piece of the statue in his palm. "She's gone for good?"
"Someone will have to find all of these pieces, put the statue back together and invoke some seriously dark evil to attempt to bring her back." Van packed up the remaining pieces of the statue into her bag. "And I doubt they will, Whore of Babylon is not that big a threat in the scheme of things. She's just a cockroach, you think she's dead but then she scuttles back to life somewhere."
Cassidy's phone buzzed in her back pocket. It was a text from Dean. "Andie's awake." Cass smiled with relief. She looked to Van. "Thank you," she said quietly. "I could have done it, but thank you."
"You couldn't have done it," Van said. "And you're welcome."
Andie had been technically sleeping for so long, but she felt like she hadn't slept at all. She was awake on the Astral Plane, so she hadn't really slept at all. And, as was her life now, the first sound she had heard when she opened her eyes was her son crying for her. She hadn't set him down in the hour since she'd woken up. It had felt completely odd not to be able to hold him for so long. Not that she wanted to hold him all the time, but having the option taken from her was utterly frustrating.
After everyone, including Van, had a dinner of pizza and beer, Andie had returned to the panic room with her son to put him to bed. She was leaning over JD in his pram as he wriggled on his back and made little baby noises. "My little Bug man," Andie smiled at him and ran her finger down his soft cheek. "Mummy missed you just a little bit."
"You are so soft now," Van's voice said softly from the doorway of the panic room. "You know that, right?
"Your barren ovaries will never produce something as perfect as my baby," Andie replied smugly. "So suck it."
"So, you don't find it worrying that when your group is in a bind and needs someone with brains, they call me?"
"No," Andie shrugged. "I'm the brains, and I was unconscious. What were they s'posed to do?" She pulled a blanket up to JD's tummy and tucked it in at his sides.
Van smiled. "It's a good look for you," she said a moment later. "Proud Mama."
Andie's cheeks heated and she didn't look at Van. Compliments on her parenting were extremely weird for her to hear. Andie noticed out of the corner of her eye that Van was carrying her bag over her shoulder. "Are you leaving?"
"Yeah, I've got pieces of a statue to bury in random graveyards and churchyards all the way home anyway." Van came further into the panic room and peered into JD's pram. "He's really got that cute smushed babyface thing working for him, doesn't he?"
"He's perfect," Andie said, fully aware that she was sure she sounded mental but not giving a damn about it. Her baby was perfectly perfect.
"So, the whole saving your life and putting your family back together?" Van said with a raised eyebrow. "I'm pretty happy to say that you owe me one now."
"Just tell me where you need me and I'll be sure to avoid you," Andie said.
Van mussed up Andie's hair and turned to leave. "I'm laughing on the inside, where it counts."
"Drive safe," Andie called after her.
"I will," Van hovered in the doorway for a second. "Mummy." And then she was gone.
Andie found it oddly easy to suppress her desire to scream out a string of curse words after Van. Instead, she focused on her baby boy. He was making this face that looked like he was smiling, but then he spit up all over himself. "Yeah," Andie said to herself as she untucked her son. "I'm definitely a Mummy."