The Sword, the Singer, and the Vessel
"No Evil"


My head throbbed and my body ached, the metal of the chair just uncomfortable enough to keep me lucid.

How much time had passed since she brewed the potion? How much more time could they have before the curse consumed them? How long had it been since I had left Sam knocked out on the floor?

"We can't just sit here." I curled my nails deeper into my palms and focused on that pain instead, letting out a shaky breath. "What if he's hurting Sam?"

"He won't kill him," she said, her tone almost bland. "Not yet."

"How can you know that?" I stood up from my chair with enough force to send it scraping back. The strain in my legs made them shake.

"Because he didn't with the other victims."

"He also didn't break into their rooms and drag them who knows where!"

She sighed and something clinked. Glass?

"Think about what he's been doing," she said, exasperation heavy in her tone. "He pumped that shit into your vents. He could've used gas—something human. But instead, he used three ancient and very powerful spirits to draw it out. If it was only about murder, he could've poisoned the mini bar."

I swallowed.

"You don't leash three powerful beings like that," she said, "if you're only trying to kill. No, he wants you to suffer. He wants ceremony. He wants you judged."

"Judged." I clenched my fists tighter. "And what gives him the right?"

"It isn't about right. It's about power," she said, tone weary. "That being said, he must have a lot of it to keep spirits like this leashed."

"Who is he?"

After what happened to Sam, I had been operating under the idea that the brothers had been right—that the man attacking people must've had a grudge against them. Why else would he break into their room? Why not wait for the curse to run its course like he had for the other victims?

"Isn't it obvious? Sam gave you the answer before taking that blow to the head. It's the owner of the motel."

"But why?"

"Maybe you asked for too many fresh towels. Who knows?"

I frowned. The man hadn't seemed particularly homicidal, but I supposed that mattered little. Laurent had been almost cordial in that clearing as he explained his intent to kill me.

I hadn't left the motel room in what felt like days before the attack. What happened between the motel owner and the brothers to prompt him to take such a risk, especially when it might garner him more attention? When he could've just waited for the curse to take its course from a distance?

It was hard to think beyond the throbbing beat in my head.

"You said he was powerful. Does that make him a…warlock?"

"Can't say I've run into him at any of the conventions."

I blinked. The weight of my eyelids grew heavier. I took a step back and all but fell into my chair.

"There are witch conventions?" I wondered, leaning back to blink at the darkness above me.


The clinking of glass resumed and I swapped one darkness for another.

"That," the woman said later, after I had startled awake and nearly fallen out of my chair, "is an interesting scar."

I stilled, staring into the darkness with as blank of a look as I could manage, even as I folded my arms.

"No offense, but that's private." I tried to keep my voice level. "I don't even know your name."

"Fair enough," she said, tone mild. "It's Ruby."

"Ruby." I tucked a wayward strand of hair behind my ear. It unnerved me that I had passed out before learning that. "I'd introduce myself, but you already know my name. How did you, anyway?"

Ruby sighed.

"Like I said before, I'm a friend of Sam's."

I pursed my lips, wondering who else Sam might've talked to about me. The more Hunters made aware of my situation, the greater the risk to the Cullens. I already had my doubts about Bobby knowing—and now this mysterious woman the brothers have never talked about?

"How did you two meet?"

"I ran into Sam during a job back in Lincoln," Ruby replied, much to my surprise.


"Someone needs to brush up on her geography," Ruby said. "Nebraska."


One mystery cleared up, but something still seemed off—least of all Ruby's new willingness to answer my questions…

"Geography might not be my strong suit," I said, "but I know Nebraska isn't close to Mississippi…"

"That's the nature of the job." Ruby's tone remained mild. "You never know where you're going to end up."

"Maybe not, but with forty-nine other states, I find it interesting that you ended up here at the same time as Sam and Dean." Ruby said nothing. "I think if you were working the same job, they would've mentioned you."

"Are you sure about that?" Ruby wondered, her words pressing on an all too familiar bruise.

Insecurities aside, it didn't make sense for them to introduce me to Bobby, but not her.

