Her name was the first thing on his lips as reality slowing began to creep back in around him.
"Your friend is fine," a gentle woman's voice assured him. He felt something move across his forehead and realized that it was a small, callused hand.
Blinking the grogginess away, he opened his eyes and made an attempt to sit up. It took more effort than it should have and he wondered what the hell the Abenaki had laced the darts with that they used to knock them out. Whatever it was, it's effects seemed to linger and he shook his head to try to clear it.
"I have coffee. It might help with the drowsiness," the woman's voice said and he searched it out and found her sitting demurely in a chair beside the cot he was laying on. Her long, caramel-colored legs were crossed and her hands were now resting in her lap. Her long dark hair shrouded her face in a black curtain. It wasn't until she reached to the table beside him and retrieved a steaming mug that it moved and he was able to see her face. It was a beautiful face, almost angelic in it's innocence. Large dark eyes blinked at him as he reached out and took the cup she offered.
"Where are we?" he asked as he took a sip and immediately regretted it when it burned his tongue. "Where is Meg?"
The woman flipped her hair aside, tossing it behind her and cast her eyes towards the other side of the tiny room they occupied. Cas followed her gaze and found another cot like the one he was on with Meg stretched out on it. Her face was turned away from him, but he took a moment to take note of the slow, steady movement of her chest that indicated she was indeed alright.
"My name is Olivia. My father, Laurent Monladaque, the chief of our tribe, was the one who sent for you. He is ready to talk to you whenever you feel up to it," she explained.
"That only answered one of my questions. Where are we?" he asked again, taking another, this time much more tentative sip of the coffee.
"You are in our home, the real headquarters of the Abenaki people," she said in the same dulcet, patient tone.
"Do you know Abornazine?"
Olivia nodded curtly. "She is the reason you were brought here. Outsiders are less than welcome here, you would not have been allowed here if it weren't for her."
"So she's here?"
Olivia got to her feet. "My father is waiting to talk to you. He will tell you everything then. I left a cup of coffee for your friend. Wake her and come find us when you're ready. The tincture used on the darts is quite strong. Take your time collecting yourself."
Then she walked out leaving Cas to watch her disappear through an arched shaped doorway in the stone wall.
He took a moment to study his surroundings and sip at his coffee before getting up and going to her side. Standing was an effort, but somehow he managed to fight off the feeling of lead weights on his legs and arms and cross the dirt floor that lay between them.
Once there, he reached out and gently shook her shoulder. When she did little more than groan in response, he gave it another, much stronger shake as he called her name.
Finally, she gradually opened her eyes. "Cas?" she said, sitting up. "Where are we?"
"In the Abenaki village, I assume. Apparently, the chief is waiting for us outside," he explained.
Meg sat up carefully and glanced around her with eyes much more alert than Cas felt like his were. He wasn't sure how she shook off the drugs effects so easily, but he envied the ability. "Do they know Abornazine? Is she here?"
"You know exactly what I know. I have no idea and the girl that was here didn't seem to want to answer too many questions." He reached to the table beside her and retrieved another blue speckled aluminum mug like the one his coffee was in. "She left coffee," he said, handing it over to her.
Meg eyed it suspiciously. "It's okay. I've had some. Tastes like regular ole coffee."
"There are plenty of things that will kill you that don't have a taste," she muttered, but took the cup anyway.
"I think if they wanted us dead, they would've just shot us with the arrows and saved themselves the trouble of drugging us and bringing us here," he reasoned.
"And that is the only reason I'm drinking this," she agreed as she tried a sip. A few more sizable gulps and she was getting to her feet. "Let's do this. I'm cold and hungry and it feels like someone took a sledgehammer to the side of my head."
He stopped her just before she stepped out of the doorway by grabbing her hand and pulling her back to him. "I meant what I said before." He told her, trying to find her eyes, but she was purposefully avoiding his gaze. "I don't care what happens out there, whatever is coming, I'm not going anywhere. I need you to believe that. Tell me you trust me."
Finally, she turned her face towards his and met his stare. "I do trust you. I believe that you don't want to go anywhere. I just don't know how much control you'll actually have over that."
He shook his head immediately. "There isn't anything that can keep me from you." Then he paused as he studied the look of fear on her face. It was something very foreign and surreal. He wasn't sure he had ever seen her afraid before, not like this. "What do you think is going to happen out there?" he asked when he couldn't fathom anything making her look like that.
