Title: The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Summary: John Winchester was given a year to complete an impossible task or else his eldest son would be murdered.

Part of "The Dark Horse" series.

"The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea"

"Chapter One: Existentialism on Poker Night"

"I'll raise you two Oreo cookies," an eight-year-old Dean said as he pushed the two Oreo cookies, three Fig Newton's, and six M&M's into the middle of the kitchen table.

John glanced at his three of a kind hand and immediately knew he had lost. Dean never bid Oreos unless he had a full house or better. A twenty-three year old Caleb Lyons met the bid as his eyes glanced over at John and Sammy who would have to match or fold. Sam, growing tired of the game, snatched an Oreo and munched on it.

"Sammy," John said gently, "that's our currency."

The four-year-old boy looked up at his father with innocent eyes, black crumbs covering his lips and chin. He licked his fingers clean of cookie residue and smiled a toothy grin. The kid was trouble with a capital T. Shaking his head, John folded his hand. He was losing currency quicker than anyone at the table – thanks to Sammy's sticky fingers.

"My hand is not nearly good enough to fork over two Oreos," Pastor Jim announced as he too folded.

Oreos were like gold to the Winchester children. They loved the cookies more than any other treat in the world. Everyone seemed to understand that, except for Caleb. Either he had a really good hand or he did not fully understand the value of Oreos.

Dean laid his hands down on the table to reveal a straight flush. He grinned up at Caleb who looked like he swallowed a lemon. The older of the two threw his full house of kings and queens onto the table and leaned back in his chair with his arms crossed over his chest. He obviously did not understand how precious Oreos were. Dean had a knack for card games that was growing increasingly annoying. Dean leaned forward on the table and grabbed all of the treats and pulled them into his large pile. He, by far, was winning.

"Dad?" a faraway, familiar voice called to him. "Dad!"

John blinked, the memory melting away. A more mature, twenty-five year old Dean sat across from him with a deck of cards hanging from his fingers. Sammy was gone completely – both the memory four-year-old version and the present day twenty-one year old version. John sighed, the bittersweet memory of poker nights long ago still fresh in his mind.

"You wanna deal or me?" asked Dean.

"Go for it," replied John.

Ever since John Winchester was twelve, he had played poker. His friends got together on the weekends and bet their baseball cards. When they got their first jobs, they played charity poker. In Vietnam they played for goods that reminded them of home. After the war, John played with his fellow married buddies and only bet chips with no monetary value. When he became a hunter, he played for as much cash as he could get his hands onto. Then, when Dean and Sammy became interested in playing, they played for candy and pennies. After Sammy had gone to college, him and Dean played for cash again.

One night, at Pastor Jim's ranch house in Blue Earth, they played with a thousand dollar buy-in. It was Dean's month to pick the buy-in, and he always picked the cap that they placed on the buy-in. The kid knew he could win most of the money with his poker face and ability to accurately count cards.

That night, Caleb and Joshua had joined in on the game. Caleb was bitching about the high buy-in, claiming he had two young kids at home now to care for. Dean merely shrugged him off and told him if he didn't suck so bad at poker than he would have nothing to worry about. Dean shuffled the cards, making perfect bridges with each shuffle.

"How are Avery and Dominic doing?" Pastor Jim asked as Dean passed the cards out.

"They're good. They're just as bad as Dean and Sam were growing up," Caleb responded and turned his attention to Dean. "If I found out you corrupted them, I will kick your sorry ass."

Dean chuckled and reached for his beer. Taking a long drag, he lifted the corners of his two cards and ignored Caleb completely. Instead of saying anything, Dean nudged Joshua in his side to bet or fold.

John leaned back in his chair, looking at his jack and two half-heartedly. His mind was not on the monthly poker game at hand. It was on his youngest son who was in his third year of college out in California. He had been hearing for years the whispers about what his youngest son was to become. The information was eating away at him as his son's twenty-second birthday drew closer and closer.

"Do you think fate exists?" John questioned as he met the bid.

"Whoa, Johnny, we having a metaphysical poker night?" asked Caleb as he looked over at Dean who merely shrugged in response.

"Nah, fate's bullshit," Joshua spoke up. "You have choices."