"I don't think you would've asked me that unless I was right," I pointed out, a bone-deep weariness settling over me. "What are you actually doing here?"

"You're not as oblivious as I thought," Ruby commented, her tone lighter and almost impressed.

I swallowed, my arms falling to my sides as I took a step back.

"So you were lying…"

The weight of what I had just done sunk through the exhaustion. What would happen next? Tired and unable to see, she would have little trouble getting rid of me.

"Calm down before you hurt yourself," Ruby chided, as if I were a small child about to throw a tantrum. My fists clenched. "I didn't lie."

"But you said—"

"I said I was working a job. You're the one who assumed it was related to Mojo-jo-jo."

"If not the Three Monkeys, then what? What are you here for?"

"I already told you—to help Sam."

"Why would Sam need you?" I wondered. Anyone who spent more than a few minutes with the brothers knew they didn't think they needed anyone but each other. Certainly not her. And definitely not me. "He has Dean."

"Noticed that shining level of codependency, did you?" Ruby sneered. "Sam's need for Dean is exactly why I'm here."

I blinked. Wait, she doesn't mean…?

"You already know about it," Ruby realized. "Dean's deal. I'm surprised they let that detail slip. Those boys are notorious for being tight-lipped."

I frowned, unable to argue with that.

"Sam's trying to break Dean's deal?"

But if Dean made the deal to save Sam, then what would happen to them if they broke it?

"Like I said—codependent." Ruby sighed. "You didn't really think Sam would just sit back and watch the hell hounds shred Dean to pieces, did you?"

Ruby must've been close to the brothers for them to confide in her about this. I couldn't shake my unease. Between Victoria, the Three Monkeys, and Dean's deal, that made three active cases for the brothers. I couldn't believe they would split their focus like that, especially with the far more immediate threat of the curse bearing down on them.

"Why would Sam look into breaking Dean's deal in the middle of a case?"

The brothers' care for each other was undeniable, but they had seemed more pragmatic than that.

"Clock's ticking."

"The clock for this curse is ticking a lot faster," I pointed out, the near continuous ache behind my eyes a testament to that.

Ruby scoffed.

"I don't know what you want me to say. A year might seem like a long time to you, but Sam can't afford to waste any of it. Not if he wants to find a way to save his brother."

I stared into the vast emptiness around me, Ruby's words a dull echo.

"...a year?"

"Huh," Ruby said, "I guess they didn't tell you about that part. The demon that Dean made that deal with gave him the Winchester discount."

A leaden feeling sunk into my stomach.



I blinked to awareness—had I fallen asleep again? —and turned my head toward the direction of Ruby's voice. The now familiar clink of glass and metal echoed in the darkness.

"Is it ready?" I rasped. I tried to clear my throat, but it remained dry. I didn't know how long it had been since I last spoke.

"Yep," Ruby said, popping the p. "Just needs a minute to cool."


I put my hands to the cold floor and levered myself up, something heavy sliding off of me. My hands reached out on instinct to catch whatever had fallen. A blanket? I draped it over my arm, wincing at the ache in my legs from sitting with them crossed for...however long I had.

"Here," Ruby said, closer now, and pressed something into either of my hands. One felt like a cardboard box. Warm. The familiar smell of pizza wafted from it. The other—a water bottle?

I frowned.

"When did you get these?"

"I stopped in a 7 Eleven while you were zoning out," Ruby muttered, the metallic clinks resuming from a few feet away.

"You said the potion was done—we don't have time for a snack."

"You're right. We don't."

My hands clenched, the plastic of the water bottle crinkling.

"You can't just leave me here."

"Yes, I can."

"I'm not just going to sit here and eat pizza while you—"

"Yes," Ruby snapped, "you are." I clenched my jaw. "Like it or not, you're a liability that I don't have time to babysit on top of saving Sam."

Ruby's words struck true and I deflated.


Ruby gave me a quick run through of some safety measures she had set to keep me safe in case anyone came snooping around, but I retained little of it.

The water bottle crinkled as I rolled it on the floor, back and forth underneath my palm. I had tossed the pizza box...somewhere. That familiar smell of baked crust and cheese had become a stronger stench that made my empty stomach curl. Ruby hadn't returned yet.

