A/N...Yup, here we are, at the end. Really, truely...
Celia lunged at Vikki with the knife as Sam grabbed at her, holding her from stabbing the demon.
Vikki threw her head back and laughed. "I have won, have I not? Oh, this is too amusing. Too, too funny"
Sam pushed Celia behind him. "Funny, is it? Look. You had how many, twelve aunts? Your grandmother? They're all dead. You're alone, now. Forever" Sam looked over at Hermanatie who still held the bowl aloft, but had a confused look on his face. "You might have won today, but what's it got you? Really? You'll be all alone forever"
Vikki shrugged. "But that's what I am. Alone. I wreak vengeance, and I do it alone. I don't really care if my family is with me or not"
"If that was true, you wouldn't have joined them every time they were brought back"
"I was bound to them. But they are no more, so I am free."
Hermanatie lowered the bowl. "You are not free. You are still bound, as am I"
"I am not. How can I be bound when they are dead?"
The demi god sat the bowl on the motel bed. "The same way I am bound. The summoning that first drew you, first contained you into service, it has not failed or faded. In fact, I wonder, even if I did vanquish you now, if I would be released" He frowned and turned to Sam. "There is something here that is not quite right"
Sam looked at Hermanatie. Celia stepped forward. "What are you saying? Are you saying that there is another spell?"
Hermanatie tipped his head to one side. "I do not think this is the demon we have been fighting with. I do not believe this is Vikki"
Celia stepped forward. "What? What do you mean?"
Sam pushed her back behind him. "What do you mean, Hermanatie?"
"You remember the story I told you at first? About the woman Wendy who bound the demon?"
Sam nodded. "You think this is Wendy?"
"I do not" Hermanatie turned and grabbed a small handful of potion from his bowl and threw it at the girl held within the devil's trap.
She screamed and fell to the floor, writhing in pain. Sam stood there, opened mouthed and in shock as she twisted in agony, screaming and crying.
"No smoke arises from her" Hermanatie pointed to her. "She is pretending to be in pain. I believe this is the cross roads demon that made a pact with Wendy"
The girl stopped moving. She sighed then sat up. "Okay. You got me. I'm not Vikki." She stood and brushed herself off, then tipped her head to one side. "What gave me away?"
Hermanatie moved closer to her. "You smell different. You stink more than the other one" He turned to Sam. "Exorcize this one. She is wasting our time"
Sam opened his mouth but before he managed more than a syllable the girls started to laugh. "Silly boy. I am more powerful than that" She stamped her foot and the floor shook, and above her the ceiling cracked. The devils trap was broken.
She threw back her head and white smoke billowed from her mouth, speeding into the crack in the ceiling and disappearing.
The girl crumpled into a heap on the sticky carpet.
For a moment there was silence in the small motel room.
Sam turned to the demi god with a question formed in his eyes.
Behind him he heard Celia groan. "So…who was that demon, then?" she asked.
"Not only that" added Sam. "How come Vikki wasn't summoned by your spell?"
Hermanatie turned to the bowl and picked it up. He sniffed the contents and turned back to Sam. "Everything here is correct. This should have drawn the witch demon."
Sam turned to Celia. "Can you tell if we were dealing with Vikki the whole time, or this demon?"
Celia shook her head no. Hermanatie put the bowl back on the bed.
"Sam" A feeble voice croaked form the far bed, drawing the tall hunter to his brother's side in two steps.
"Dean? What is it?"
Dean was gasping for air, his skin cold and clammy. "It's okay, Dean, we're going to get you well. I promise"
Dean lifted one hand a little, but he had no strength to maintain the action and it dropped limply back onto the bed. His eyes were open only the smallest of slits and Sam could see him struggle to talk.
"Dean, don't. It's okay. I know you're hurting"
Hermanatie sighed loudly. "We cannot hope to heal him if you stand there and tend to him. We must figure out how to resolve this situation!"
Sam turned and glared at him, his expression so fierce the god slammed his mouth closed.
He turned back to Dean. "I gotta go, okay? I gotta figure this one out"
Dean drew a shaky breath. "Smoke" he breathed.