"Aye, yes, but as they say, all roads lead to Rome," Pastor Jim spoke up as he folded. "We have choices, yes, but do those choices really affect the outcome?"

Caleb stifled a chuckle and raised the bid. Leaning back in his chair and glanced over at John who folded. He propped his elbows onto the table and glanced between Joshua and Jim. They were the ones who were indulging the conversation.

"You don't think all roads lead to Rome, Cal?" questioned Joshua.

"How could it? You know my dad had a job offer to move to Texas when I was ten but my mom didn't want to leave Minot. If we had moved, the demon that possessed my brother would have been in Minot and possessed some other poor bastard. Then, I wouldn't be a hunter."

"Something else could have happened to drive you into hunting," reasoned the pastor. "There could have been a different catalyst in a different year."

"Are we seriously talking about this crap on poker night?" interrupted Dean. "I thought poker night was designed to talk about chicks and sports and hunting… not philosophical bullshit."

John glanced over at his oldest son. Part of him wanted to tell his oldest all about what would happen to Sammy in six months when he turned twenty-two. He wanted to tell his son that some sick ass demon had bled into Sam's mouth and marked him as some psychic.

"I, for one, quite enjoy a nice philosophical discussion on poker night," the pastor commented. "Listening to Dean and Joshua talk about their bedroom conquests is not something that I enjoy hearing about. Nor do I care to hear about your drunken nights at a bar hustling pool. You do understand that I am a man of God, correct?"

"According to you, Pastor Jim, our immoral behavior is fate," jested Caleb with a shit-eating grin.

"I would like to point out that I take full responsibility for my immoral behavior," commented Joshua. "What's that saying? Existence precedes essence."

"Are you quoting an atheist in my home?" questioned Pastor Jim.

"Not all existentialists are atheists," reasoned Joshua sheepishly, "but that whole existence precedes essence was one of the atheist ones."

John turned his attention to Joshua. The kid had attended Westminster College before entering the promising career of hunting. In fact, he was only months away from graduating when he dropped out. He had gone home on spring break and watched his kid sister get ripped to shreds by a werewolf. The kid tried to comprehend what he had witnessed, talked to a local pastor in his hometown who pointed him in the direction of Jim Murphy. It was hard to find a hunter who was not pointed towards the direction of the good pastor.

"You like philosophy, Joshua?" asked John.

"Yeah, I dabbled in it in college. I had a minor in it… well, I would have if I didn't drop out."

"Fate's bullshit then?"

"Depends on who you read. I don't know, personally, I find it hard to grasp the idea that we're just pawns on a giant chessboard who are going to end up where we're supposed to." Joshua shrugged and turned his attention to the pastor. "I'm not dissing God or anything. I was raised in a God-fearing household, and I may not be as religious as I used to be, but if God put us on this earth… why wouldn't he give us free will? Why wouldn't we be able to decide whatever the hell we wanted to decide? I mean, if all of our lives and actions are predetermined, what's the point of life? Why would God have created us?"

"That is an excellent question. First, John, don't get me wrong, I enjoy the debate you brought up, but why so curious all of a sudden?" Pastor Jim turned his attention to the younger man.

John shrugged his shoulder and took a swing of his beer. He'd been battling with the ideas of fate and free will ever since Mary had died. He thought about the choices he made that night. What if he hadn't fallen asleep watching television? What if he was sleeping in bed with her? Would he have gotten up to tend to a fussing Sam? Would he have wound up on that ceiling, bleeding from the abdomen, and Mary raising her boys far away from the life she hated?

More often than he liked, John had wished he was the one to die that night. The pain of losing the love of his life was too hard to bear at times. There were bad days when he would drink himself into a heap. Then there were good days when he thought he could gain the revenge he so desperately wanted. Revenge, however, was a fickle friend.

"I'm a deep guy, Jim," John replied with a tight smile. "What can I say?"

"What do you say, Dean?" questioned the pastor. "You have yet to voice your opinion."

"I think that fate is bullshit. Everyone has a choice to make their life the way they want it. Nobody says that I have to be a hunter, but I chose to be one. Sam was supposed to be a hunter, but he wanted some stupid political science degree."