The minutes didn't stretch because I had no sense of the passage of time.

The water bottle bulged as I pressed down harder.

Dean only had a year to live and the brothers were wasting time on me.

The realization lay heavy across my shoulders.

And now, Ruby rushed to save Sam while I sat here feeling sorry for myself.

I dug my palms into my eyes and they stung, it all stung, and my skin grew damp, the smell of salt and rust filling my lungs as I heaved in a breath. My eyelashes felt tacky with blood and tears and I dropped my hands and—







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It moved on all fours

Pale wrinkled flesh with

Joints that didn't match

How it moved

Palms clasped to eyes

But it moved on all fours

But how

How could

Something hard crashed between us and something crunched under my feet.

Was it me?

Which way had I moved?

I turned to my right and

It was still

In front of me

Whichever way

I turned

Still gaining

Still facing




And it crunched



On its flesh?



My shoulder banged against something cold—a wall? No. I dove to the left just as it leapt to close the distance between us and it didn't change trajectory, but it reached me anyway like the snap of a rubber band drawing it midair.

I couldn't move. I could see its hands pressed to its eyes, and yet, something held me still. A horrible sound crackled out of its maw. An inhuman sound that sunk into my skin and wove into my very being.

I think it was saying my name.

My bones grew too heavy to lift and my limbs slackened in its grasp. Something curled around the back of my neck to hold my head up. I watched it pry its palms from its face with lidded eyes. My time had run out. In the back of my mind, I knew the thought should've caused me more distress, but for all that I couldn't lift my arms or legs, I felt steady.

Two gaping eye sockets stared back—darker than any darkness I could've imagined. Darker than the darkness still around me. I opened my eyes wider. I needed to see more. See further. The sockets widened to accommodate me and I could—I could almost—yes! There was something in there! A pinprick, a point. I watched it grow into a pupil of pure light that seared into my own. So, so bright after the darkness. The Guardian kept me aloft, steady as the light burrowed deeper and deeper and finally punctured inward like a needlepoint through the skin of a grape.

I screamed. The Guardian howled with me and, despite the pain, I felt warm and comforted and known. The light burned through my eyes and into my head and I knew now that I would soon join the others swallowed in the Guardian's light and I would never be alone again—

And then the Guardian's comforting voice fractured and I fell into darkness again.


My head throbbed.

When I tried to open my eyes, the lids pulled with the tackiness of drying blood. I propped myself up on my hands and I felt something crinkle beneath me—the water bottle. I unscrewed the cap and poured some down my face. A film of dirt coated my hands, so I ran some on them, too. I pulled my shirt up my stomach and used the inside to wipe off the blood on my eyelids. Finally, I could open them.

Darkness, still.

I dropped the end of my shirt and levered myself up. The damp cloth stuck to my skin and I grimaced, wondering what I looked like now—covered in blood and grime. Whatever else had happened, Ruby appeared to still be gone.

It didn't matter. I couldn't sit here any longer. I refused.

I turned and made my way deeper into the darkness, hands raised. The tips of my fingers found a cool wall and I shifted closer, feeling my way along. Eventually, I found a handle and pulled. Locked. I trailed my hands higher and turned the oval chunk of metal until something clicked. One last deep breath.

I heaved the door open and my breath caught at the flood of moonlight.

A quick glance behind me showed more light penetrating into the darkness of the building Ruby had brought me to. It seemed that she hadn't bothered to leave a light on, since the only occupant couldn't see anyway.

I turned back around and squinted up at the sky, my eyes burning. The stars shone in a way I realized I hadn't appreciated enough before losing them. I blinked and something trailed down my cheek. After everything that had happened, the sight of ordinary tears surprised me.

I can see.

That realization still had me reeling. I coughed out a laugh and tilted my head back again, letting the relief of it all wash over me. Doubt had settled in over the course of the Three Monkey's curse, the weight of my helplessness grinding me into the ground. Without it, I felt light enough to rise and join the stars.