Sam's brows scrunched as he tried to figure out what his brother wanted. "Smoke? Dean, I don't…." He gasped. "You're right. The smoke!" He stood up from the bed and turned to the two beings behind him. "The smoke was different colors!"
Hermanatie looked to Celia then back at Sam. "I have no idea what you are talking about"
"Look. When Vikki smoked out before she was black. This time she was white. The only time we've seen anything like that was with you, Hermanatie. No other demon has ever gone for any smoke color than black"
Celia nodded. "You think there is another demon in town? That they are helping Vikki?"
Dean coughed and Sam turned back to his brother. No words were spoken, but something passed between the two. Sam nodded.
"Maybe. Hard to say"
"Surely you have a theory" Hermanatie frowned. "But….you have never seen a demon smoke out in white…only me?"
Sam nodded. "Only you. So I'm thinking, I mean, my brother was thinking, and I kind of agree with him" He flung the contents of his flask of holy water at Hermanatie and the possessed woman fell back, with smoke hissing off her as she howled in pain. "See, we're thinking that you're not the demi god at all" Sam threw more water at the smoking figure. "My brother thinks that maybe you're Vikki, and you and Hermanatie have been working together all along"
The demon stopped when she hit the mat that had covered the space near the small kitchenette. Sam turned and grabbed Celia, throwing her in powerful lunge at Joanie.
"You? I'm not so sure of. But you're not a spirit, are, you?"
Celia glared back at him.
"If you were just a spirit, you could walk straight off that mat. The devil's trap I painted under it won't affect you"
She continued to glare, but didn't move.
Sam looked over at Dean. The injured hunter was lying prone, but his eyes were open as he watched what unfolded. He looked back at the pair. "The ritual didn't work because Vikki was already here, wasn't she?"
The demons didn't answer.
"I think I have Vikki, and I might have the cross roads demon. I'm right, aren't I?"
Celia shrugged. "So? Doesn't make you smart. Or a winner. There's only so long you can keep us trapped here."
Sam nodded, his lips thin. He picked up the potion bowl from the bed. "See, I don't need to keep you trapped here. I helped make this potion, and I know it'll work. On Vikki, anyway" He sniffed the herbs. "Should I try it out on you? I know it won't work on whoever is in Joanie, but you" He nodded towards the disheveled woman "you, I'm guessing, it would vanquish. Shall I try it out?" He flung a small grab of the dry powders and herbs at the demon and she screamed as it hit her, the places the potion landed catching fire and leaving deep scorch marks.
He picked up another hand gull and she raised her hands. "Don't. Don't do it. It'll kill me"
Joanie turned to her. "Stop speaking" she commanded.
The other demon looked back at her, eyes wide and desperate, but her mouth clamped shut.
"So, what, you're the cross road demon?" Sam flicked his head a little behind him. "My brother thinks you are. Why the game? Why pretend to be the demi god? I don't get it"
"Alright, young man, all right. I see you're quite the clever one, and you've seen through our little game" Joanie clapped her hands slowly, her whole persona now changed once it became apparent that she was not Hermanatie. "It was a perfect way to make you believe that you had vanquished us. That this was over, and you'd leave town" She rolled her eyes to the ceiling. "We damn near had you convinced, too. If that squished up brother of yours hadn't worked out the different smoke colors you would have thought me gone, and your hunt would have been over""
"You would have let Dean die"
She sighed and pushed her long hair over her shoulders. "Yeah. So sad." She looked at Sam and her eyes flashed red. "Well, your brother may be dying, but his brain still seems to work okay."
"Why would we have thought the hunt over?" Sam's brow was creased as he tried to understand the plan. "If we lost you, we still would have had Vikki to find"
"Oh, we had a whole elaborate scenario worked out. It was good, too. But, you see, it doesn't really matter now. We've been caught out, haven't we?" She shrugged. "Well, Sammy boy, tell me, what deal do you want to make for me to get outta here?"
Sam sat on the edge of the bed. "Don't call me Sammy" He sat the bowl on his knee. "And who says I'm going to make a deal?"
The demon shrugged. "You humans are always willing to make a deal. And based on past history, the Winchesters like to do that even more than anyone else"
Sam crossed his legs but didn't answer.