Dean glanced over at Joshua, a scowl on his face. His friend had studied political science. Hell, he was the one who got Sam interested in politics, college, the whole shebang.

"Look, Sam was interested in college before he even met me," Joshua defended himself. "The kid was hell-bent on getting out of hunting. I do admit that he may of chosen the major he did because of me."

"What were you going to do with your degree?" asked Pastor Jim.

"Uh, I dunno. I was still figuring that out when I dropped out of school. I always thought a campaign manager would have been cool."

"You are such a dork," commented Caleb.

"I seem to remember you attended Valley Forge. Tough institution to get into."

"A long line of Lyons were military men – quite a few who attended Valley Forge. My dad pulled some strings. I was studying for an associate degree in criminal justice when I dropped out. At least that helps me in my grand career of hunting," snapped Caleb. "As least I didn't study philosophy and political science. Those are two crackpot majors."

There was a knock at the front door, and Pastor Jim excused himself from the table. Briefly, John wondered who else was coming for poker night. He trusted the pastor, Caleb, and Joshua to talk about such things. If something accidentally slipped, John was confident that the three would do everything in their power to help Sam. Other hunters, he wasn't so sure. The last thing he wanted was for his son to be hunted.

A minute later, Caleb's niece Kenley waltzed in with Richard Slane, who normally went by Rick. Kenley was Dean's age and had graduated from Portland State University with a degree in public administration two years ago. She quietly got her feet wet into the hunting world, usually tagging along with Rick or some other hunter on simple hunts.

Rick Slane was another breed of hunter. He came from a long line of hunters that traced back several great-grandfathers. The Slanes were good friends with the Harvelles – in fact, Hamilton Slane and Bill Harvelle had grown up together and even were hunting partners for years. The run-ins with the Slane family had been interesting to say the least.

When Sam and Dean were teenagers, they were hunting a string of random and strange supernatural occurrences. Hamilton had been hunting the same thing with his two teenage sons. The two families met and traded information. Dean and the eldest Aidan had hit it off and still keep in contact. Rick was another breed, however. He was close with Jo Harvelle, had dated her on and off for the past two years. It was no secret that Jo had confided in him about the death of her father. Ever since then, Rick had formed animosity towards John.

"What the hell are you doing with my niece, Slane? I told all of you little bastards that she's off limits!" Caleb shouted.

"Relax, Uncle Caleb, we just happened to arrive at the same time. You can see our separate cars in the driveway."

Kenley walked over and kissed her uncle swiftly on the cheek before grabbing a chair and planting it between Joshua and Dean. Rick took a seat in-between Caleb and Joshua, his gaze landing on John.

"Rick, I thought you were dating Jo?" inquired Joshua.

"Listen, I don't know who this Jo chick is, but I'd choose Kenley any day," Dean said with a smirk. Kenley leaned over and gave him a peck on the cheek.

"If only my uncle would let us run away together, we could hunt the supernatural, have lots of great sex, and have the most adorable babies in the world!"

Dean laughed and turned his gaze to Caleb who was scowling in his seat. After his brother Dominic died, Caleb had tried to be a father figure in Kenley's life. He constantly protected her and did all the things that fathers should do with their daughters. The most prominent was threatening any guy who so much as looked at her in the wrong way. The only guy Caleb felt semi-okay with her hanging out with was Dean, because he knew the kid would never dare make Kenley into one of his conquests since Dean and Caleb were close friends.

"I like all of that except the making babies part," commented Dean as he wrapped his arm her chair. "I'm all for some kickass hunting and great sex though."

Kenley leaned forward on the table, flicking her blonde hair behind her shoulder and glancing around the table absentmindedly. Her green eyes spotted the chips and counted herself out enough to cover her thousand-dollar buy-in.

"Do you ever notice that Kenley only comes to poker night when Dean's in town?" teased Pastor Jim.

"I only come for the big pots, which is the only time that Dean comes as well."

Kenley passed the chips to Rick who glared at Dean briefly before counting out his own chips.

"What have you been up to?" questioned Caleb to change the subject.

"I just finished a salt 'n burn with Bobby Singer," Kenley replied.

"You know I hate that fucker," commented John. "Why are you hunting with him?"