Did Sam and Dean feel the same lightness? Though much quieter than during the day, the night had its own comforting chorus. What did it feel like for Sam now that the void of silence had been refilled? And Dean… Had he felt a similar absence in having such a prominent form of expression taken away? What words would he have spoken first? Knowing Dean, probably something snarky.

The thought made me smile.

And with that, I took a deep breath of muggy air and walked toward the road ahead. Following Ruby had involved many twists and turns. I hadn't seen much of the area before losing my eyesight and didn't recognize my location, but I knew the trek from the motel hadn't lasted long. When lost, the general rule insisted upon staying put, but I had zero interest in returning to the abandoned building behind me, sight or no.

I had about enough of sitting idle.

Considering the emptiness of the road, it must've been late. I chose a direction—right—and kept close to the shadows cast by the trees, wary of being spotted. The stars provided just enough light to get by.

Times like this, I regretted not having a phone. Before, it had seemed impractical. Growing up with Renee, I hadn't had many friends. Why waste money on a phone when I had no one to text, no one to call? Jake and I hadn't grown close until I moved to Forks. Even then, he relied on his landline. The Cullens had their own cellphones, but tended to just appear in person when they wanted to talk.

I had felt disconnected from the rest of my classmates—too keenly aware that I was just a new bauble whose shine would inevitably wear off once they got to know me. Why bother with all the effort when no one would stick around?

I sighed, gazing up at the stars.

Knowing the end result ahead of time didn't make it any easier to swallow.

Just as I wondered if I had chosen the wrong direction, a flood of light filled the road and a familiar voice called out.

"Bella—holy crap!"

I squinted against the light, lifting a hand to shield my eyes. After a few hard blinks the flashes in my vision faded enough for me to see the impala whip around to pull alongside me. I peered into the passenger side window, but the seat sat empty. Where was Sam? The driver's door opened and slammed shut as Dean rushed around the hood, his boots crunching in the gravel.

"Where's Sam? Is he okay?"

"Sam's fine—"

Oh, thank god.

"—which is more than I can say about you! What happened?" Dean demanded, left hand curling around my shoulder, while his right cupped my cheek. "Did that demon bitch do this to you?"

I blinked up at him, at a complete loss.


Dean tilted my head back slightly and leaned closer, peering into my eyes. It was a lot to take after being unable to see him for the last couple of days. His eyes were very green.

"Ruby," Dean gritted out, gaze sweeping across my face. "She said she had you stashed somewhere safe—that lying bitch."

Dean also had freckles. Had I noticed those before? They reminded me of the stars, in a way—another thing I hadn't noticed or appreciated until I lost them.

"Ruby didn't do this. It was one of the Guardians," I said. My brows furrowed as the rest of what he said sunk in. "Wait—Ruby is a demon? She told me she was a hunter…"

"A hunter, my ass," Dean sneered. "Yeah, I'm not surprised she kept that bit to herself."

That revelation about Ruby, while troubling, paled in comparison to what else I had learned from her. She might have lied about it all, but I couldn't know for sure unless I asked. I glanced passed Dean to the stars above, steeling myself.

"She also said she was here to help Sam." I met Dean's gaze. "To break your deal." His hands fell and he faltered back a step, his expression sliding into something unreadable. "Is it true that you only have one year left?"

Dean turned his head, staring off into some distant point across the road. His lips curled. No one could mistake the half-smile as genuine.

"I guess she couldn't keep that to herself, too." Dean sighed and his gaze flicked back to me. "Look—now really isn't a good time to get into it. Sam and Bobby are back at the motel cleaning up, but it's only a matter of time before the local cops show up. We need to get the hell out of dodge."

At another time, I might've protested the brush off, but guilt and shame stalled my tongue. Dean looked tired. Along with the scattering of freckles, I had noticed the deep bags ringing his eyes. His hair sat in disarray and his plaid shirt seemed rumpled underneath his jacket. A dark stain blotted his collar.

The last few days hadn't been kind to him. I couldn't bring myself to make it any worse than I already had.

I offered a small nod in reply.

"Alright," Dean said, the relief in his tone making me avert my gaze. "If we hurry, you should have time to change." He walked around to the driver's side and pulled open the door. He paused to lean over the roof toward me with a smirk. "No offense, but you look like a victim from a slasher flick."

