AN: I'm making this a two chapter fic because its been sitting in my computer for some weeks now and we all know that's not a safe place -tech kryptonite- that's me.
Reviews are welcome, they make me happy though I'd rather avoid the flames so if you don't like it ... feel free to keep moving. Love all those who have something constructive to say and thanks for the help.
It was only right.
It was fair.
Every one of them…they deserved to die.
"So … its ghost hunting then?" Asher looks from Tëmpe to Bhaze, dark eyebrows raised as he lies back on the hotel bed. There's papers strewn about on the coverlet all around him, newspaper clippings… the bright screen of his lap top has some gory pictures displayed. He's used to that now, the past three years have been nothing but hunting and while he hasn't become quite immune to the things he sees, he doesn't want to upchuck at every single one he does.
"Mmmm." Tëmpeztrà purses her dusky lips and frowns at the images on her lap top. "I don't think so…"
"It's not lining up." Bhaze agrees which is what Asher had been thinking as well. "Alright. We need a break." He stands up and stretches both arms over his head while Asher sits up in preparation of heading out of their hotel room only Tëmpe's frowning at them.
"You had a break." Tëmpe points out sharply. "An hour ago- you're heading back to the bar." She rolls her eyes and starts gathering the sheets on the small table she's been working at. The red paint is chipped in places and she's already found a tiny carved smiley face currently covered up by her lap top. It's an old table with plenty of character and right now Tëmpeztrà is seriously considering hitting her brother with it. She can lift it.
"We aren't getting anything else done tonight." Bhaze motions his cousin to head for the door while Tëmpe slaps the papers in her hand on the table and stands. "You could-."
"Go and watch you two pick up some busty booze poisoned bedussy's you'll be lucky not to end up taking medication to get rid of whatever disease they give you and you know what." She draws a breath and crosses her arms, glaring at both guys. "I hope your dicks fall off."
"Wha-ah…" Bhaze can't believe he just heard….
"Dicks." Asher repeats between chuckles. "Falling off."
Tëmpeztrà isn't finding it funny but hurting them before they finish the hunt isn't an option. So, she turns around and the bathroom door slams shut on them.
"I think she's mad at you." Asher snorts a laugh.
"Bedussy?" Bhaze frowns but when he looks at his cousin only gets a shrug for explanation.
"Wanna ask her?" Asher points to the bathroom as the water comes on.
"Shut up." He shakes his head and grumbles under his breath about how she's always making up new words and he swears it's only to confuzle him. "Let's go." Bhaze shoves Asher towards the door and hopes his sister is in a better mood once they do get back from the bar. 'Dick still in place.'
This one has a bathtub. It's bright yellow but its deep and Tëmpe just lays the little wash cloth over her eyes to block out the blinding color. She's pissed at the guys for leaving in the middle of the research but to tell the truth she can't see where the dead connect to each other.
"Aside from the missing organs…" her voice echoes in the bathroom. She goes over it once again; the bodies all have the heart missing but no signs of it being removed. No cuts, no surgical incision, no animal jaws or even torn skin, not a thing. It's not a werewolf because there's no full moon at any of the six bodies so far and she's going with the assumption that it's not over. Aside from them dying and missing a heart, the victims are of varying ages and walks of life.
A school teacher two years from retirement.
A small business owner, middle aged man taking over the family business.
A bartender and a diner waitress.
The youngest, a college grad and the last, a male caregiver.
"Even their professions don't tie in!" the wash cloth flies towards the wall and lands with a splat in the bathtub. She leaves it and sinks under blowing out her air and waits a long second before coming up. The boys have gone out for some fun and she's soaking in hot water…
"Not even close to being fair."
Sam pushes the empty container aside. He's disgusted with the pig-sty their room has become but refuses to clean up after his brother. There's one too many bacon burger wrappers…
"Sammy!" Dean calls as he exits the bathroom and starts for the door. "Come on. Times a wastin' here."
"Did Bobby say how we're supposed to kill this thing?" Sam grabs his gun and slips it in the back of his jeans.
"He'd have to know for sure what it was." Dean opens the door and looks impatient which Sam could care less about. It's only a bar and there's plenty of those so Dean isn't missing anything he can't find in the next bar down the road tomorrow or the week after when they hit the road again.
"We already know what it isn't. So whatever is left has to be our … fugly." Sam grimaces at the use of Dean's favorite expression but what else are they going to call these things?
"And what exactly do we have left, Sam?" the door closes behind them and the night is chilly enough Dean has pulled out John's leather jacket. It's been a while since he's even wanted to look at the damn thing but … "The victims have nothing in common besides the missing hearts. There's no full moon at any of the attacks. No sign of how the hearts were removed… I mean," Dean shrugs, his arms come to rest on the hood of the Impala and he stares across at Sam.
"We have no leads. I get it…but," Sam looks away first, at the parked cars in the lot and starts wonder again what the hell they're doing… "Leviathan." He looks at Dean again, hazel eyes on full puppy dog blast but then, this is Dean. He's got a higher resistance to it than regular civilians.
"Krap." Dean breathes out and shakes his head. What the hell can they do? All they've got so far is an allergy to sodium borate and not much else but keeping the severed heads as far away from the body as possible. But that doesn't mean they're dead. "We work the cases that come up, Sam." He gets in the Impala and starts her up. The engines purr eases his anxiety just a little and though it's been a little over a year since the whole Leviathan doubles screwed him and Sam, his baby's had to undergo a slight change in order to break out of lock down. She isn't black but the closets thing to it; a dark charcoal grey and damn who ever says its not much different from black because he isn't going any lighter with his baby.