"I know, John, but I was in the area and asked him if he wanted to go hunting."

"Johnny, you and Bobby need to kiss and make up already," announced Caleb. "It's so irritating to be in the middle of your little spats."

"Do you know how many times that jackass has threatened to shoot my ass full of buckshot?"

John knew that Bobby was a trustworthy hunter. He had left Sam and Dean at his home more times than he cared to count. Hell, he had been hunting with Bobby a lot over the years – primarily when they first met. The divergence of their friendship often had to do with the Harvelles. Bobby and Bill were close friends. At first, John wanted nothing to do with the Harvelles and consequently offended Bobby. The biggest spat of all had been Bill's death. That effectively cut off all communication between the two hunters.

Bill's death had been a catalyst in more ways than one. It had made him more enemies than he even knew about. Bill and Ellen were beloved figures in the hunting community. The Roadhouse was a hot spot that was constantly packed with hunters of all ages. When whispers erupted that he had been hunting with John, hunters started to grow bitter towards him. Hell, the only hunter close to the Harvelles who hadn't blamed John for Bill's death had been Caleb. With that allegiance, Caleb had formed a few enemies of his own.

"What are you up to, Richard?" Pastor Jim steered the conversation away from the heated topic of Bobby Singer.

"Just hunting with some other hunters, watching their backs," Rick said as he shot a look towards John.

"Do you see what I see?" asked Joshua. "Not one, but two college graduates are at this table now. I feel as though our metaphysical conversation can commence once again with some highly educated individuals."

"Wait, you guys were talking about what exactly?" Kenley inquired with a smile dancing on her features.

"They were talking about free will versus fate," supplied Dean. "It wasn't exactly a typical poker night conversation. Way to bring it up, Westminster."

John shot Joshua a look that clearly read, you fucking idiot. John had no problem discussing this topic with Kenley. She had practically grown up with Sam and Dean. Hell, at the age of seven, Kenley and Dean had their first kiss together in one of those cute, awkward moments of childhood. John knew that she kept in regular contact with Dean. They were always talking on the phone. When she graduated college, Dean had taken her on her first hunt. It was a banshee in New York. He also knew she talked to Sammy too, because she had brought up his life at college up during poker nights or when she talked on the phone with Dean.

Rick was another story all together. He had no sense of loyalty to the Winchester family. His loyalties resided with the Harvelles, Singer, and other hunters who seemed to have a rocky relationship with John. The kid was smart though and resourceful. He didn't want to be a hunter for the rest of his life. He attended La Sierra University and gained a degree in psychology. Even though he rarely went on hunts, he did a lot of research for fellow hunters and provided safe houses. He quickly became disinterested in leading a normal life and quit his job to become a hunter once more.

"I believe in fate," Rick said nonchalantly. "I think that no matter the choices we make, we're still going to end up with the same ending."

"That's crap, Rick," Kenley added. "There are always different paths in life that render a different outcome."

"I think the crux of this argument is not free will or fate. I think it has to do with choices. Do choices matter?" questioned Joshua.

"Can we just play poker?" interrupted Dean.

"I agree. Let's just play the goddamn game," agreed Caleb. "We get together once a month to do this, and we're wasting it by talking about something that doesn't matter."

John gathered up the cards and shuffled. They might as well start a new deck because Kenley and Rick joined. Dean drained the rest of his beer and disappeared off to the kitchen to grab more. He reappeared with two bottles, handing one to Kenley.

"Are you trying to get my niece drunk and take advantage of her?" asked Caleb.

"What makes you think that I haven't already gotten lucky with her?" Dean said with a shit-eating grin.

"Because if you did, I will end your sorry ass life."

"Did you know that Kenley and Dean had their first kiss together?" Pastor Jim asked with a smile. "They were seven and at one of my church picnics."

Caleb groaned. He hated to hear the story of his niece's first kiss. Pastor Jim and Kenley's mother, Irene, had been over the moon and thought they were the cutest kids to ever live. It was no secret that they rooted for them to get together when they were old enough. Caleb knew better than to hope for that. Dean was such a horn dog.

"I remember that," commented Dean as he lifted the corners of his cards. "You forced me to kiss you. You practically raped me."

