A/N: This is a continuation of 'Psychic Unnatural'. Lady is an OC with some unique story lines of her own. I'm trying to write these chapters so you don't have to read the previous story to understand, though if you enjoy these chapters you'll like the first part of the story. I update weekly, mostly on the weekends.
September 18, 2008
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Bobby examined his glass of whiskey and tried to remember if this was drink number seven or eleven, or if he had even been counting to begin with. He brought the glass to his lips and paused before taking the drink. He wasn't sure if he had been toasting his drinks before, but he thought this drink deserved a toast. Not in celebrating, but in mourning. He knew a hell of a lot about mourning. What should he mourn this drink? His liver probably deserved it, though that would be in pity more than mourning as the liver hadn't offed itself...yet. Then of course there was Dean, who four months ago had been torn up by a hellhound. Or Sam, who was around doing god knows what god knows where, lost without his older brother. But no, while he wished Dean was still with the living and Sam wasn't running suicide missions looking for vengeance, the toast wouldn't go to the Winchesters. Not this one at least.
"To you, kid," Bobby uttered before drinking his whiskey.
Eleven years ago Bobby, along with John Winchester, rescued a teenage girl from being sacrificed by a black witch. She called herself Lady, but she had always been 'Kid' to him. He felt so bad for her. She was pretty, even after all the black witch had put her through. Just sixteen years old, on her own hustling on the streets of Las Vegas. Even though he had just saved her life he wished he had been able to do more for her. Maybe he didn't have kids of his own but he always had a soft spot for them, and a small girl like Lady being on her own fending for herself never sit well with him.
The ritual that Lady was being sacrificed for had been interrupted by her rescuers, and the backlash of magical energy that was released hit her full force. Immediately following her rescue there were no side affects, but after a few months she discovered she had some psychic abilities. Lady could see short glimpses into the future, see what people did before they did it, hear what they were going to say before they said it. And she got infrequent visions further into the future. Discovering she had those abilities led her back into Bobby and John's lives. John introduced her to a friend of his, another psychic by the name of Missouri.
After a while with Missouri Lady also discovered that not only had the coven left her with the knowledge of the Latin language, psychic abilities, and a tattoo on her right wrist, but they had also left a deadly curse in her. The curse started making her ill, and Bobby started a race to cure her of it. It wasn't until Lady met a Native American medicine woman that she found relief from her curse many years later.
Though Bobby didn't wholeheartedly agree, he helped Lady become a witch hunter so she could track down other members of the coven. And she became damn good at it.
Just three years ago John Winchester asked her for a small favor, to use her cursed blood to perform a ritual that would help him with his hunt for the Yellow-Eyed demon. And then she agreed to meet his sons, Sam and Dean, to keep them off of John's trail. From there shit hit the fan several times. John died, demons ran amok, problems with hunters, warlocks, witches, vampires, a Trickster, a Goddess, spirits…you know, typical day in the life of a hunter.
Lady went through some rough tumbles, but had always pulled through. Sometimes she needed help, but she always bounced back. However after the worst year she'd been through it now seemed she'd be spending the rest of her days in the nut house.
These days they called them Mental Health Facilities. But still a nut house. About a month earlier Lady had apparently failed a ritual, and afterwards she had been unresponsive. She'd drool and look at things, but that was the best she'd do. After a few weeks she might whimper, but mostly would scream if anyone touched her. It was painful seeing his friend, who was full of arrogance and pride, in that state. He forced himself to drive to Elgin, Illinois once a week to see her, it was his attempt to balance the guilt he felt for leaving her in the hands of a nut house.
But Lady was making progress. His friend Pamela Barnes, also a psychic, promised him that. She held the belief that one day Lady would be able to communicate again. Although nothing short of a miracle would get Lady back to her old self. Pamela also provided the invaluable service of checking in with Bobby to let him know how Lady was.
Bobby was pouring the last shot out of a bottle when his phone rang. "What?" he barked into the phone.
"Bobby, it's me," Pamela said. "I hope you haven't been drinking tonight."
"Not a drop," he lied smoothly.
"Mmhm," Pamela chuckled. "I just finished my session with Lady. Seems Sam was here earlier today."
"You see him?" Bobby asked.
"No, he was long gone before I got here. Anyway, Lady was very irritable. Agitated, nearly violent. They hit her with a sedative to keep her pleasant," Pamela said.
Bobby groaned. On occasion, and frequently, something set Lady off. Since she couldn't, or wouldn't, speak they didn't know exactly what. But she'd throw some sort of fit, give a nurse a black eye or bloody lip, hurt herself in some other manner. It was best to knock her out with drugs early before she could wreak havoc with one of her tantrums.