Tëmpeztrà is stuck playing at Lois Lane thanks to her youthful appearance. She can't pull off a detective because she'd get quizzed too damn much and never get around to finding out anything useful. They've both shot down her FBI attempt but only because no one would ever believe such a young 'girl' (the idiots) would even get to carry a badge. Sometimes, Tëmpe doesn't find her Mother's good looks such a great advantage but they're all hers now and she's learned to use what's at her disposal.
"Daily Planet my ass." But she sure as hell plays the girly card when its convenient.
She's going to deck them if they insist on teasing her… Tëmpe heads up the front walkway to the covered porch. She's in heels and slacks that are too thin by far in this cold weather. The navy trench coat comes in handy yet again- a gift from Aspen just before… 'Before she stopped taking our side against Luke.'
Tëmpe wouldn't blame her for never speaking to either Bhaze or herself but it isn't fair to Asher though the dummy made his choice.
It isn't time to think of family issues so she focuses on the door and the creepy weird knocker. The ring hangs from a beak and the brass makes a haunting echo that gives her a sudden chill. Tëmpeztrà stares at it; trying to figure out why it's bugging her aside from being fugly-
The door opens and a tall man in slacks wearing a brown turtle neck and loafers stands there. His hair is smattered with gray and his eyes are framed in thin glasses.
"Hello, I'm sorry to bother you Mr. Thoern." Tëmpe pulls out her press credentials and introduces herself with the same lie she's told three other people grieving for the victims. "I'd like just a moment of your time…"
Isaac Thoern lets her in and the house is beautiful inside as it was out.
"It's been in my family five generations now." Isaac replies in answer to her comment, he heads out of the foyer and into the large living area he calls the family room. It's got all the classic architecture of an Acadian home built back in the late 1800s or close to it. She can see where it's been modernized and noticing her interest, Isaac points out all the things he hasn't removed. They move around the house, from the living room to the formal dining area and out to the lanai. Tëmpe looks across to the study and Isaac motions her ahead of him; all the while she's wondering why he isn't visibly upset about the deaths. Lane Franze had been his employee; 'assistant'.
"And this?" Tëmpeztrà stops in front of a side table bearing a vase and a wood panel; it's carved with the image of a man and bird. Both somehow seem to be one and she tilts her head studying it.
"That is Kâ'lanû Ahkyeli'skï." Isaac looks up at the panel, its wood dark with age and hides the smile tugging at the corners of his lips.
'The Raven Mocker…oh bull…krap!'
"Who?" Tëmpe doesn't have to fake the little frown on her face when she turns to him because now she's got her fugly and wouldn't it just be her luck to not have the right weapon on hand for just this sort of creep? She's trying to think of how fast they could find one and then how it is they'd go about tracking the Raven Mocker-
"It's a Cherokee legend." Isaac gently leads Tëmpe to the leather chairs next to the fire place and sits. "The Raven Mocker is considered evil; they kill the sick or dying and take their remaining years for their own. And there are those who believe the raven is just a symbol of gratitude, wisdom, hope…" he shrugs.
"Wow." Tëmpeztrà knows the legends; she's read them all thanks to the writing of P.C. Cast and her House of Night novels though Tëmpe's long since gotten tired of them (the rambling gets tedious in between the fits of 'action'). But that left her with a healthy doze of curiosity in Native American lore… "Ghost stories, huh?" she feigns idiocy and her words draw a frown to his face.
"Legends." Isaac corrects. "Everything we think to be a story has to be based on facts. Kâ'lanû Ahkyeli'skï is no exception. This is a very big planet Ms. Wyatt. It's arrogant of us to think we are the only ones to walk it…but you are here for Lane." Isaac's hands leave the chair and clasp in his lap, dark eyes resting on her.
"Right." Tëmpeztrà pulls out her 'fancy' notebook (really, it's just a leather bound book with blank pages she's had for years) and a pen. Her hand moves lightly over the sheet where she's putting out a rough sketch of the wood carving. "How long did Mr. Franze work for you?" it's the start of a long hour she wishes was over with because she's itching to get a search started on Raven Mocker killer weapons which would be a lot easier if they were sold on eBay but what the hell.
Sam rubs his eyes and sits back. It's been hours and hours of reading through dozens of search engines trying to figure out what could remove the hearts of the victims without leaving any sign of it-
"Anything?" Dean lets the hotel room door close behind him and plops down the bags of food he's brought in. He reaches across for the lap top and sits while Sam grabs his own greasy bag with a suffering sigh but he starts eating. "Huh?"
"What?" Sam leans across and Dean waves him off.
"What are you …?" he clicks on the pad and then turns the lap top so Sam has a view of the picture and the article. "Raven Mocker?" a blond eyebrow is raised in mocking question. "You reading girly books, Sammy? This…" he glances at the screen again and snorts. "House of Night series." He laughs.
"I'm looking for anything that could remove the hearts of the victims without leaving a mark on the bodies." Sam retorts with a huff and grabs for his lap top. Dean smacks his hands away and points to the half opened bag of food.
"Eat. I'll read." Dean chuckles again but reads the article and soon the smile has become a frown. "Huh."
"What, huh." Sam looks up from his unappetizing burger.
"Raven Mocker… Really?" Sam blinks. He reads the highlighted portion of the article and looks up at his brother. "Huh."