I rolled my eyes, but followed suit, minding my bloodied clothes when I slid into the passenger seat.

The room looked just as I remembered it—in terms of sight, anyway. Someone had made the beds and thrown out the food wrappers. Only our bags stacked against the wall disturbed the generic feel. I glanced up at the ceiling to the metal vent and a wave of uncanniness washed over me. If not for the blood caked on my shirt, it could have all been a terrible, if vivid, nightmare.

"Bella, you're okay!"

I turned and stiffened as Sam pulled me into a hug, before my own relief overrode my shock and I hugged him back.

"You're the one that got kidnapped," I pointed out, biting my lip when it began to wobble. "I'm…I'm sorry I left, I didn't want to, but—"

"Hey, hey," Sam said in a gentle tone, pulling away enough to meet my gaze, "it's okay. You did the right thing." I scoffed, but Sam gave me a look that held my tongue. "I'm serious. Ruby wouldn't have been able to give me my hearing back if you hadn't. So, thank you."

I averted my gaze and pulled away, still uncomfortable with how the situation played out.

"What happened, anyway?" I asked, eager to change the subject and sate my curiosity. "Without you or Dean, Ruby couldn't give me the antidote. Why am I able to see again?"

"The motel owner had me tied up in a basement underneath the office," Sam explained. "After Ruby snuck in and cured me, I was able to trick him into revealing where the Parent Worm was hidden and we destroyed it, thereby restoring your sight and Dean's voice."

"Oh." At least my blood had helped. "Did you find out why he went after us?"

Sam pursed his lips, averting his eyes as he ran a hand through his hair.

"Yeah." Sam cleared his throat. "He thought the three of us were," he grimaced, "together."

My brows furrowed. Sam still refused to meet my eyes. Then it clicked.


I didn't have any siblings of my own, but I could see why that assumption might make him uncomfortable.

"All of his victims were people he considered immoral," Sam continued. "Pedophiles, adulterers, prostitutes…and even his own daughter."

I grimaced at being lumped in with child molesters. The man hadn't known Sam and Dean were brothers, had he? How could he compare what he assumed were three people in a consenting relationship to someone who preys on children? Not to mention…

"His daughter?"

"Apparently, she ran off with a guy and he didn't take it well."

I blew out a breath, at a complete loss of what to say to that. Before the silence could grow uncomfortable, Dean walked in with a brunette man I hadn't met before. He wore an unbuttoned plaid shirt over a dark shirt and jeans. The hat on his head had seen better days, the material around the brim well on its way to fraying. His mustache and beard seemed well-kept, if a little gray and scraggly in places.

"Bella, I'm glad to see you're still in one piece," the man said in a somewhat familiar gruff voice.

I blinked at him.


"The one and only," Bobby said, a good-natured air to him as he quirked a smile and extended a hand. "Bet it's nice to put a face to the name, even if it's this old mug." We shook and his grip remained politely firm, his hands rough with calluses.

"Yes, it is," I agreed, fighting the urge to smile.

"That's a lot of blood," he said, nodding at my sullied shirt. "How are you holdin' up?"

"Fine." I gestured at my disheveled state. "This is mostly from the curse and one of the Guardians attacking."

"Wait," Sam said, "The Guardian? You mean…Mizaru attacked you?" I nodded, but this only seemed to make the troubled look on his face grow. "How? We destroyed the Parent Worm with plenty of time before the final part of the curse could take hold. You and Dean should've had at least fifteen hours!"

Fifteen hours?

"Hold on," Dean said, stepping up into our impromptu circle. "None of the monkeys came after me."

My brows furrowed.

"But what about the blood on your shirt?" I asked, gesturing at his collar.

"He had a coughing fit back at the buffet," Bobby said. "It sent everybody in there into a panic, but I didn't see anything monkey-shaped attack."

"So I was the only one they came after?" I realized, my voice growing small.

It was Kennewick and that witch all over again. What was wrong with me?

"Am I gonna have to point out the obvious?"

I glanced at Dean, but the question seemed aimed at Sam.