"Those other times she had to be sedated, those were when Sam was visiting too?" Bobby said slowly to make sure his speech didn't slur.
"I'm not sure, but I want to meet this guy. Any reaction out of Lady is something we need and if he's the cause maybe he can help us," Pamela said.
"Well he ain't gonna pick up the phone for me," Bobby sighed miserably. But he thought to himself if Sam had been in Elgin earlier that day he couldn't be too far. "Let me get some sleep. I'll drive up in the morning."
"Call me when you get here."
Bobby drank his last shot, and threw the bottle in the garbage. It crashed loudly against two other empty liquor bottles, then promptly passed out.
September 19, 2008
Bobby was taking care of a few things before leaving for Illinois. He was too occupied making sure he had his house prepared for a day with him away that he didn't hear a car pull up into the lot. The sound of someone knocking on the door surprised him, but didn't have him overly concerned. But since he was a paranoid bastard he still answered it while holding a knife behind his back. And he was very startled to see Dean Winchester, the same one that had been mauled to death just four months ago, standing there.
After a short scuffle Dean proved to him that he wasn't a shapeshifter, ghoul, or demon. He was real, alive, himself.
"But…this don't make any sense," Bobby uttered, looking at Dean with disbelief still.
"Yeah, yeah you're preachin' to the choir," Dean said, his lip twitching in amusement.
"Dean, your chest was ribbons, your insides were slop. And you've been buried for over four months. Even if you could slip out of hell and back into your meat suit…" Bobby couldn't even imagine what shape a body would be in at that time.
"I know, I should look like a Thriller video reject," Dean agreed.
Bobby took a few moments and then asked, "What do you remember?"
Dean looked off to the side, needing a moment to think about what exactly he remembered since the last time he drew a breath.
Day One in Hell
"SAM! SAMMY!" Dean shouted until his voice cracked. "LADY! HELP ME, SOMEBODY OH GOD HELP ME!"
He thought he had prepared himself…but nothing really prepared you for hell. Not the real thing. So far nothing had touched him, but he was bound in chains and meat hooks, and he could see and hear. Other souls crying out for help…and he could hear the demons. They were enjoying the suffering, and they were looking forward to his turn. There was nothing they liked more than fresh meat.
Day 100 in Hell
Demons looked different in hell. Sure, some were just puffs of black smoke. But others appeared human, or at least humanoid. Others look like horrendous monsters. Things he had never even imagined could exist. Just looking at some of them were enough to drive him into temporary insanity.
Alistair always made sure Dean's sanity returned in order to continue the torture. Carving away slices of the flesh of his soul, all the while talking calmly to him. Dean tried to hold back the screams, but he couldn't help it. All day Alistair worked him over until there was nothing left…and then he'd be healed. For a few moments the pain was gone, there was physical relief, but never emotional relief. Always there was some form of torture pout on him.
"Dean, should you wish to get off the rack I can make an arrangement. All you have to do is take my place, and start torturing other souls," Alistair offered him.
Dean understood hell well enough. It was torture, constant torture, until he was something exactly like Alistair. Slowly, and so very painfully, Alistair was stripping away bits of his humanity. And the trip would be so much quicker if Dean picked up the knife and just gave in. But he had never been one for taking the easy road. "Stick it where the sun shines you son of a bitch," he replied roughly.
Year 5 in Hell
Counting the days helped Dean keep his sanity. Five years, every day the same thing, same thing but different. Alistair could get creative, and he wasn't the only demon doing the torturing. But what it came down to was hell wasn't much different than prison. Chained to the slab and then just waiting for the preferred method of torture for the day. At the end of the day, even if Alistair wasn't the one doing the torture, he went to visit Dean and make the same offer.
Hell never sleeps. Sort of like an evil version of New York City. But Dean always had a short break between torture sessions. That break was torture in itself because all he could do was wait for the pain to start again. And the only thing he had to look forward to during his torture was that brief moment of relief when he was healed. Today the break was longer than usual.
Lilith was there to visit. "Alistair," she said in a curt and rather cute girly voice.
"Lilith," Alistair's voice was a deeper rumble.
Lilith appeared in hell as a young and sweet blonde girl, the same girl Dean had witnessed her possess. "Why hasn't he broken yet?"
"Well it's not for lack of trying, that's for sure," Alistair replied.
"I'm tired of waiting," Lilith said, sounding like a young girl prepared to throw a tantrum. With a huff of fire and brimstone she approached Dean. "Comfy?"