She turned her face from his and stared down at the ground beside their feet. "I don't know," she mumbled quietly.
"Tell me," he insisted. "What are you so afraid of?"
"Losing you, I guess," she answered in the same muffled voice.
"That isn't going to happen," he repeated vehemently.
She sighed and looked back at him. "You can't know that. I mean, you know how you feel right now. But you can't know that won't change. You could go back to being you and you could forget all this ever happened."
"You think I'm going to forget how I feel about you? Is that why you're so troubled?"
"Maybe," she answered.
He pulled her into his chest and wrapped his arms around her so quickly she gave a little startled gasp at the abruptness of the move. "I could never forget how I feel about you."
She shook her head against him. "You've spent a lot more time hating me than loving me. It isn't a far reach to think that once everything is back to normal in your head and you get your wings back, you'll go back to hating me again."
He chuckled without meaning to. He didn't want her to think he was belittling her fears but he couldn't believe it was possible that she didn't know how absurd that was. "Meg, the way I feel about you has nothing to do with what's going on in my head or with being human. I felt something for you the very first time I met you. I won't lie to you and say I loved you from the start, considering the start, you can't blame me. You did have me trapped with holy fire and you were taunting me pretty mercilessly. But even then, there was something about you."
He could have sworn she giggled. If it were anybody else that was the name he would have put on the sound that came out of her. "You have no idea how hot you were, standing there, all full of yourself and your righteous indignation."
"I thought you were crazy," he countered. "Crazy and just about the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen."
She ran her fingers through the hair at his temple, the hair that was just showing signs of needing a trim. Then she rested her hand against his cheek and marveled once again at the stubble she found there. "You know, we're both humans now. We could get in my car and just leave, find some suburbia with green lawns and lots of trees and just forget about all this trouble. Leave it to the Winchesters. They always manage to figure it out. They don't need us."
His wistful smile said he was at least considering the possibility but it was only a moment before it was gone and a deep furrow between his brows replaced it. "I can't do that. This is my fault. I'm not saying I'll never be able to. I'm just saying I've got to clean up this mess before I can."
She pulled reluctantly out of his arms and he almost let her go but just as her warmth began to leave him, he pulled her back into his chest. "I love you," he whispered against her ear. "Never forget that. No matter what happens, that isn't going to change."
She let her head rest on his chest as she took in a deep lung full of him. "I love you, too. And I really hope that you're right."
She stepped out of the small hut and immediately began to shiver. She hadn't realized how cold it was inside, but the crisp Autumn air was even more chill-inspiring this far North. She decided in that moment the suburbia with its trees and lawns would definitely have to be somewhere much further South. She hated the cold.
She let him take her hand and lead her to the middle of what appeared to be a modest-sized encampment comprised of several huts like the one they'd just left, varying in size and made from some kind of adobe like material. It reminded her of the old Indian settlements. There hadn't been many around by the time she came into the world as a human. By that time the humans had driven most of the American Indians to their reservations. Still she'd seen plenty of pictures and movies and at the moment she felt like that was what she was stepping into, a movie or picture or a museum exhibit.
Instead of buckskins (which she'd half been expecting) the men standing around in the middle of the encampment were clothed in modern attire, jeans, denim jackets and plaid shirts seemed to be the fashion craze that was sweeping through the Abenaki Nation.
One of the men, one Meg recognized from the forest clearing, stepped away from the circle surrounding the fire and came towards them. He held his hand out to stop them from moving any closer and trained his eyes on Meg. "Before you come any closer, I should warn you. Chief Monladaque is a great man. He deserves your respect."
"He has it," Cas assured him before Meg had a chance to open her mouth. "We have nothing against you or your people. We meant no disrespect when we met in the woods."
Meg bristled. "Yeah, it really sours my mood when people hide in trees and take potshots at me with arrows. Sorry I was so cranky."
Cas gave her a discouraging glance and she felt him squeeze her hand.
Another men stepped from the fire and joined them. "And my people meant no ill-will towards you. It's how we mange to keep to ourselves. I'm afraid it's a necessary evil so that we can maintain our way of life here. Outsiders aren't welcome."
"Don't you think you could accomplish the same thing with a few well placed 'No Trespassing' signs?" Meg asked with an acerbically sweet smile.