"Now we gotta find out how to kill it and where it's going to next." Dean rips open his own bag and plucks a fry. "Told ya I'd figure this out." He smirks when Sam opens his mouth to protest because the last seven hours it's been Sam at the computer but… what's the point of arguing when that's exactly what his brother was looking for.
Sam grabs his own fries and keeps eating.
Bhaze makes her tell them again and this time Tëmpe pulls out her cell phone and lets him hear the 'interview' she never mentioned to Isaac Thoern was being recorded and ignores her brothers scowl.
"You could've said so from the start, Tëmpeztrà." Bhaze growls and grabs the cell to sit on his bed and listen.
"He didn't get laid-."
"TMI!" Tëmpe holds up a hand and frowns at her cousin. "Jeez, like I need to know where your dip-sticks have been." She shakes her head sitting at the table and removes her heels. She wiggles her toes and grabs the fuzzy socks her cousin is holding in front of her. "I'd like to see you wearing heels in this weather." She grumbles at his smirk then pulls on the socks with relief.
"Can't believe it took you four interviews before you found our 'bad guy', Tëmps." Asher grins, legs stretched out in front as he leans back in the matching chair. "You're slipping, coz."
"Ha, ha." Tëmpe gets up and quickly shoves Asher back so he topples onto the carpet with a curse and she's laughing. "You keep being such an easy target."
Asher rolls up and lunges for his cousin but she runs and they're jumping across the room like children in less than five seconds while Bhaze's demands that they stop. As one, both jump on the second bed and smother Bhaze who yells at them to get off. He's ignored and finally Bhaze starts grabbing at limbs and they're all laughing…
Asher and Bhaze are only a few months apart in age and though it shouldn't make a difference Bhaze has always taken on the role of the eldest. It's easy because Asher is way laid back and fun loving to take responsibility for long. They both tend to be over protective of Tëmpeztrà simply because she's the youngest and then there's that whole 'girl thing' she hates having tossed back at her. Most times Bhaze just accepts that he's responsible for them both; Asher for being so new to hunting and Tëmpe because she's all that's left of his parents. It's been the three of them the last four years even with Asher still at university finishing his degree. They have an architect hunting by their side and a new home they can go back to. One his sister loves to decorate for the holidays…
"Alright!" Tëmpe yells as she rolls out of the pile and yelps when she lands on the floor. "You dummies!"
"Hey, you rolled yourself onto the floor." Asher laughs as his cousin sits up, her head just above the edge of the bed, smoky eyes narrowed.
"I'm gonna roll you off." She grumbles but stands and tugs on her blouse making huffy sounds that just set them both off in to fits of laughter all over again. "See? This, this is why I'm always smacking you guys." She grabs the pillow and makes her point.
"Ow! Oh…" but they keep laughing and Tëmpe gives up. She flops onto the bed with them and stares up at the ceiling, lips pulling into a smile. Times like these is when she knows life is good. She's not alone and the guys are her family, they get each other and she loves them…
"Okay," Asher concedes. "Ok, no more breaks, children. We have work to do."
Bhaze snorts, moves his leg and kicks at his cousin who slides half off the bed.
"What'd I say?" Asher complains as he tries to pull his torso back onto the bed and then decides it's easier to fall off and does so.
"We need a weapon." Tëmpe sighs. "And I'm going with something Native American because it is one of their Spirits."
"We aren't far from the reservation." Bhaze lies back, the pillow once more scrunched up under his head. "But we don't know how to track it."
"Or where it's going to kill next." Asher adds from the floor.
Tëmpeztrà covers her face and blows out a breath. "You two," she half sits and frowns at them. "We're Hunters and that means we-."
"Hunt?" Asher cuts in chuckling and gets a pillow in his face. "Ok."
"You go to the Res." Tëmpe orders. "Bhaze and I will go over the crime scenes again, check their homes and workplaces. Something is going to stand out that's going to lead us right to the Raven Mocker."
Bhaze lifts his head from the pillow and looks at his sister.
"I concur." Asher's hand comes up from the floor.
Dean pulls up to the UPS office and Sam goes in to retrieve the package Bobby overnighted to them. They're still trying to figure out how to track this bird man, who it's going for next because according to the legends they target the sick and the dying. That's just too many people in a hospital for the Winchesters to protect and the only victim with ties to the medical field died in his home. Sam insists it's got to do with the victims but none of them were terminally ill, their jobs have nothing in common, they really have nothing that ties them together and it's not like this is their first hunt so Dean is getting sick of this invisible pattern he isn't picking up.
Sam comes out with the cylinder in hand. He glances around and heads toward the Impala still concerned someone is going to recognize them and start yelling bloody murder in the middle of the street. They had a close call back in Lily Dale with all those psychics… the door closes and Dean grabs at the package and ends up with the top.
"They're arrows." Sam pulls one out carefully and hands it over to his brother. "Head shots." He plucks the note out and holds it out for Dean.
Bobby's writing is clear enough and so is the note. Dean looks up at Sam. "He say anything about how to track it?"
Tëmpe's sitting in the middle of the bed, crime scene pictures scattered all around her and a bio for each victim. She's already crossed off the birthdates and ages. Their ethnicity doesn't seem to matter much though they are primarily Caucasian. She can't see where any of these people have met even if they all lived in the same town. Tëmpe figures the bartender likely had contact with Lane and the waitress being that they were all younger. The waitress could've had contact with the teacher and the business owner, maybe waited on them during one shift or another. But that isn't enough to tie them together enough the Raven Mocker would want them dead so…
"And what about you?" she taps the male caregivers photo and looks around again but being that he was a live-in makes it a little harder to put him in a bar or even at the diner and how the hell would she tie him in with the teacher? "No… there's something else cus this isn't working either."