"C'mon, boy. There's something you want. Your brother healed? A new car? Money? Sex? Dignity?"
Sam cocked an eyebrow. "First, before we talk deals, I need to know a coupla things"
"Sam" The soft voice from the bed was fading. Sam didn't react because he knew his brother was worried.
Worried he'd make a deal.
"Well, then, sweetheart, what do you want to know?"
"Are all the spirits and ghosts vanquished?" Sam casually placed one hand on the bowl beside him.
The demon hesitated for a moment, then nodded. "They are all gone. Really gone. Celia wiped them out."
"So, Celia really was here? Where is she?"
Joanie shrugged. "Don't know. Don't care."
"And Hermanatie? Where is he? Why is he working with you?"
Joanie's eyes narrowed and she frowned. "Well, he wasn't, not at first. You see, he really is bound to Vikki, who, for her part, is bound to me. Kinda like a supernatural three way." She paused and smiled at her own little joke. "Once I found out he was working with you two, well, I couldn't have that, could I? Plus, the benefit of fucking you guys around. Always a bonus in my books"
Sam sighed. He leaned back a little, his brow creased in concentration.
Finally, one eyebrow cocked, he gave the demons a short nod. "Okay. I'm ready to deal"
"Sammy, no" Dean gasped from behind him.
Joanie grinned at him and her eyes flashed red for a brief moment. "Excellent. Wonderful. Just tell me what you need"
"Heal my brother. Completely. No hidden clauses or catches, okay?"
Joanie shrugged. "That's a big ask. Normally I'd get a soul for that, Sam"
"Bad luck. This time you get a free shot from the trap. That's it."
He reached behind himself and pulled the demon killing knife from the back of his waist band.
"You wouldn't kill this girl. I know that. You're bluffing" Joanie folded her arms.
Without missing a beat Sam stood and flung the full bowl of herbs at Vikki, stepping back as it ignited the possessed corpse and burnt quick and hot, in only a moment she was no more than ash.
Joanie stood there, her face white and mouth hung agape. She looked back at Sam.
"If you think I value the girl you're wearing more than my brother, you'd better think again" Sam's voice was low and menacing.
Joanie started at him. Sam held the knife before him, the tip pointed at Joanie.
She nodded and closed her eyes for a moment. When she opened them she nodded. "Okay. He's healed. Good as new. Now let me out"
Sam turned to his brother. Dean was still lying down, but his color had returned to his cheeks and he was breathing a lot better. His eyes were clear and bright. He sat, slowly, stiffly, like he was sore after a long day's working out, but when he finally swung his legs over the side of the bed he looked better.
He looked at Sam, his brow knitted tight, his lips thinned with determination in his eyes.
"Can you stand?" Sam asked.
Dean ducked his head a little. "Almost"
Sam turned back to the demon. "Thanks"
She coughed a laugh back at him. "It wasn't a favor, jumbo boy. It was a deal. Now you keep your end up" She looked between the brothers and then folded her arms again. "You had better not be thinking you'll double cross me" She pointed at Dean. "You break your end, he'll be dead before I am. I shit you not"
Sam shook his head. "No. Um, yeah, okay. Wasn't thinking of breaking the deal. I just wanna ask you something"
She looked angry, but nodded. "What? And hurry up, boyo. Time's a wasting"
"Hermanatie. Is he free, now? Or is he still bound to you?"
"Not your concern. And not part of the deal. Now let me out. I kept up my part of the bargain, you better keep up yours"
Sam tuned back to check with Dean. He was still sitting, and he closed his eyes and gave a single nod of his head.
Sam moved towards the demon and scrubbed a break in the devil's trap with his shoe. As soon as the line was broken the demon smoked out of Joanie and the girl fell into a seemingly lifeless heap on the floor. A soft moan escaped her parted lips, the only indication she had survived this ordeal.
The last rays of sun were caressing the landscape, the golden light filtered through the low hanging branches of a weeping willow and danced across the gravel road.
A young woman crouched in the middle of the crossroad, covering up a small hole, she used her hands to scrape the gravel back in place.
Standing, she looked around, the sun glinting off her shiny blonde hair as she slowly turned to look around herself, searching for something.