"Not really," Dean said in a low voice.
Lilith picked up a rusted and bloodstained instrument, "I understand you've refused Alistair's offers. Why?"
"Blow me, bitch," Dean said.
Lilith smiled at him, unnatural green eyes glowing as she plunged the metal instrument into his stomach.
Dean was unable to scream, his breath was gone immediately and blood filled his throat to choke him. With a flick of her wrist the instrument shifted inside him and he could feel his innards being mixed with each other. His breath returned and he let out a gurgling scream of pain.
"That was messy," Alistair commented, obviously unimpressed by Lilith's method of torture.
"Does that hurt, Dean?" Lilith's eyes began to glitter and she giggled happily. "I did the same thing to your brother, but he died before he could tell me."
"No…" Dean grunted. He had feared every day that Sam didn't escape alive, but refused to believe Sam was dead.
"Yes," Lilith said, stepping back. She looked at Alistair, "Hurry up with him, I'm tired of waiting."
Year 25 in Hell
Dean lost count of the days, but Alistair gladly picked up the slack for him. They had a party for Dean's Silver Jubilee, twenty-five years. Dean was the cake for all the demons in attendance.
As he was being torn apart he tried to lose himself in his mind. He tried to imagine twenty-five years. Sam and Lady were in their fifties now. Imagining their lives helped him endure the pain.
Sam would have found a nice woman by now. Maybe it was Erin. They'd have a few kids, a somewhat normal life. As for Lady he could only imagine her living with Bobby, the only man other than himself that would want to live with her. Bobby might be up there in years by now but Dean knew that old man was still kicking.
When Dean became quiet too long the demons had it figured out what he was doing and they would interrupt his imaginings by hissing in his ear. Telling him what they did to people he cared of, destroying wonderful visions.
Year 30 in Hell
"Thirty years, is it?" Alistair spoke conversationally as he put Dean's body back together.
Dean shuddered, after all these years his body was conditioned to feel pain just at the sound of Alistair's voice. Or maybe he could no longer feel the sweet relief that came with being healed. He didn't know. All he saw anymore was the color red, red blood, his own? He couldn't stand it. Constant torture for thirty years, even when Alistair made him whole he wasn't really whole. He never would be again.
"Dean," Alistair's voice is eerily calm as always. "You know, I can end this pain. All you have to do is take my place and start torturing others."
Every day for over thirty years Dean heard that offer, and every day told him to shove it. He used every insult he could think of, and even made up some new ones. But he was done. He couldn't take it anymore. He couldn't remember what his brother looked like, what Lady sounded like, what driving his car felt like. He didn't feel anything but the pain. All he saw and heard was pain, even in his own head. He was done. His will broken and shattered. "Yes," Dean rasped.
Alistair almost gleefully released Dean, "That's a good boy," he said, offering the tortured man a tool of torture. "Enjoy yourself."
Dean was led to another soul that was chained up. Already he was naked and half the flesh was gone. Dean looked at the knife he had in his hand, and then plunged it into the man's neck.
There was a chorus of demons, all of them chattering at once. It sounded like they were cheering. Dean understood the significance of him accepting Alistair's offer, it was going to rapidly take away his humanity and turn him into one of them. But at the same time it felt like he had won, he was finally off the rack.
Year 31 in Hell
Dean knew he should feel sick for what he did, but he had no empathy for the souls he was torturing. They had all made deals, like he had. At first he didn't like what he was doing, but all he knew was that the pain he had felt constantly for thirty years was beginning to fade away.
"It's about time he picked up the knife," Lilith said angrily to Alistair.
"Patience has its rewards," Alistair replied.
"Now we can really get to work," Lilith sounded pleased. "Get rid of him."
"Actually, I want to keep him," Alistair said. "He shows so much promise. His technique is coming along nicely."
Lilith nodded once, "Fine, keep him. Do whatever you want with him."
Year 35 in Hell
Dean could still feel the echoes of pain he had been put through, but with every piece he sliced off of another soul he felt it lift a little bit more. Until…
Until he goes back to remember what life before hell was like. Thinking about that brought the pain back to the front of his mind, but he didn't push it away. That was the kind of pain he didn't mind feeling, it was pain that helped him hold onto what little humanity he still had. In his mind the people he loved were still alive after all these years.
In his life before hell a demon, Ruby, told him she could remember what it was like to be human. Dean knew that souls that were in hell long enough turn into demons, and that was what he would turn into. He just wanted to be like her when he crawled out of hell as a black-eyed son of a bitch, he wanted to keep memories of being human. Maybe it hurt to remember, but it hurt so good.
