Well. It has been a while. Here we go.

Chapter 26

"Where the hell have you been?" Dean asked when Jay stepped out of the Frankenstein.

"Out for a drive," Jay said truthfully, "Not a hunting trip or anything. Just thought I'd take a little time for myself. Look," she spun in a circle, "I'm good, I'm fine, not a scratch. Headlights went out though."

"You rigged the whole thing, that's your fault," snorted Dean.

"Dean are you drinking? It's like ten in the morning! Not a good idea," she said. He pulled the beer bottle out of her reach as she tried to take it from him.

"And do you really think going off on your own in the middle of the night is a good idea?"

Jay shrugged. "I'm fine," she said, "Although I did meet Crowley at a crossroads."

Dean choked on his beer. "You what?"

"Yeah," she said nonchalantly, "He didn't have much to say that was important, other than Lucifer's been plotting—surprise, surprise—and his plan's got something to do with a demon named Sonneillon." Jay tried to say this with a little less care than she was feeling, but something caught in her throat before she could say the demon's name, and there was a slight hesitation, which was not quite a stutter, before it came out.

"Sonne—what? I'm getting Bobby. BOBBY! SAM!" Dean yelled.

"Where's Cas?" Jay asked, "I thought he would have told you all that I went out."

"We haven't seen him since last night," Dean grunted. "Not sure where he went. Come on, let's get inside."


"Jay! Where have you been?" Sam's greeting sounded far less accusing and more concerned than Dean's had.

"I went for a drive," she said, "I just needed fresh air."

"Glad you're back," said Bobby, "But I don't think—"

"That I should go out, do anything, yeah, I know, Bobby."

"She met Crowley," Dean put in unhelpfully. "And he says that Lucifer is hatching or has hatched a plan to get the Grail. Something about Sonny the demon."

"What?" Sam and Bobby barked in unison.

Jay glared at Dean. "Sonneillon, genius," she said. "And guys, we've been sure that Lucifer has been hatching a plan for months now."

"But to get Crowley riled up enough about it to physically come and warn you?" Sam asked doubtfully. "Jay, that sounds serious."

"Bull," said Jay, "It sounds like what everybody else has been telling me. Lay low, be careful, don't get caught." But she sounded a little unsure, even to herself, so she added, "What are they going to do, attack Bobby's off-the-map, Apocalypse-proof safehouse?"

"It's not exactly off-the-map," said Sam, "And just because we take precautions doesn't make the place invincible."

"What would you suggest, then?" Jay snapped.

"Perhaps a change of scenery," came a familiar voice, and Jay jumped as Dorian's hazy image appeared by her side.

"What is it?" Dean asked, on red alert.

"Nothing," she said, recovering from the shock, "Just Dorian. Glad you're back." she said to him. "What happened?"

"A parlor trick, nothing more," Dorian sniffed. "A spell to keep me away. Temporarily."

"What? What's he saying?" Dean asked.

"You should all leave," Dorian urged her, "Separate. The three of you are too valuable to be kept in one place."

Jay thought about this. "I. . . I don't know. . . we've talked about this a few times."

"And it's your best option," said Dorian. "If the brothers wish to stay together, that is their decision. They can protect one another. As for you, I was assigned to be your guardian."

"What's he saying?" Dean insisted.

"He thinks we should separate." said Jay. "Cas won't like it."

Dean started to speak but Jay shushed him and listened to Dorian.

"Then leave now," said the reaper, "While he is not present. You have the runes. The angel cannot track you."

"No way you're leaving on your own." said Dean, when he was sure Jay was done.

"Got a reaper," Jay pointed out.

"Who might be a spy of some sort." Dean shot back. "How did Crowley find you?"

"I might have driven to a crossroads," said Jay.

"What?"

"Not on purpose!" she defended, "I was just, you know, driving! In any case, you only think I should stick around because you feel responsible for me, but you aren't!"

Don't leave.

There was a hint of a whisper somewhere in her head, a small tug at her heart, but she was sure it was only the Grail with good intentions, but she was not in the mood for listening to her.

"Where would you go?" Dean asked, "Where's a place safer than Bobby's?"

"If they assume or know that I'm here, then anywhere is a place safer than Bobby's—no offense—and I'm pretty sure they've got a good idea of where the hideout is, anyway. If we're going down the 'Don't Trust Demons Ever' path, then I'd say a meeting with Crowley is a good sign that I should book it. And maybe you guys should too."

"That's not—you shouldn't—Sam, tell her!" Dean blurted.

Jay turned to the younger brother, "Sam!"

Under the heat of both their gazes, Sam faltered, and rubbed his chin for a moment before speaking. "Dean, I. . . I think Jay's right."

Jay thought she felt a No! somewhere within her, but she ignored that as well.

"You what? Dude!" Dean barked, clearly feeling betrayed.

"She makes a good point," Bobby put in calmly, "You guys have been hanging around longer than I would've thought was safe. . . and when they find out that there have been hunters in the neighborhood, well, it doesn't take the smartest bunch to put two and two together."

"That wraith was a state away." Dean pointed out, but he could tell he was losing. When the others only stared him down, he muttered, "At least take Cas with you."