"Well well well, what have we here?" a woman's voice spoke from behind her and she turned, one hand at her throat in surprise.
"Is it you?" the young blonde woman asked, looking at the dark haired, attractive woman before her. "You're a cross road demon?"
The dark haired woman's eyes flashed red. "That's right, honey. Just what the doctor ordered. So, you sweet little thing" she moved around the girl, appraising her. "What can I do for you?"
The blonde girl stepped back a little. "Um, you can, I mean, um, if I asked…"
The demon laughed. "Come now, girl, no need to be nervous. Let me see, your name is Miranda, am I right?"
The blonde girl nodded.
"Well, Miranda, you summoned me for a reason. You want something, you need something. Is it something special? Something very hard to get?"
Miranda nodded, still stepping backwards. "Can we, um, can we go over there, in the shelter? I don't want anyone to see us" she pointed towards a dilapidated three sided shed sitting forlornly off to the side.
"Of course, sugar. I don't mind" She turned and stepped into the shelter, and was surprised when the blonde girl didn't follow her. "Come now, girly. You called me. That means you really, really want something, right?"
"So tell me, then, what is it you really want?"
Miranda smiled, and her smile was that of a much older, much more confident woman. "I have what I want. You. Stuck in a devil's trap" she looked up at the roof of the shelter.
The demon followed her gaze and gasped when she saw the spray painted pattern above her head. "What's going on here?" she snarled.
Miranda winked at her. She turned around and waved at someone unseen, then turned back to the demon. "We couldn't let you go, you know"
"We? Who is we?"
"Ah, that'd be us!" the handsome young man called as he moved into sight, his tall brother beside him.
"Dean Winchester. And his lackey Sam" The demon huffed out an annoyed sigh. "What are you two trying to achieve this time?"
"Well" Sam moved closer. "We tried to modify the potion that killed Vikki, see if we could get it to work on other demons"
"It didn't" Dean smiled broadly. "But you probably knew that, or you wouldn't have given us the recipe in the first place"
"I'm not stupid" the demon spat back at them.
Sam stepped a little closer. "I wouldn't be too sure about that. You did let a dead girl summon you"
Miranda stepped forward. "Celia Goodwife. Not Miranda" she shook her head. "Miranda is dead. Any good demon should have been able to tell that"
"And, just so you know? We checked. If you die, Hermanatie is freed from his servitude to you" Sam pulled the knife from his jacket. "Only when you die"
The demon's eyes flashed red and her face twisted in rage. "You forgot something" she snarled at the trio in front of her. "Hermanatie is still in my power, right now" she slapped her hands together and a tall young man appeared.
"Um, no, we didn't." Dean winked at her. "We found powerful spell that would give us temporary control over him, but only if you summoned him"
Sam handed Hermanatie the knife. The young man looked at it and smiled, then turned with one quick thrust and plunged it deep into the crossroad demon's chest.
The dark haired woman gasped and fell into Hermanatie's arms as she bucked and shook when the demon within her died, the sparks and crackles quickly dissipating to nothing.
Hermanatie pulled the knife out of her chest and let her fall. He wiped the blood off the blade onto his trouser leg and then dropped it to the ground. Turning to the men before him he bowed his head before lifting it to show the gratitude in his eyes.
"I am endowed to you" he said. "I am at last free of the demon's control over me"
Sam cleared his throat. "You'll keep to your promise? Joanie is free, you'll leave her alone?"
Hermanatie nodded. "I shall keep to my promise. I shall not take her as the last survivor. But she, in turn, must keep to her promise and not bear a child"
Sam nodded. "Yeah. She said she would, and I think, given all she's seen, that she will"
Dean walked over to the knife and picked it up. "So, Herman old boy, what's in store for a finally free demi god?"
He turned but the tall man was gone. "What, no good bye?" He called, but there was no answer.
Celia sighed. "My time here is over" she told the hunters.
"Are you sure?" Sam asked her, but she sighed again and fell to the ground. He leaned forward and felt her throat. "She's dead."
"I guess her time was over, then" Dean turned and looked around at the deserted area surrounding the cross roads. "Is this job finally over?"
