"Fen never really knew his Daddy."
"Is that right?" Dean attempted a polite smile as he and Sam were shown into the small and crowded trailer. Sure, they were hardly slim to begin with, but they felt ridiculously out of place in this old woman's trailer, which could barely fit them both and had not been redecorated since the late 60s. He exchanged a glance with Sam, noticing the fake Native American artwork, and the glitter-glued statues of cherubim fairies. Not that they could comment, he supposed, given some of the places they'd stayed over the years. Mrs Kane went to the kitchenette, leaving the Winchesters to fold themselves onto the sagging couches.
"He was only very little when the three of them got cast out. Poor boy." She sighed, fetching a pitcher of iced tea from the fridge. "He was just misunderstood. And those Gods…" She tutted. "I don't approve of what they done."
"The fettering?" Sam was glad they had done a little research, now that the panic over being mauled by a giant wolf was out of the way. "Wasn't he supposed to be bound somewhere and left there?"
"It's what they say, in the myths." Mrs Kane nodded, carrying the pitcher in one hand and three glasses in the other, depositing them on the low coffee table and sinking into a barker lounger that had not only seen better days, but forgotten them.
"The myths aren't true, then?" Dean shot another polite smile, before pouring himself some iced tea.
"Not all of them." Mrs Kane had a dark, oddly terrifying smile. "He was bound and fettered, so he says, but them Gods moved him all over, hoping he'd never meet up with his siblings, praying he'd never meet up with his Daddy."
"How do you know? Can he…" Sam felt stupid for saying it. "Can he speak?"
"Not any language you'd know. But if you're willing to listen, he'll speak to you." She poured herself some iced tea. Dean wished he hadn't given himself such a big glass; it was like drinking powdered sugar.
"So that's Hel. She's pretty as I imagined." Martha smiled, tapping her fingernails against the glass. "You know what she wants with Fen?"
"She's trying to work up a ritual." Sam said, deciding against the iced tea, based on his brother's slight wincing. "I'm not sure how much we can tell you…"
"Damn Valkyries on her tail?" Martha tutted, resting her glass on the table. "Fen's been with me now since I was just a little girl. He's told me just about everything he knows about where he came from, so I tell you this. Whatever that girl's doing, don't let them Valkyries get her. They take her back, they hurt her. Not physical, mind, they never hurt the bodies. But she be treated like shit if they drag her back, you understand?"
She glared at both Sam and Dean, her eyes dark, her old face stern.
"Something been wrong in Asgard for millenniums. That girl and her brothers deserve a break, and if likes of us have to help them catch it, then so be it."
Sam nodded, not really sure of what else to do. It was at that point that Hella stuck her head around the trailer door, grinning broadly.
"Guys! Guys! I'm an auntie!"
The Irish wolfhound was, apparently, named Beans. She was pedigree, or so the owner claimed. Sam did wonder how a guy living in a trailer that had the trucker mud-flap girl painted up the side could afford a pedigree dog, but Hella had told him to be nice, because she was the love of Fenrir's life.
As he saw the dogs curled around each other, a litter of four shaggy, grey-haired puppies running around their feet, Sam believed it. He also became distantly aware of how weird his life had gotten, and for a Winchester, that was saying something.
Dean grinned, picking up one of the puppies.
"They are kind of cute."
"Kind of? They're adorable!" Hella was cooing over all six canines, looking ecstatic. She froze, staring up at the brothers with a grin of wicked realisation. "Oh my God! Dad's a Granddad! I can't wait to tell him!"
That made Sam laugh. The idea of Gabriel, who's suicide note had been in the form of a porn DVD, receiving the news that he was a granddad to a litter of four mutt puppies was oddly hysterical. After a while of cooing and cuddling, Hella stood up, shaking Mrs. Kane's hand.
"We should probably get going. Thank you for your hospitality."
"Pleasure was mine, dear. You stop by any time, now. It's the happiest I've seen my Fen in a long time."
Fenrir trotted up to them, nuzzling Hella's knee. She petted him, and whispered something to him in Norwegian. The wolf seemed to nod, before turning to the Winchesters and extending a paw. Blinking, Sam and Dean both shook with the wolf, Sam happy to know that his brother had the same questions regarding the sudden weirdness of their lives that he did.
Hella clipped some hair from Fenrir's back, and placed it in a Ziploc bag. After a long goodbye, they made their way back to the motel. Hella slept soundly, and Dean informed Sam that he didn't like iced tea.
Sam thought they should get a dog.
The drive to the Rockview correctional institute in Pennsylvania was long and for the most part uneventful. Hella was still cooing over her newly discovered nieces and nephews, and Dean was still laughing over the idea of how the ex-trickster would react to the news. Sam was quietly, mentally noting down what he knew so far about Hella and her family, trying to build up a concise picture. It wasn't much, for now, but he had a feeling the further they went, and the more they spoke with each other, the more they'd learn.