Year 40 in Hell
Without warning hell erupted into chaos. A bright white light swooped through, burning through hordes of demons in a straight path to Dean.
Dean didn't try to move out of the way. If whatever it was meant to run right over him he would let it. But instead of being decimated it enveloped him.
The next thing he remembered he woke up in darkness. His chest ached until his sucked in a dry breath. It took a few seconds for him to realize he was alive. That he was in a body, his body.
Dean fought his way out of the pine box and climbed out of a shallow grave. He gasped for breath and squinted at the sunlight. For several minutes he just let himself bake under the sun. It was the most magnificent thing he had seen or felt in decades.
And then he stood up and looked around his grave site. He had been buried in a small clearing in the woods, but all the trees around him had been flattened down. They were all demolished in a fifty foot radius around where his coffin had been.
"Hello!" Dean called out, his voice rasping out of his bone-dry throat.
The sun began to make him sweat and he moved to wipe his forehead. The movement made the sunlight hit something that reflected. Dean furrowed his eyebrows as he reached for something that was hanging from his belt loop, a silver charm bracelet. He unhooked it and held it up so he could look over the various religious protect charms and then closed his fingers over it. Lady's charm bracelet, one that had been gifted to her by his father and she wore almost every day.
Dean quickly assessed his new situation. He was out of hell, in a body, alive, and not a demon. He didn't know how, but he knew Sam and Lady had to be behind it. He needed to find them, and after he thanked them he had to kick their ass for whatever mojo they pulled off because there was no way it could be good.
Discovering that it had only been four months, and not forty years, had been hard to believe at first but he quickly remembered that other planes of existence didn't necessarily follow a schedule that matched the real world. He walked until he found an out of the way gas station that was closed for the evening. Inside he got food and water, but also had a brief encounter with some sort of force that made the windows explode and electronics go haywire. Deciding he had no more time to waste he hot-wired a car, drove through the night, and reached Bobby's in the morning. After Bobby was sure Dean was human he asked the question, "So what do you remember?"
Dean had no memory issues, he remembered it all, but he could only lie. "Not much. I remember I was a Hellhound's chew toy, and then...lights out. Then I come to six feet under, that was it. Sam's number's not working. He's, uh... he's not..."
"He's alive," Bobby assured him quickly. "I haven't talked to him in months, but he's alive."
"Wait, months? You just let him go off by himself?" Dean asked, suddenly worried about Sam.
"These past few months haven't been easy, on anyone. We had to bury you, Dean," Bobby said, coming over the shock of Dean being resurrected and was fighting back a new stir of emotions. "He and Lady tried everything they could to bring you home."
Dean looked away and felt the silver charm bracelet safely tucked in his pocket, "Yeah, they got me home okay. Damn it, Lady," he uttered, trying to imagine what black magic she had dipped into.
"No, I uh…I doubt Lady had anything to do with it," Bobby said, looking at his feet.
Dean had a feeling Lady would have been the witch with the spell behind his awakening. "No, Bobby, she had to have done something. You should have seen the grave site, it was like a nuke went off. And check this out."
Bobby looked up as Dean showed him burned handprints on each of shoulders.
"What the hell?" Bobby uttered.
"Exactly. Some sort of freaky witchcraft," Dean said.
Bobby shook his head, "Uh…Dean…about Lady…" Bobby took a breath as he held Dean's attention. "She ain't been in any shape to be doing rituals lately. Past month she's been completely out of it."
Dean looked confused, "What do you mean?"
"What I mean is…she's a resident at a mental health facility. Permanent resident. She did something a month ago, some ritual, it shorted out her brain. She's incoherent, lost in her head, or a total mind-wipe. We aren't exactly sure."
"Shit," Dean looked down. "You are sure?"
"Positive," Bobby said.
Dean quickly looked furious, "You put Lady in the nuthouse?"
"She couldn't even feed herself," Bobby said in defense. "I'm sorry, boy...I tried but I couldn't keep them together."
Dean took a few moments to reign in his emotions. "Okay, okay. Can you help me find Sam?"
"Yeah. Actually I was just about to start a new Sam hunt today. He was in Elgin, Illinois yesterday, can't be far."
"I just came from Illinois," Dean muttered. If Sam hadn't been far then it was very likely his brother was behind this.
Sam looked up when a pretty and petite demon came into his hotel room. "Charming little motel you picked out," she smiled at him.
"Where have you been, Ruby?" he asked.