James, the man from the clearing took a step towards her, but the older man held out his hand to stop him. He gave them a smile that caused deep creases to emerge on on his tanned, weathered face. It was a gentle smile and Meg wasn't quite sure how to react to it. "I am Chief Laurent Monladaque of the Abenaki people." He turned to the man beside him and placed a hand on his shoulder. "This is my son, James." Then he turned his full attention on Cas. "And you must be Castiel."
Cas dipped his head. "I am. This is my companion, Meg. We were told we could find a Journey woman here, Abornazine."
"Come to the fire and warm yourselves. We have much to discuss," the Chief said, invitingly as he lead them through the cluster of plaid and denim clad men to the roaring campfire in the midst.
He took a seat on one the rocks surrounding the fire and gestured for them to do the same.
Cas pulled Meg along with him to a rock beside the Native American that was big enough for both of them. Once seated, Cas gave her a glance to make sure she was settled as well before giving his full attention to the Chief. "Is Abornazine here? It really is urgent that I speak with her."
"The one you seek has been a member of this tribe for nearly a century. She came to us many, many years ago. We know not where she came from, only that she was lost and alone and we took her in. A few years ago, men came here, men with black eyes and blacker souls. We tried to fight them off, but they were stronger than our strongest weapons. We had no choice but to allow them to stay. They set up a camp of their own outside of ours and spent their time watching. I believe they were guarding Abornazine, though I don't know why."
Meg felt her stomach flop. "Are these men still here?" she asked, quickly darting her eyes around at the men surrounding them and realizing a bit belatedly that if they were being lead into a trap it was a good one. There was no reasonable way for them to escape.
"No, several nights ago the men took Abornazine and left us in the dead of the night. We tried to track them, but my men lost them at the outskirts of the forest," the Chief informed them solemnly.
Cas' face fell and Meg gave his hand a squeeze in reinforcement. "What happened the night they left? Was there a problem?" she asked. "What night was it exactly?"
"It was seven days ago," he answered.
"That's the night we dreamed about Chuck," Cas said quietly.
"It was on that day that my men found a man in the forest. They ran him off without much trouble, but when Morgan, the leader of the Black-eyed ones heard of him he grew very nervous. Later that night, he packed up his people and fled."
"Tell us about this man you found in the forest."
"He was a white man, short, foreign and wearing a suit." James said from his father's side.
"Foreign how?" Meg wanted to know as her uneasiness grew.
"English, I think. He had black eyes like the others, but this one, he reeked of power, power far beyond the ones that lived here."
"Crowley," Cas muttered.
"Sounds like," Meg agreed. "So if the demons here panicked when he showed up, they obviously weren't his. They must have been in hiding."
"Like you," Cas said. "I didn't realize there were so many of you."
"Not everyone was on board when Crowley took over. A lot of us took to ground, especially those with a history with Crowley," she explained.
"Do you know where they might have taken Abornazine?"
She shook her head dejectedly. "No, it's not like we have a secret clubhouse. We all pretty much just keep to ourselves and keep moving. It's the only way to stay ahead of him and his minions."
"I wish I had more to tell you," the Chief said, interrupting their conversation. "The black-eyed ones kept to themselves. We know very little about them."
"They just stayed here and kept out of your way?" Meg asked.
The Chief nodded.
"You said their leader's name was Morgan?"
He nodded again.
"How many of them were there?"
"It began with just Morgan and his female but others joined them. They came and went, but there were five that lived here permanently. Morgan, his female, Beth, Arron, Matthew and a young one, Vivian."
"How young?" Cas asked.
"A teenager, maybe fourteen when she arrived."
Meg turned to James. "In the forest, you asked if we were the ones you'd be waiting for, what did you mean?"
It was Laurent that answered. "I had a dream the night Abornazine disappeared foretelling your coming. A man told me you were an Angel and we should trust you."
Meg sighed. "Shaggy beard, dark, curly hair, kinda trollish?"
"I don't know what trollish is but that sounds like the one who came to me," the Chief confirmed.
"Chuck," Cas said.
"For a measly little prophet that guy really gets around," Meg muttered.
"Yes, well, right now Chuck is the least of our worries. We need to figure out where the demons took Abornazine." Cas sighed heavily.
"I think I might have an idea." Meg told him. She turned back to the Chief. "Do you think Abornazine left with Morgan and his people freely?"
"No, Abornazine was one of us. This is her home. We are her people now. She is very old. We tried to go after her but we had no idea where to look."
"We'll find her and when we do, we'll bring her back to you." Cas vowed solemnly.
"James will guide you out of the forest. Good luck, and my the Great Spirit guide your path."