"Ruby wouldn't do this," Sam said, clenching his jaw and straightening.

Dean scoffed, shaking his head with a humorless smile.

"Are you kidding me? She's a demon, Sam! Have you forgotten what that means?"

"Ruby hasn't done anything but help me," Sam argued. "Besides, Bella said—"

"Bella couldn't see jack shit and you know it!" Dean barked out, making me flinch.

"I hate to say it, but he's right, Sam." Bobby grimaced, shooting a glance my way. "If there's one thing I've learned over the years, it's not to underestimate the kind of cruelty a demon is capable of. They're tricky as all hell and they don't discriminate on who they're willing hurt."

"It wasn't Ruby," I said.

Dean dragged a hand down his face.

"Look—I know you two might've bonded while sharing secrets during your little sleepover, but—"

"I could see it," I said, ignoring the hurt over how dismissive Dean was being. "The Guar—Mizaru."

"It attacked after you got your sight back?" Sam interjected. "But how? Once we destroyed the Parent Worm, it should've died with the others—"

"No." The lights in the motel room seemed to buzz in my ears. "When it attacked, I still couldn't see anything else. Just…just it."


I shook my head.

"I don't know. It seemed…tethered to me? When I tried to dodge it, it still…" I swallowed, clenching my fists to keep them from shaking.

I couldn't get any more words out. I didn't want to let the words out.

"That's magic for ya," Bobby dismissed, "it can be unpredictable." Sam and Dean remained quiet. Even I could tell the words were only for my benefit. "Anyway, it's gettin' late." Bobby frowned. "Or early. Either way, you three had better get cleaned up and hit the road before the local cops show up."


Something about sitting in the back of Dean's car again reminded me of returning home—the same way my old truck had. With the radio crooning softly and the road flying passed, the whirlwind of the last few days could've almost been mistaken for a dream. Curses and ghosts from the past couldn't touch us here.

I might've fooled myself, if only the darkness hadn't seemed so full and the light of the staggered street lamps so empty.

My stomach rumbled and I could see Sam's gaze flick to me in the passenger side mirror. I continued to stare out the window.

Like an unspoken signal, Dean took the next brightly lit exit and pulled into a twenty-four-hour gas station, parking alongside one of the many vacant pumps. The neon blue OPEN sign of the convenience store buzzed loud enough that I could hear it even before Sam opened his door and unfolded himself out of the car.

"I'm gonna grab some food," Sam said, leaning in the open door. "You guys want anything?"

"Get me a burrito." Dean's voice sounded especially gruff after he killed the engine. "A coffee, too. Black."


"Whatever's cheapest."

I could see Sam's frown from the corner of my eye, but he just shut the door and walked away. A good minute passed, but Dean had yet to move. When I flicked my eyes to the fuel gauge, Dean met my gaze.

"Alright," Dean said, as if that had been a que. "You gonna tell me what's up with you?"

I blinked at him.

"What do you mean?"

Dean sighed.

"Don't play dumb. We both know you're smarter than that." Dean sounded tired. My brows furrowed at the unexpected compliment wedged in there. "If there's something you wanna say, so ahead and say it."

I glanced back into the convenience store, spotting Sam standing in front of a coffee machine. Two cups sat to his right and he appeared to be filling a third.

"Why are you doing this?" The question I had been ruminating on came out before I could hold it back. Dean's brows furrowed, but he only waited. My fists clenched. "Why are you wasting time trying to protect me from Victoria?"

Dean looked at me like I was stupid.

"Who's wasting time?" Dean demanded. "Saving people and hunting things is…you know, the family business? Pretty sure we already had this talk."

Frustrated and suddenly overwhelmed by everything, I could feel my eyes tearing up despite my best attempts to stop them.

"You are!" I insisted, my voice cracking halfway through. "You only have a year left and instead of focusing on fixing that, you're…you're…" I swallowed, willing myself to keep it together, "wasting it on someone who doesn't—"

"Who doesn't what? Deserve it?"

I broke his gaze to stare down at my lap. It hurt to hear spoken aloud, despite already knowing it to be true. Dean's hand reached back and clasped my shoulder, drawing my gaze back up without my consent.