"If it were up to Cas, I'd never be allowed out of the house," said Jay with a touch of acid in her voice. "Right, Dorian?"

She turned to where the reaper had been before, but he was gone.

"What's the matter?" asked Sam.

"He's, um, gone," she said lamely. "Dorian?" she called. Maybe he had just gone invisible. He was still sort of flickery to her once in a while. But she sensed an emptiness in the air that told her he was not in the house at all.

"I've got a reaper," Dean mimicked, "Yeah, real reliable."

Jay was about to retort, but she was interrupted when she saw Dorian bursting through the walls, becoming a cloudy, ghost-like image for a few moments.

"Demons!" he said quickly, his voice only a shade more panicky than usual. "You must go."

"Demons," Jay relayed to the men, and each went for a weapon. Dean peered through the window shades. "How many?" Jay asked, retrieving a shotgun from amongst the many books and checking to see how many rounds of salt she had.

"Too many to fight," said Dorian, and the same time Dean said, "I don't see any."

"Dorian says there's too many to handle," said Jay.

"Can't he just wipe them all out?" Dean asked, moving away from the window. Jay looked to the reaper in question.

"They came prepared to deal with a reaper," said Dorian, "You must leave."

"Jay!" Dean tossed her an unopened bag of salt, and she busied herself lining the room with it.

"How much time do we have?" Jay asked.

"They are here," he said, but his last word was clipped short when the window exploded.

Sam recovered first, popping up and firing several shots out the window, then ducking back down while Dean hastily finished the salt line.

"You good, Bobby?" Jay asked, leaning on his wheelchair.

"Dandy," he grunted.

"Oh shit. Shit!"

Jay turned around and saw Dean firing shots in quick succession out the window.

"What?" he asked.

"It's a freakin' army!" he said. "Panic room! Panic room!"

Jay was wheeling Bobby to the basement when she ran headfirst into a wall and rebounded painfully.

"Ow! What—"

It was covered in flowery wallpaper. What. Jay turned around. She was not at Bobby's at all. She looked out the window and saw the parking lot of a motel.

Then she saw Dorian. He looked as calm and as sullen as ever.

"What have you done?" she asked quietly.

"I brought you somewhere safe," he said. "As per my instructions."

"What about the others?"

"Where they were," he answered.

"Take me back!" shrieked Jay. "Take me back now!"

"No." he said.

"No? NO?! I have to help them!"

"You can't," he said flatly. "The risk is too great."

"Take me back or. . .!"

"Or what?" asked the reaper, even sounding a little sympathetic.

Jay slapped him—it was more an act of desperation than anger, and more an act of instinct than thought, but the result was not what she ever would have expected. Upon impact, for one frozen moment, Jay felt her blood run cold, thought she could feel her hand shriveling up at the touch of him, and suddenly felt impossibly old, on the brink of death. . . and then the moment was over. It was as if she were slapping a normal human being.

Dorian reeled backward, clutching the side of his face, for once showing true, pure emotion in his shock and horror. Jay had never seen him look so ungraceful. She forgot that she was angry with him and said "I'm sorry! I don't know what I . . . how I. . ."

Then, as he took his hand away and showed her solid hand print upon his face, Jay had a sudden realization. She surged at him and wrapped her hands around his neck, and felt again, for just a moment, close to death, but the feeling passed and then she was in control again. She wasn't sure what was happening to him as she gripped tighter, but he certainly was no longer exempt from the physical world. He was stumbling, bumping into desks. . .

"Take me back." she ordered. "I won't let go until you do."

A lightning pattern of red was seeping slowly out across her skin, working its way down his neck, up to his eyes. His voice came out muffled, faded, as though he were far away.

"Can't," he croaked, "I. . .can't."

When the red lightning formed a streak across the whites of his eyes, Jay could not bring herself to torture him any longer. She let go, and Dorian crumpled to the ground in a fit of wheezing.

For a moment Jay watched him struggle, then her thoughts came back to her and she ran for the door.

"Excuse me," Jay tapped the shoulder of a young man, after she had walked down the street a ways. "What town is this?"

He gave her a strange look, then said, "Io non parlano inglese."

Jay's heart sank.

Italy. She was in Italy. Dorian had moved her to Italy.

"Er. . . questo è ciò che città?" she tried. Her Italian was a little rusty. It had been fifty years at least.

The man laughed in answer, then pointed, and when her eyes followed the end of his finger, Jay's heart sank even further. She recognized the building he was pointing at, had visited many times before, when she'd spent some time in the country.

It was the Sistine Chapel.

"Vatican City," she said, "Dorian, what were you thinking?"

"Perhaps he wasn't."

Jay looked up into the young man's face, confused. He gripped her elbow tightly, and his grip held even as she tried her best to wrench away from her.

She saw a faint, heavenly glow behind the mans eyes and thought she saw the bare outline of a pair of enormous wings, almost like an afterimage. She looked back to where the motel had been, and saw Dorian flickering in and out of sight, closer and closer, trying to reach her.

Then they disappeared, and she found herself somewhere else entirely.