Kenley laughed loudly, her head shaking in the negative. She glanced towards John with a smile gracing her pale features.

"I swear, it didn't happen like that!" Her attention turned towards Dean. "You agreed to play house with me. I was the mom and you were the dad. That's what moms and dads do!"

"Yeah, but you conned me into playing with you," argued Dean. "I was just being nice and went along with it."

"You were a very nice little boy. I wonder what happened," teased Kenley.

Dean raised the bet by ten and turned towards Caleb. He mouthed the words she's crazy. Kenley saw and punched him lightly in the arm.

"Want to go hunting together, Dean?" she questioned as she met the bet.

"Sure, why not. What do you want to hunt?"

"You going to let them drive off alone in that muscle car?" questioned Joshua. "Bad idea. Dean's told me of his backseat conquests."

"You had sex in my car?" asked John.

Dean glanced up at his father, a sheepish smile working its way on his face. He shrugged his shoulders noncommittally.

"It's my car now. That's really all that matters."

"Just remember, Johnny, it was your choice to give Dean that car," commented Caleb, "not fate."

Dean groaned loudly as Kenley's cell phone rang. Joshua and Rick both met the bet and Caleb debated for several seconds before meeting it as well.

"Hello?" Kenley answered. "Oh, hey, you know I'm at Pastor Jim's right now playing poker with my uncle, Joshua, Rick, your brother, and your dad."

Dean and John both glanced over at Kenley. John's heart pounded wildly in his chest. Maybe something was wrong with Sammy. What if his psychic powers started early and he was deep-frying everyone that he touched? What if it was the beginning of the end?

"That's fine. I'll call you tomorrow. I'll tell everyone you say hi…. Okay, bye, Sam." Kenley snapped her phone shut. "Sam says hi."

Joshua, Caleb, and Pastor Jim all glanced between John and Dean. They knew things in the Winchester family were strained to put it lightly. The last time that John and Dean had seen the youngest Winchester was last year when a hunt cropped up in Palo Alto. They rushed to the college town before anything could happen to Sammy. That hunting trip had only further strained their relationship.

"Oh, I brought a couple cases of beer. John, can you help me get them out of my car?" Kenley asked she peeled the label off her own beer.

John nodded and stood up. His back cracked loudly as he ambled through the house to the front door. Honestly, he was glad to get out of the poker game for a little bit. The talk about Sam had made him antsy to say the least.

There was a gold 2002 PT Cruiser parked at the end of the driveway. They went around to the back of the car, Kenley's keys dangling in her fingers. John waited for her to unlock the trunk, but it didn't happen. Instead, he felt Kenley push him against the hatchback, her eyes swimming in blackness.

"John-John, I thought I gave you orders to kill a certain demon," the demon inside of Kenley spoke in soft tones. "I still see he's alive."

"Abaddon," John greeted flatly.

"I'd say nice to see you too, but it's really not. Sammy's twenty-second birthday is right around the corner. Azazel is going to capitalize on that."

"I can't find it. You think it'd still be alive if I could find it, you bitch?"

"Listen to me very carefully. Sometime during next year, I want you to find and kill Azazel. If you don't, my pretty little hand is going to find its way on Dean's pretty little forehead, and I will kill him. I am done playing games with you. I have given you years to complete this task and all you do is mock me. I don't know what Azazel's end game is with these psychics, but I doubt I'll like it."

"If I could find it and kill it, it would be dead. The fact of the matter is… there's no way to kill a demon. Trust me, if I knew of one, I'd kill you first."

Abaddon stepped back, her arms crossing over her chest. She looked down at the body she was possessing, a smirk gracing her features.

"I'll kill the meat suit if you ever try to kill me."

"You touch Kenley, and it'll be the last thing you ever do."

"I know the demon that possessed Dominic Lyons. It was one of my men. You see, I suspected that Azazel touched Kenley the same way he touched Sammy. We wanted to find out why he's giving powers to these children. Beezlebub, well, he's a bit of an arrogant loose cannon. He went above and beyond the call of duty and things sort of… got out of hand. He's loyal though, so I keep him around. In fact, we visited Sammy one night too. We saw he was different than the other children. I can't figure out why."