"So, you made some mistakes," Dean said, lips quirked, "got yourself in with a bad crowd. Happens to the best of us."

I stared at him in disbelief. Dean made the earth-shattering series of supernatural events in my life after moving to Forks sound so normal. Then again, considering how he grew up and how he continued to live his life…perhaps it was.

Dean squeezed my shoulder.

"Look, Bella…" Dean ducked his head to peer into my eyes, "your ex might've left you to deal with the fallout, but we won't."

No amount of restraint could've kept my tears from falling at that. Dean straightened, his hand lifting from my shoulder to hover between us, his panic so obvious that I couldn't help but laugh.

The passenger side door opened and Sam dropped the bag of food on the dash to better grasp the drink tray in his hands. When he glanced into the backseat and noticed my tears, he whirled to face his brother.

"Dean! What did you do!?"

Dean sputtered, veering back from Sam's anger.

"Nothing," I answered for him, wiping my face on my sleeve. So much for having a clean shirt. "Sorry, it's been a long day." I tilted my head. "Or days. I'm just tired."

Sam squinted at me for a moment.

"Alright… Well, I'm glad I got you some coffee, then." Sam lifted one of the Styrofoam cups out of the carrier and handed it back to me, along with a couple of packets of cream and sugar.

Dean plucked his own out of the carrier and took a long gulp.

"Ah, that hits the spot."

"Got you a burrito, too," Sam said, tossing a wrapped burrito to Dean, who caught it deftly, before passing a plastic bag to me.

Dean took one more drink before climbing out of the car to pump fuel and Sam slid into his seat, grabbing his food out of the remaining bag on the dash. The switch between one brother's company and the next seemed so fluid that I wondered if they practiced being in sync. Sam unwrapped a sandwich and I reached into the bag containing my burrito to follow his lead. Eating seemed less like a chore now that everyone was safe.

I took a bite of my burrito, my mind wandering. So many mysteries spread out before me.

The timeline for the curse had been off, at least in my case. Why? What was it about me that made magic act so unpredictably? Had the motel owner known the curse would speed up? Was that why he broke into our room? Had he intended to kidnap both of us or had he only kidnapped Sam after failing to kidnap me? Why kidnap any of us at all? Why not wait for the curse to take hold on its own, like he had with countless others?

This case made less and less sense the more I examined it. I wondered if the brothers had any more insight than I did. Part of me wanted to ask now, to pick Sam's brain. To ask about Ruby and what their plans were to circumvent Dean's deal.

But a larger part of me knew that it was late and that these questions would still be there after we got to wherever we were going next. And, for the first time in a long time, I felt almost steady.

I knew Dean's promise had an expiration date, but somehow, that didn't make me feel any less warm.


And that concludes this episode!

Thank you for your patience and all of your comments. They mean a lot. I've been having a rocky couple of years and this series (as well as all of my other stories) have suffered neglect because of it. Recently, I received a couple of really kind asks on my side-blog dedicated to this series that helped me pull myself out of this nosedive enough to finish this episode of.

From this point forward, if I do post more for this series, it will likely only be after the entirety of the episode is completed to avoid long gaps between updates.


-Detective Turner—Dean Winchester
-Detective Bachman—Sam Winchester
-Miss Thornton—Bella Swan

-Director Stevenson—Bobby Singer
-Mysterious Woman—Ruby

-Doctor's Assistant—Leslie

Larry's Lascivious Ladies
-Owner—Lawrence T. Veluso III
- Assistant—Miranda

-Escorts—Cassandra Reynolds and Tammy Hasher
-Lawyer—John Manner
-Pedophile on Trial—Leonard Finnley
-Motel Owner's Daughter—Unknown
-Remaining Victims—Tom & Kathy Ohnno, Marnie Hovel, Chris Boyd, Jimmy Boomer, Kyle Dindle, Patrick Carnes

The Three Wise Monkeys:
-See No Evil—Mizaru
-Hear No Evil—Kikazaru
- Speak No Evil—Iwazaru

-The Motel Owner—Unknown