Sloane would just tell her to look again, only this time to focus on something else so Tëmpe tosses the bios aside and randomly grabs a file. The picture is not a good one but she's got the caregiver so look she must. Halfway down the file Tëmpe stops and there's a name jumping out at her practically screaming "LOOK AT ME!"
"Mr. Isaac Thoern… I wonder…" Tëmpe grabs at another file and flips it open to a picture of Lane Franze but she already knew Isaac would be there. What she wants is the alumni photo she plucks out of the file and leaves the mess on the bed as she stands and carefully hops off the bed. This time there's no need for slacks or heels and Tëmpeztrà is happy to slip on her comfy leather boots. It's a snug fit what with the fuzzy socks she's not giving up in this cold weather. She slips the charcoal leather jacket over her black zip up hoodie and grabs her helmet. She's thinking it wasn't such a good idea to hop on the bike and take off before the guys but at least she's got wheels and that reminds her; Heading out. Do NOT eat my food. The text is sent and the cell goes in her back pocket.
The bar is only 15minutes away and by the time she arrives its looking busy. Tëmpe checks her cell and its just coming to 9pm and there's a text from Bhaze.
No promises. Where u at?
Bar. I'm hungry. I mean it. Want food when I get back.
Its not gonna do any good but there's always the diner on her way back and Tëmpe needs to ask around there too. She heads in and goes right up to the bartender. She hasn't spoken to him yet and quickly works out her story. She'll play the girlfriend who thinks he's cheating and let it go from there.
"Hey." Tëmpe set her helmet down on the empty stool and slips the picture from her jacket. "I'll have a soda."
"Soda?" he looks her over and before he asks for an ID, Tëmpe points to her helmet.
"I'm driving. You really think beer is gonna be my friend?" she smiles at him using that flirty tilt of her head Jon always gave in to; 'Not always. He still left.'
"Responsible. I like. What kind?" he nods and grabs a glass.
"Coke." Tëmpe watches him drop a cherry into it and place it in front of her. She slides the picture closer to him and starts. "You see him around?"
"Boyfriend?" he leans up on the bar eyeing her curiously but he takes the picture and looks at it.
"Might be an ex soon if the bastard's cheating." She watches for the tell, a sign that he recognizes Lane… He nods and points.
"Yeah, seen him around a few months back."
Tëmpeztrà takes the picture back but he's pointing at a different face than she expected.
"You're sure?" she looks up and he's nodding, no doubt on his face at all.
"Lisa was pretty much on his jock anytime he came in. They'd leave soon after, never did finish a shift… sorry." Though he doesn't seem to sorry over the fake break up he thinks is coming up.
"Well, thanks." Tëmpe drops a bill on the bar and grabs her helmet. "That clears up plenty."
She's not in the mood for flirting; not looking for a hook up either even with the pretty package the bartender presents and her next stop is the diner where the waitress worked. She walks in and takes a seat at the counter, a minute later and she's got the same old waitress pouring her coffee. Tëmpe orders a meal to go because once she's done asking her questions sitting in a booth to eat while getting weird looks isn't gonna make her meal enjoyable. It's another 10minutes before she even sees her food come up to the window where the same waitress packs it in a container and slips it into a plastic bag.
"I'm sorry to bother you, ma'am." She tries a smile and gets the picture ready. "Are you always here?"
"Every day so long as I can work." Tëmpe gets a once over and then; "Why?"
"I was wondering if you could tell me if they've been in here before." She holds up the picture of Lane and Isaac watching the old woman's face but like the bartender; "Yes."
"Together?" Tëmpe doesn't expect the titter of laughter and the old waitress leans over the counter where the cash is lying.
"No, but they came in with the same woman. Different days, about the same time." she shakes her head. "Becky liked this one." She taps Lane's glossy face but her eyes keep wandering over to Isaac.
"Did this man ever speak to her?" Tëmpe can tell right away it's the one question too many and even though she tells the waitress not to worry, she's got her answer.
Outside she stops next to her bike and dials Bhaze. He answers around a mouthful she ignores. "I got our connection. Call Asher, we're gonna need it sooner than we thought."
Sam sits up and Dean grins.
"It's been right here." Dean lays the sheets on the bed where Sam has moved his legs. "The geezer was giving me a headache-."
"You figured it out?"
"Partially." Dean makes a face but he focuses on the information they have. "The teacher; he's got ties to the Cherokee."
"Like…what." Sam frowns because he certainly doesn't look Native American in the least. "Family?"
"Well yeah though it's not enough he can register- yes," Dean rolls his eyes in a slight huff because he isn't an idiot. "I did some digging around. I do know what I'm doing here, Sammy."
He doesn't mention that there were plenty of clues in the home when they bluffed their way in or the fact that a lot of the classroom had been decorated with Indians though to be fair, the kids were learning all about Thanksgiving since it is November.
"The legends say the Medicine Man with … uh, the right medicine can see it in its true from." Sam eyes the pictures of the teacher and the business owner.
"It's supposed to die 7days after that." Dean points out and the only dead are victims so…
"Who's to say it actually works out this way, Dean? I mean," and Sam leans his arms on his knees where he's still sitting on the bed, hazel eyes intent. "These are oral legends; none of this was ever written down and in each telling some of the facts could've been changed. It happens."