John felt his heart beat against his rib cage. They had visited Sammy. When? What had they done to him? John closed his eyes, his mind wandering back to when Sammy and Dean were just kids. They had been staying in a cabin of Jefferson Kerr's when three demons had lured him outside. They tied Dean up in a chair in the living room and tied Sammy up in a bedroom. By the time he got back into the house, they were gone. Sam had been found unconscious, blood running down his arm with no apparent cuts, and the window open. Is that when she visited Sammy?

"You bitch, I'm going to kill you with my bare hands."

"That would be something to see." Abaddon took a step forward so that their faces were mere inches apart. "Why don't you ask Kenley when she's back in control about her dreams… so vivid dreams of death and destruction. Maybe, just maybe, you'll start to believe what Azazel has been doing and kill him."

"You listen to me, you black eyed skank, leave Sammy and Kenley and all these other children you keep telling me about alone!"

"One year, John. That's all the time I'm giving you." Abaddon grabbed John's cheeks, fingernails digging into his flesh. "You are nothing but a cockroach to me. You and your boys are trash that I will gladly step on if you don't finish your task in time."

"Say I bite… how do I kill Azazel?"

"My colleague already told you. There's a gun crafted by Samuel Colt-"

"That's a legend!" protested John. "There is no goddamn Colt!"

"Fine, don't believe me. Find another way to kill Azazel. I don't give a damn."

Abaddon stepped back a few steps. Suddenly, her head shot up towards the sky and wisps of black smoke came pouring out of her mouth. Kenley fell to a heap in the driveway, her body convulsing for several seconds. John fell to his knees next to the girl as the cloud of smoke disappeared into the earth.

"Kenley. Kenley. Can you hear me?"


John pulled the sobbing girl into his arms. He held her close to his chest, his mind reeling a million miles a minute. Her hands clenched John's leather jacket tightly as her body shook against him.

Suddenly, his answer on fate and free will was concluded. There were no choices. There was only fate. All of the shit that had happened to his family, to Caleb's family, it was all fate. It all happened for a reason. If Mary hadn't died that fateful night, he was sure now that when the demons came to inspect Sammy, he would have gotten into the hunting arena. It was only a matter of time before his path would reach Rome.

His heart ached painfully in his chest. Sammy… his baby boy was going to gain psychic powers and Azazel would come for him. There was no doubt in his mind that it was going to happen. His only wish was that there would be some free will left, that Sammy can make a choice to resist Azazel's influence. The last thing that John wanted was to kill his youngest son for becoming evil.

Lifting Kenley up in his arms, John made his way into the house. He shouted for Caleb to come into the living room. Except, everyone from the kitchen had scrambled into the room. Caleb rushed forward and motioned for John to take his niece to the guest bedroom. Everyone followed and soon the group of people filed into Pastor Jim's spare bedroom.

"What the hell happened?" snapped Caleb as he sat on the bed next to his niece, wrapping a comforting arm around her.

"She was possessed by a demon," explained John.

"What? Where is it? Its… its not still in her, is it?"

Caleb grabbed his niece's shoulders and held her at arms length. He searched her face, lingering on her green eyes longer than necessary.

"It's not in her anymore," John commented. "How long were you possessed?"

"I-I… not long. I remember walking outside to get the beer from my car. You were walking ahead of me and… I couldn't move. I could see you and I could feel my body moving, but I couldn't control myself."

"Why would a demon only possess a person for five minutes tops?" asked Dean. "That doesn't make any sense."

"Dean, Joshua, and Richard, I think you three need to wait in the living room," Pastor Jim said gently as he took a step towards Kenley.

"Are you kidding me? We're all adults here now," reasoned Dean. "Rick's twenty-four. I'm twenty-five. Josh's twenty-eight. You can't just tell us to go to the other room anymore. We're hunters. We're adults. We deserve to know what's going on."

John glanced at his oldest sternly. It was neither the time nor the place to argue. The demons were closing in. It was five minutes to midnight and the clock was ticking down quicker than ever.

"Dean, don't argue. Go to the living room now," John said sternly.

"Kenley, you okay?" Dean directed his attention to the girl on the bed.

"Yeah, I'm okay."