That was when it hit.
The road, it should be mentioned, was a long, flat road, which was pretty much empty and pretty much straight. Clear driving.
Or, it would have been, if the gold and white muscle car hadn't literally shot out of nowhere and screeched to a halt in front of them. Dean, while slamming on the brakes, realised it was a nineteen-sixty eight mustang.
Sam, once his head had stopped spinning, realised that the woman who got out of the car was impossibly hot.
Hella, once she'd scraped her hair out of her eyes and seen the woman, realised they were in a shitload of trouble.
"Get out of the car." She spoke clearly, her eyes fixed on the woman. The woman was doing nothing. She had gotten out of the car, but was now just stood there, beside it, staring at them.
"What? We can just…"
"Get out of the car." Hella's voice resonated with something much deeper, a sort of richness which reminded Sam of the various angels they'd argued with. Judging by Dean's pained wince, it reminded him of one particular angel. They got out of the car.
"Hel." The woman spoke. She had auburn hair, which hung and curled down to her waist. Her skin was tanned, in the way pale skin will tan and freckle. She wore a gold dress, under a long white cape, and was glaring at them with piercing blue eyes. She scared the shit out of Sam.
"Du må komme med meg nå. Åsgard er…"
"Valkyrie." Hella had stood perfectly still, drawn up to her full height, her hands clenched in fists at her sides. "Speak in English, that my companions may understand you."
The Valkyrie faltered for a moment, before resuming her fearsome appearance. They only stood a few feet away from each other, but it seemed as if they were miles apart, calling to each other across a battlefield.
"You must come with me now. Asgard is free from the wars that racked us so. We have to choose Odin's successor…"
"Which you won't need me for."
Sam had, over the past couple of days, noted quite a few similarities between Hella and her father. She seemed more like him now, though, than ever. She stares at the Valkyrie, her manner somewhere between casual and commanding, between a humorous smirk and a stern glare. All the while, a plan was forming, and you could see in her eyes how the wheels turned. She was very much like her father.
"All the members of Asgard must be present…"
"I am not a member of Asgard. I was cast out. State your true purpose, Valkyrie."
The Valkyrie paused, examining them. Angels, at least, had the bird-like head-tilt when they were watching you squirm. Valkyries, it seemed, made Angels look like goddamned poets when it came to expression and empathy.
"This ritual you hope to cast. It cannot be allowed. Loki cannot be resurrected."
"Why not? Because it will inconvenience the big wigs?" She smirked again. "That's just another reason to do it."
Sam looked at Dean, who shrugged. To say they were something out of their depth was an understatement. Normally, they'd chip in and be intimidating, or interrogating, or wise-cracking or something. But Hella was giving off a vibe that said "interrupt on pain of death".
"You will place yourself in danger. For your own safety, we must return you now to Hellheim."
"No. I'm not going back with you."
Sam's eyes darted nervously as he picked up on the fearful tremble in her voice. She stayed strong though.
"The Valkyries are not the only party determined to find you, Hel. For your own safety…"
"No. I refuse."
"You will not return to Hellheim?"
The Valkyrie stared at her.
Hella stared back. Sam, without realising he was doing it, rested a hand on her shoulder.
"Let us pass."
"I will have to inform my superiors."
"You do that. Just let us go."
The Valkyrie nodded, got back into her car, and drove off. Hella practically staggered into Sam, reeling from the relief of the tense atmosphere.
"Seriously?" Dean attempted to laugh as he got back into the car. "I was expecting something a little more wrathful. Aren't they supposed to be… I dunno, warrior princesses or something?"
"You humans…" She rolled her eyes, lying down across the back seat. "You only ever see with your eyes." She sounded like she'd just gone five rounds with a mad rhino, but she said nothing more, letting her arm rest so her eyes were covered with the crook of her elbow.
Sam and Dean shrugged to each other. After a while, they carried on driving.
After another while, they had to stop so Hella could be sick by the side of the road. Once she had finished, she created a bottle of water for herself, and groaned. They decided not to drive for a while, until Hella had gotten herself together.
"There was a fight going on, back there. A sort of… battle of wills, I guess." She coughed, and spat onto the ground before sipping at her water again. "Invisible to the human eye. That's what Valkyries do."
"I fucking hate Valkyries."
"I'm not sure you should be swearing."
She looked up at him, her grey-green eyes shining with that golden malice that kept reminding him of Gabriel.
"I'm not sure you should be telling me how to speak. Come on, let's get going."
She swung her feet around so she was properly in the car again, and closed the door. Sam glanced at Dean, who was grinning insufferably.
They got back into the car, and drove the short distance to the Rockview correctional institute. By the time they arrived, Hella was cool, controlled and charming once more, and Sam felt he had gotten to know her a little better. Whether that was a good thing or not had yet to be seen.