"Then we are screwed." Dean drops the papers in his hands and runs both hands through his short hair leaving the top just a tad spiked. "We have 'blessed arrows' to kill this thing with and oh, yeah, they might not work out. You wanna give this a crack, Sam?" he glowers but the frustration is getting to them both.
"How do we tie the victims together?" Sam stands and moves next to his brother, both staring down at the files spread out on the bed. After a moment, Dean goes to the foot of the bed and looks at the mess from a different angle.
"The teacher and the business owner, they have Cherokee blood so…maybe they saw it. They saw the bird man and it killed them." Dean shrugs because it sounds far fetched- I mean, two men who could see it? Really?
"It's a million to one odds but I'm going with it." Sam shrugs. With what they've seen and done… hell, this is nothing. "What about George Goldstein?"
"Yeah, all I got for him is this." Dean pulls up the work history and hands it to Sam who starts reading down the list of clients. Dean grabs Lane Franze's file and holds it open as well, finger pointing to the sheet. "Isaac Thoern."
Sam frowns and skims the page again; "Elizabeth Thoern."
They have a connection and there's that complaint in the file as well. Elizabeth Thoern died but her family protested because it was so sudden and she'd been doing much better though the woman would die eventually.
"You think Goldstein killed her?" Sam looks at his brother and it's clear from his expression that it's more likely. "Mercy killing…"
"Maybe she didn't want to fight anymore. Maybe she was tired of being in pain and … Georgie helped her out." Dean thinks it's likely and it's not unheard of. "Or maybe George was the Raven Mocker …" he shrugs but they both don't quite buy it and it's not like they're gonna wait around for another victim to pop up.
Isaac Thoern is their one lead and they can tie him to two of the victims.
"I say he gets a visit from the FBI."
They stand around the small table in their hotel room. The frail looking Medicine Man at the Res told Asher the Raven Mocker would die one of two ways. Unfortunately there was only one available to him since the 'special' tobacco had been taken by his youngest grandson and smoked just the day before.
"Pot." Tëmpe echoes. "He thought it was old Native Pot."
"Doesn't matter." Bhaze responds. "Blessed wood arrows or not, we have a weapon."
Yes, they really do and right now it's resting on the old buckskin square it had been wrapped in when the Medicine Man handed it over. He wasn't going to at first, not to some pale face but Asher made it work. He explained who he was and what he was doing and why the weapon was needed. The Medicine Man saw the truth, he'd watched the news… he didn't see the connection but he believed Asher simply because he knew of Hunters.
"It looks…" Asher thinks twice because he wants to say fragile-
"Pretty." Tëmpeztrà pipes up because the light from the overhead lamp is making it glitter and spark. Its sort of spear like in shape and long- surprisingly so- exactly 21inches in length.
"I hope it doesn't break." Bhaze mutters wearing a slight frown. That's the last thing they need.
"Ok. I did my part." Asher looks between Bhaze and Tëmpe, a dark eyebrow raised in question. The siblings are silent. Truthfully, they're no closer to figuring out how to track the damn bird man so Bhaze has decided they're all taking turns watching Isaac Thoern's home and tailing him.
"Seriously?" Asher looks between them again. "We're playing-."
"Don't …say it." Tëmpe cuts in before he mentions-
"What." Asher frowns. "I love Simon & Simon'."
"Uyh…." Tëmpe rolls her eyes and doesn't say anything else. She kinda likes the show too. 'The blond one is cute.' And there it is again; a clear preference in type because Jon is blond and; 'God damn it! Will you stop with this shit? Jeez!'
"I'm taking first watch." Tëmpeztrà turns on her heel and grabs her jacket. The gray leather goes over her black boat-neck sweater (she likes it's got thin burgundy and blue stripes and its light but warm) the black skinny jeans tuck neatly into her boots and her toes won't freeze thanks to another pair of fuzzy socks. Before grabbing her helmet she returns to the table and takes the quartz dagger making sure it's securely wrapped in its buckskin.
"Second shift can take it off my hands, boys." Tëmpe grabs her helmet and quickly leaves the hotel room. She can hear them; voices muffled and she knows they're likely arguing about who's taking the second watch. Its late afternoon now and this means the boys get the worst of the cold but then, they both have cars they'll be sitting in. Tëmpeztrà eyes her bike mournfully.
"I'm gonna freeze my ass off out here."
But someone has to play super hero and it might as well be her.
Young and strong but they'll figure it out and then they'll come again.
They'll come to kill.
It's what they do.
What they are.
And it's been so long since he's taken a Hunters heart.
Tëmpeztrà stares at the cell in her hand. It's ringing and his picture flashes on the screen but she doesn't pick up. A cold gust of wind burns her cheeks and nose, tossing long strands of dark hair into her face and the ringtone cuts out.
He'll get the voice mail and maybe this time he won't leave one but she hasn't listened to any of them, each one erased before it's allowed to play and Jon made his choice.
He wasn't happy.
He didn't feel whole.
"No time for this." Tëmpe mutters under her breath and continues walking down the street until she's at the corner. There's a nice overgrown wall that gives plenty of cover from both sides of the street and she has a perfect view of the Thoern house. She watches the fading tail lights of a classic Chevy disappear into the dusk of early evening. It'll be a few hours before one of the guy's shows up to take over.