Kenley forced a smile on her face as she leaned her head against her uncle's shoulder. Dean nodded and ambled out of the room. Joshua and Rick were not far behind him. As soon as their footfalls were far away, Jim closed the door and locked it.

"It was Abaddon," John said flatly as he ran a weary hand down his face.

"She… she said she knew who possessed my dad," Kenley whispered.

The color drained from Caleb's face as he tightened his grip around his niece. Ever since he was sixteen, Caleb had been trying to forget the fateful days a demon possessed his older brother and nearly killed his family. It was honestly the most terrifying story that John had ever heard of why someone entered the hunting world.

"The demon's name is Beezlebub," commented John. "At least that's what Abaddon said."

"Beezlebub?" questioned the pastor. "As in one of the seven princes of Hell?"

"There are princes of Hell?" questioned Caleb.

"In some mythologies, yes. They are the equivalent to archangels in Heaven. Different lore states different princes or archangels, but the principles that they exist are fundamentally the same."

"Abaddon says Beezlebub is an arrogant loose cannon," added John.

"Beezlebub is all over ancient texts. In some archaic tomes, he was a deity that was worshiped in Ekron. In later Biblical tomes, he is identified as a demon and one of Hell's princes. He's been identified as being the demonic representation of gluttony. If what Abaddon told you is true, I would say that a very old and powerful demon possessed Dominic all those years ago."

"What would a prince of Hell want to do with my family? We weren't exactly the Brady's, but we weren't hunters," reasoned Caleb.

John turned his attention to Kenley who was being oddly quiet through the talk of Beezlebub. She was only a year old when her father died. The painful images did not burn in her memory.

"Kenley, do you have odd dreams?"

"What the fuck are going on about, Johnny?" snapped Caleb.

"What do you mean?" her voice waivered.

"Dreams that are really vivid… about death and destruction."

Kenley stiffened, her eyes widening at the very notion. Slowly, she nodded her head in the positive, tears silently pouring down her cheeks.

"John…" whispered Caleb.

The younger hunter didn't need to hear any more information. He had vague notions about Azazel marking children and turning them into psychics. He suspected Sam was one of the children but never cared to confirm. John kept him out of the loop, only giving the minimal amount of information. Never had he ever imagined he would be directly involved with this demon.

"Is there something wrong with me?" asked Kenley.

"I think we should call it a night and pick up on this issue tomorrow," Pastor Jim suggested. "Kenley, please, get some rest."

John and Jim exited the bedroom and made their way into the living room. Dean and Joshua were talking in low voices on the couch while Rick sat across the room in a chair. As soon as John entered the room, Dean stood up and motioned for his father to follow him into the kitchen.

"Is Kenley okay?"

"She's fine."

Dean nodded his head, his jaw tightening.

"I'm not a kid anymore, Dad. I'm twenty-five years old, I go on hunts by myself all the damn time, and you even said yourself that I'm the most responsible, trustworthy person you know. I don't understand why you're still kicking me out of the room. She's Caleb's niece. We've known her forever."

"I know, Dude. I'm sorry. I just look at you and all I see is you as a little kid. You still look four when I look at you. I forget sometimes that you grew up into a handsome, intelligent, amazing young man. I'll try to keep you in the loop more often. Just don't take it personally if I pull rank and kick ya out. It's only because you're my son and I will always see you younger than you are."

John clapped a hand on Dean's shoulder, a smile gracing his rough features. He had no intention of keeping that promise of trying to keep him in the loop. When it came to Azazel, John wanted to keep his children in the dark. He wanted to kill the bastard himself, to correct the wrongs that had been dealt to their family. He feared if Dean got involved, he would only wind up dead. That was the last thing that John could take.

Author's Notes: I hope you enjoyed the first chapter of the story. If you were confused at all, it is because this story is part of a series. It is probably best to read "They Came at Night," "Crown of Thorns," and "The Dark Horse." I have tried to explain things in detail so that those stories are not necessary to read. However, it would be best to read those stories (and all of the "The Dark Horse" series) to fully understand and appreciate this story as a whole. Please leave a review. The next two chapters are already written, so the next one will be up in a week. Although, enough reviews would incline me to post it faster. :)