"Busy," she answered, her eyes following him as he stepped under a devil's trap and began pulling out some clean clothes. "Things are a little hectic out there, I haven't been able to pin down the demons."
"Hectic how?" he asked.
"Just hectic," she said. "I don't know, something is going on but I haven't been able to sort the bull from the facts."
Sam went still, a t-shirt in his hand as he stared at a map pinned on the wall.
"What's wrong, Sam?" Ruby asked in a friendly tone.
Sam let out a huff of breath, "There has to be a reason for them being here. I mean, Lilith killed Dean just 6 hours up the interstate. Lady is staying in Elgin three hours away. Dean is buried twenty miles away…there are just too many things…"
"Sam, things like that are easy to find if you look for them," Ruby said, trying to keep his mind off of his family. "Have you eaten today?"
"I'm not hungry," he muttered.
"I'll order a pizza," Ruby offered, stepping under the devils trap with him. She offered him a knife and her arm, "You need to keep up your strength, we demons to find."
Sam took what she offered, released her from the devil's trap, and then went into the bathroom to shower.
He had just finished his shower and was getting dressed when he heard a knock on the door, the pizza must be there. Ruby had already answered the door by the time he walked out and instead of a pizza guy he saw Bobby Singer and his dead brother Dean.
After a brief scuffle Sam became convinced that it was really Dean and not something monstrous. And as he embraced his brother it made sense, something big was nearby and Dean was alive, things were connected and they had to figure it out.
"So…guess I should probably go," Ruby said, looking at Dean and Bobby cautiously.
"Yeah, uh…bye, Kathy," Sam quickly said.
Ruby caught on. She didn't want the other hunters to know she was a demon anymore than Sam wanted them to know. The only person who did know was babbling in a mental hospital. "Yeah, call me sometime," she said.
Dean waited for the girl to leave before asking, "What did it cost?"
"The girl? I don't pay, Dean," Sam answered.
"That's funny," Dean said humorously. "Your deal. Did it cost your soul? Something worse?"
Sam understood, then shook his head. "I didn't make a deal, I don't know how you are back."
"There is no other way it could have happened," Dean said angrily.
"I tried to," Sam replied just as angrily. "I tried to! Lady and I both offered to trade places with you, but no demon would deal with us. We tried every damn ritual Lady could think of. I tried to open the Devil's Gate. But it didn't work. You were left rotting in hell and there was nothing we could do even…" Sam went quiet and blinked a few times.
"What is it?" Dean asked.
"Lady knew," Sam uttered. "She knew you were coming back somehow. I figured she just snapped under the stress and couldn't tell a dream from a vision, but damn it maybe she really did know."
Bobby looked at Sam's hunched shoulders, "You saw her yesterday, didn't you? She in any shape to pull something off?"
Sam looked up, his eyes wide in surprise, "How did you know?"
"Because I'm smart," Bobby barked at him. "Answer the damn question."
Sam let out a breath and shook his head, "No, she seems better but far from capable."
"Let's go see her, make sure," Dean said.
Sam opened his mouth, then closed it. Sure it would be late by the time they reached Elgin, but he doubted visiting hours would keep them out. He suddenly wanted to protect Lady's vicious pride from being viewed like a zoo animal. "Nothing really to see, Dean," Sam decided to say.
"I say there is," Dean said firmly. Before that could be discussed further he asked Sam, "So what were you doing around here if you weren't digging me out of my grave?"
"I was on a case in Tennessee hunting a group of demons when out of nowhere they took a hard left, booked up here. I got here yesterday morning, I lost them. Visited Lady to make sure she was safe, now I've just been waiting for them to show their necks."
"Yesterday, when I busted out," Dean muttered. "Has to be connected."
Sam nodded, "Yeah, I'm with you there."
Bobby stood up when his phone rang and he immediately noticed the phone number as Pamela's. "I'll be right back," he said, stepping out into the hallway so he could answer. "Yeah?"
"Bobby? Are you here yet?" Pamela asked, sounding stressed.
"I'm not far, just three hours or so," he answered. Pamela probably expected him to be there a few hours ago, but Dean coming back from the dead was a bit more important.
"I just got to the hospital, they have Lady jacketed and in a padded room, she's completely lost it. I need your help here," Pamela said with urgency.
"We're on our way," Bobby said.
"Who's we?" Pamela asked.
"Me, Sam, and Dean," Bobby answered.
"Wait. Sam, the untraceable kid. And Dean the dead guy?"
"Yup," Bobby grunted.
Pamela was silent for a moment before saying, "Okay, just hurry the hell up."