The house is dark and remains so the next three hours while Tëmpe tries to keep warm and out of sight. She notices a light in the second floor which goes out 20minutes later.
Its tedious and boring work, the part of the job Tëmpe could do without but then she remembers Sloane saying that patience is always rewarded.
Her lips pull into a sad smile and this melancholy mood just won't let go of Tëmpeztrà. It's always the holidays…
Bhaze heads off. He's gonna stop for some coffee and snacks before sending his sister back to the warmth of the hotel room. The slight frown on his face is still there as he walks into the shop and orders. He can't help but think of his sister and the krappy mood she's been in since Jon left them. Yeah, them. After what happened with the snakes, what he told them about what they thought they knew of the world… And the Duke's had shared too. They told him about Hunting- hell, there'd been no choice.
Sloane wouldn't agree. She'd tell them there were other options but they hadn't bothered to consider them or even think of any and yeah, maybe his Mom would've been right but at the time it seemed only fair to include Jon.
Bhaze had thought- it just seemed like Tëmpe was getting the 'happily ever after' with Jon. And deep down, Bhaze had been wishing it would be enough to get Tëmpeztrà out of Hunting for good or at least pull her out enough there'd be no more risks.
His cell phone chirps and there's a message from Jon.
How is she?
How is Tëmpe?
Well … she's certainly not happy, and yeah she's still pissed off…
What else is he going to tell Jon?
His coffee ready, Bhaze heads out of the shop and climbs into the General Lee. He spots his sister 1ominutes later and drives past her position to park on the opposite side of the street where he can still have a view of the house. He leans across the front seat and rolls down the window then huddles into his jacket. A minute later, his sister is sliding in the window and closing it after herself.
"Not a peep." Tëmpe reports. "He hasn't left."
"Great. Let's hope we get lucky and finish this." Bhaze takes a sip of his coffee and surreptitiously eyes her. "So."
"What?" Tëmpe turns in the passenger seat to face him. She knows he has something to say and the ignored call makes her think she already knows what's coming.
"Got a text."
"Yeah. That's what cell phones do these days."
Bhaze is silent for a moment. She's already defensive but he goes in anyway.
"It's been a year. How long are you going to keep ignoring his calls? He wants to talk-."
"But out." Tëmpeztrà glares.
"I don't need you to tell me how to deal with my personal life, Bhaze. And I don't want to talk about Jon with you or anyone else. He's gone." She grabs at the handle and furiously rolls down the glass. "He left. He wanted his old life back and there wasn't anything I said that made a difference so No. Just shut up about him already!"
"Tëmpeztrà-." Bhaze reaches out to grab her leg and she yanks away from him. She doesn't turn back and is halfway down the block before Bhaze can stick his head out the window. He blows out a breath and lets her go. She's angry, still pissed off at Jon and Bhaze knows his sister was definitely in it with Jon and now he's mad at Jon for hurting his baby sister this much…
"Krap." Bhaze huffs a long sighed breath and rolls up the window. It's an hour before he realizes Tëmpe never handed him the quartz dagger. "Krap."
Sam spots Isaac Thoern and hesitates to follow him but does. He's texting Dean when Thoern is just gone and Sam looks around trying to figure out how he's lost him. The cell rings and Sam picks up; "I lost him."
"The Professor? How'd you do that?"
"I'm on my way back." Because Sam is about to snap and say I blinked and that's how Isaac disappeared because it certainly feels like it was that fast. He's only gone three blocks when he starts to feel winded and that's strange because he hasn't done anything more strenuous than walk. Sam slows his pace but one more block and he's wheezing – it dawns on him; "…the dying person only appears to those around them to be choking and gasping for air…"
He stumbles and a young woman gets bumped in the process. Sam's trying to breathe, to slow his thundering heart and not panic. Whatever she says doesn't register but she's calling out for help, looking about for a place to sit him down and he starts to feel the air rush into his lungs though at a too slow pace.
"Fine." He gasps as she sits him down, her hand cool on his cheek as she tilts his face up towards hers. Sam notes green eyes and light brown hair under a black knitted cap. He closes his eyes and concentrates on breathing and finally listens to her voice. She's calm, assuring him and Sam thinks she's probably a Mother or maybe she deals with kids because that's how she sounds. "I'm fine, thank you…" Sam breathes in again, slow and deep, savoring the wonderful smells all around and he opens his eyes. He offers her a smile, the hazel eyes on full puppy charm.
"Are you sure?" she's looking around again, her hand resting on his shoulder and Sam notices they've drawn a small crowd. He stiffens- it's been almost – since they've been plastered on the TV all over the US and laying low hasn't been easy. The motion catches her attention and she's about to ask what's wrong when Sam stands up.
"Thank you, really. I'm fine. I have to go." He hurries off, glancing over his shoulder and all around as he makes it another two blocks with the young woman almost forgotten. He sends Dean a text and how the hell did he become a target?
Asher gets back to the hotel room to find Bhaze still asleep. He stops at the foot of the bed and seriously considers playing a prank on his cousin. Maybe something along the lines of shaving cream in his face or trying to get him to pee himself…
"Nah, my brain isn't working right now." He mutters and moves off to the empty bed and just drops on it face down. Its too much effort to remove his clothes and how much longer are they going to wait because its been two days of just sitting and watching and not doing anything else but waiting.
And lots more waiting…
'And now its Tëmpe's turn.'
Yeah, the next 6hours it's all her but there's still light and before dusk, Bhaze will be up and out to take over.