Sam shrugged. "I guess. Yeah. We just gotta let Joanie know, and then, yeah. Done"
Dean yawned. "Good. Coz I need me some sleep. After I eat. And pie. I could use me some pie." He looked over at the dead bodies. "All right, let's clean up here"
"So you guys heard about the freaky things happening in that town where all the kids died?" Melissa, the bright eyed fifteen year old looked into the faces of her captive audience, her seven closest friends, all in the games room for a sleep over at her house.
"Oh my god, yeah, it was terrible!" her bestest friend of all time, Annaliese, agreed. "They said the name of the witch, what was it?"
"Yeah, that was it! They said her name three times over, like Cassie Winters, Cassie Winters, Cassie Winters, and they all like, they died!"
"No, that wasn't it" Melissa admonished. "It was Celia Goodwife backwards. Like, Goodwife Celia, Goodwife Celia, Goodwife Celia"
"And how did they die?"
"Something kinda scratched or knocked at the window. When they opened the curtains they saw the ghost of the witch, looking back in. They all, like, bled out of their eyes and mouths and everything" Annaliese explained.
Silence fell over the group.
"Wow, that's a boring story" One of the other girls moaned. "Let's go have ice-cream"
A scratching at the window silenced her. The girls all looked at each other in wide eyed fear.
"That's how the story went" whispered Annaliese.
The scratching returned, this time louder.
The girls squealed, bringing Melissa's mother running into the room. "What's going on here?"
"We told the witch story, now she's scratching at the window!" sobbed Melissa as the girls clung to one another in fear.
"Oh pwash, that's just a silly story" Melissa's mother said, and turned as the scratching resumed.
She walked to the window and flung back the curtains as the girls screamed in abject terror.
There, peering in, slightly bedraggled from the misty evening air, stood Harold, the family cat.
Melissa's mother opened the window to let him jump in, then pulled the curtains tight behind him.
"You girls are a pack of silly-billies. Now come on, I'll get you all ice-cream" she said and ushered the giggling, excited girls from the games room.
It was going to be a long night, with eight sugared up teens all sleeping in the downstairs room together. Melissa's mother sighed. At least whatever had happened two towns across to all those poor kids was over, and she could spend the night listening to these teens laugh and talk, instead of hearing the blood curdling screams those other parents must have heard…..
"Well, thank you again" Joanie leaned in the window of the car, her long hair brushing against Sam's thighs.
"No problem. It's what we do" Sam smiled back at her as his brother started the engine. "You gonna be okay? I mean, with not having kids and all?"
Joan brushed her hair back and gave him a sad smile. "It was an easy bargain for me. I was born with a congenital condition that meant I can't ever have kids. It's hereditary, a recessive gene. Probably what started this whole thing in the first place, when Cassie couldn't have kids. And believe me, I'm not going to make any deals with anyone"
Dean nodded. "Especially as the god that can give you a kid happens to be Herman. And I think you don't wanna call him back any time soon"
Joanie smiled. "And, don't take this the wrong way, I hope I don't have to call you guys back, either!" She pulled her head back from the window. "Thanks for everything, and the lift back home. So, what happens with you guys now? Another town, another ghost?"
Sam gave her a down turned smile. "Maybe just the apocalypse"
She laughed, but stopped when she saw that both men looked serious. They waved as they drove off, but |Joanie was left with a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach…
A/N... Don't forget Joan, this one was for you!
So, reviews would be nice. Just coz the story is over, don't mean I don't crave them like no one's business! And, for the first time ever, I DON'T leave you with another story to go on with. For those that have not read my other stories, please do.
And don't forget over on fictionpress dot com are my original stories, also under ucat42, also my stories with Maddie Beaver. Kiddie stories, but you know, if you're an SPN fan, you know her dad, can't hurt to read the kid's stories. Just search for Maddie10 with ucat42.
I figure enough people are writing fanfic, and as I don't get many reviews, I can take the hint, so I will now retire from writing these stories...
Thank you all for taking the time to read them. And the few that left me a kind words, I humbly thank you from the bottom of my heart, your words meant so much to me.
Nice to have had you in my secret little world, here.
Really, really ...