"Nothin' to worry over…"
Sandra Blhake has no idea how her day got this way. It seemed like just another mundane, nothing-special, type of day… well, until Sam Winchester bumped into her and practically knocked her down. Her first reaction had been to get angry because there's this big guy towering over her 5'4" frame and no 'Pardon me miss', not even a muttered 'Sorry' or 'Excuse me' to apologize for almost running her over. … But then she notices he isn't purposely running her down- no, the guy seems to be having trouble breathing and her first thought is; "Dude's an asthmatic." So she tries to help him, gets him into a chair outside the Deli she's just walked out of and looks around for help.
Well, it gets weird then.
Sandra didn't think she really saw what she saw…
Sandra chooses to ignore the freaky-deaky mirage and focuses on the guy clearly getting himself together. And then all she gets is some breezy 'thank you' but then she really did nothing for him and he's gone. Walks right off…
No name, no number- 'So ok, what. He's way hot! Nothing wrong with appreciating the view and even less if touching is allowed…'
And Sandra has plenty to keep her occupied once she's back at work. A whole bunch of scenarios in her mind where it'd be 'fun' to be touching tall-dark-and-gone. Even the occasional customer asking if they're open (Hello, you just walked in the door) is received with only an eye roll that's missing the sarcastic "Gee, was that an open door you just walked through?"
One time, Sandra even asked the customer if they'd ever thought of going back to school… I mean, how far can people take the "There's no such thing as a stupid question."
Sandra Blhake isn't just another human being how ever much she thinks and says that she is. She's done nothing out of the ordinary or extraordinary during the 26years of her life. She doesn't believe in the fairy tales her Grandmother would spin for her when she was a kid. That crazy old woman always smelled of a combination of sage, lavender and copal – not the usual Grandma scents but hey, that's what Sandra got and Grandma wasn't so bad- at least when she didn't go off on those stories of hers….
But the thing Sandra didn't see earlier in the day is walking through her door-
There's a crash and glass breaks, the pieces sparkling under the receding sunlight washing in through the front display window. It makes that things shadow long and very black in the suddenly cold book store….
The blue sedan turns left onto the street with Isaac Thoern at the wheel. Tëmpeztrà watches him drive down the block before hurrying off to her bike. She's got the helmet on and heads after him all the while making sure to stay in his blind spot- easier to do on her bike than it would be in the General Lee or Asher's truck but the guys love their cars…
A few miles and Isaac Thoern turns down Main Street and pulls into the first available parking spot. There's nothing else open and Tëmpeztrà moves past with the rest of Main Street traffic. She turns the corner and finds the first side street to turn into. It takes her a few minutes to get back to the sedan and by then its only luck that presents her with a glimpse of Thoern going into a shop.
Tëmpe's lucky he didn't see her.
The sign across the street has a faded scroll and Book Barn beside it in bright red letters. Obviously newly repainted…
She hesitates to move any closer even though there's something … off …
"Go with your gut. It's almost always the smartest thing to do."
Tëmpeztrà still hesitates a few minutes, debating whether or not to cross the street and show herself to Thoern because what would be her excuse?
Her cell phone in hand, smoky eyes watch the store …. On Main Street. Book Barn.
She's across the street with a muttered "Screw it." Under her breath. There's nothing that says she can't walk into the shop and buy a book… 'Or snoop.'
That feeling… it only gets stronger and by the time she pulls the handle and the jingling bell over her head announces her presence there's nothing but a certainty that nothing good is coming her way.
Isaac Thoern has Sandra Blhake on the floor.
Tëmpeztrà can see the brown boots twitching; lazily and the soft choking sounds are faint. There's no mistaking what that black shadow passing over Thoern could be and Tëmpe has a vivid image of the Raven Mocker in her head from all the research. She can't help but admire the beauty in such an evil spirit but then, well… the same was said of Lucifer; wasn't he the most beautiful of angels in heaven?
"She's barely breathing." Isaac keeps his face averted though he turns towards the door where Tëmpeztrà has paused. "You should call for help."
She notices his voice-it's a raspy, soft sound that echoes as though it's a choir. It isn't normal and Isaac has to know that.
"Help…" Tëmpeztrà breathes and there's that almost imperceptible glimmer of sparks from the spirit. "I'm gonna help." Her hand grips the buckskin covered dagger, drawing it from her back as she rushes the rest of the way into the store. Isaac stands in a fluid motion while the buckskin falls to the floor and the rainbow of lights sparks off the quarts blade from the sunlight quickly fading to dusk. He ducks the strike at his head and then chest, hands raised to block the sparks of light seeming to pierce into him.
It's the sound that startles Tëmpeztrà, that high pitched caw-just like a crow and there's a black swoosh of feathers and … and it's … just gone. …
She turns in a half circle, dagger at the ready, head cocked and listening but there's nothing aside from the hacking cough of Sandra as she regains her breath; gasping out sobs and unintelligible gibberish though there's mentions of 'Fucking crazy Grammy'.
Tëmpeztrà shoves her cell back into her pocket and grabs the buckskin with which she wraps the dagger in, securing it once again and hiding it under her leather jacket. She kneels beside Sandra, helping her sit up and rest against the counter.
"It's going to try to kill you again." The words aren't at all reassuring but Tëmpe doesn't have the time to coddle the next victim.
Sandra shakes her head because; "No. Nah-uh! No way!"
"It's you or him and he's not going to die just to let you live." Tëmpeztrà grabs her arm and hauls. "Up. Now."
Sandra yelps and the grip on her arm doesn't loosen one bit, less so when Tëmpe starts for the door.
"Wait! Wha-woa, I'm not going out there!" Sandra pulls back and they're caught in a tug of war that Tëmpeztrà will eventually win but doesn't have the time to see through. Sandra yanks herself from Tëmpe and smacks into her own counter with a muttered curse because it really does hurt.
"You stay here." Tëmpeztrà crosses her arms, smoky eyes hard as she stares down the civilian. "He'll come back and you will die." She lets the words hang between them watching Sandra's expression flit from shock to fear to indecision but the answer is always the same. Humans have an instinctual need to survive, it's just how everyone's wired. "You saw him. What he really is. That means he's dead in 7days. 7." Tëmpe extends her hand, palm up and waits.
A dark eyebrow comes up just a bit and Sandra utters a soft whine that's not going to change the fact her day just went to shit.
Asher has the best chance of calming Sandra considering what a goof ball he tends to be. Bhaze just doesn't have the patience to deal with hysterics and more than once he's told his sister how happy he is she doesn't freak out when shit hits the fan. Then again, their life isn't like Sandra's ….
"Uhm… this is a first."
Tëmpeztrà closes her eyes; head hanging as she quietly turns around and heads right back out of the room she's almost walking into.
"Ahh…I can't." Sandra huffs. She hasn't wanted to accept anything they've said even though she knows they're telling her the truth. It's just not that easy to throw away all those years of believing her Grandmother was just a crazy woman spewing fairy tales-especially when most of them gave Sandra nightmares…
"He'll get her." Bhaze is quiet, hand on her shoulder already walking with Tëmpe away from the living room. Blue eyes spare a glance to where their cousin is working on their damsel in distress. It's the one thing Asher excels at and the trio work together like a well oiled machine. Each one has their area of expertise so to speak. Tëmpe, because she's the youngest and because she was forced to stay with Luke and Aspen those two years without hunting, has learned to make research and information gathering her 'thing'. She's no slouch when it comes to weapons or hand to hand- she's had the same training as Bhaze- but then she had three years with Jon and he did his own teaching…
Asher's thing is people. They like him, they tell him things maybe they wouldn't normally say and he's always able to calm down the victims they manage to save. (Lets face it; not everyone gets to live.)
Bhaze… he has connections, he finds the things they need and he keeps them all safe. Hunting wasn't the only thing Luke found fault with and wanted far from his home and family.
"Isaac won't stop."
Tëmpe nods, she knows this, they all do even if Sandra doesn't want to accept it yet.
"You went at him Tëmps." Bhaze takes her arms, his grip firm as he looks down at her. "He knows what you are, what you do…"
She nods again, the concern in his blue eyes only makes her feel guilty; like she's failed because she didn't kill Thoern…
"I survived a Snake." Tëmpeztrà tries a smirk even though the reminder of Jon hurts. "A Raven Mocker… eh." She shrugs, hand lightly smacking Bhaze in the chest. "Doesn't stand a chance against the three of us."
Bhaze snorts, he's not sure how much is bullshit but he knows his sister and Tëmpe certainly is worried about this hunt. She worries on all of them and that's just normal. Hell, they all worry and why not when they could die.
"So the plan…" Bhaze knows that look and knows he isn't going to like the next thing out of her mouth.
"Bait." Tëmpe can't help her excitement at the idea of taunting the Raven Mocker. It's her one fault if she wanted to admit to any. The one thing that always pissed off Jon…
Dean is pissed; his motions sharp as he grabs his weapons and packs them into the duffel. He's pissed off that Sam almost kicked the bucket. 'Again.' He's angry at this fugly for coming after his brother because what the fuck…
"How'd it find us – you?" because it went after Sam not Dean and Dean can't figure out what the hell gave them away. Dean can't figure out what frigging sign is plastered on them that says "Fuglys welcome. Come take a shot. We love getting mauled and dying because we always come back."
"I don't know." Sam blows out a heavy breath, hands running through his long hair only for it to flop back into his eyes. "I really…I never saw it. I don't even know where it was, where it came from."
Dean's phone kicks in, its incessant psycho scream with accompanying music a welcome distraction even though Sam quirks an eyebrow at his brother.
"You boys figure how to track this thing?"
"Uh..-." Dean eyes Sam who sits up, expression attentive. "Nooo-o."
"Tell me you idjits …" Bobby sighs and Dean can almost picture the old Hunter running a hand down his face; frustrated, annoyed- most likely both and then some. "Look, I found an old … story. Turns out the Cherokee had Raven Mocker hunters; Gûñskäli'skï. Now, this Hunter used quartz to track 'em. Works the same as in the stories, the quartz lets you see 'em as they are and 7days after…"
"It dies." Dean finishes.
"You boys can find some quartz … or do you need-."
"No." Dean quickly cuts in. "No, Bobby, thanks." He hangs up before the old Hunter gets in some well deserved rebukes. "We need quartz."
Sam nods though he's not sure what for. "Ok… ?..."
"Lets go." Dean moves towards the door, the duffel over his shoulder and Sam grabs his jacket hurrying after his brother.
AN: So far, I have it all worked out and this was actually the last in the Duke/Winchester family verse but its been the easiest to get out. I'm thinking, maybe a late Thanksgiving fic just for fun or maybe I'll make it Christmas... eh, I'll enjoy dreaming up the holiday torture for these five.