Can You Really Trust A Demon?
Dean was drifting off in a fuzzy pleasurable haze, the uninteresting film he had been watching more potent than any sedative, sending him off to the land of Nod: his consciousness about to surrender to impending sleep.
"Dean!" the voice of his brother floated through his waning senses, registering with his brain, even as he tried to ignore it.
They were in a room well-protected with salt lines and hex bags; whatever Sam wanted could wait till later, he told himself, burrowing down ever deeper into the surprisingly comfortable couch.
"Dean!" the voice repeated more loudly.
"Mmm, Sammy,"he slurred sleepily. " Not now. You can tell me later, dude."
But Sam was going for third time lucky as he repeated his brother's name once more, only this time coming to stand over him.
Dean had his eyes closed but his spidery Sam-senses had pin-pointed his brother's position exactly.
Like the predator he was, Dean reached out an arm as rapidly as a striking cobra, and he heard Sam squawk as his little brother found himself stretched out on the couch with Dean holding him down threateningly.
Once his initial surprise had passed, Sam huffed irritatedly up at his brother.
"Dean what is wrong with you? Did you really have to yank me down like that?"
"Yes, Sammy. I really really did! You're an annoying little shit at the best of times but I was drifting off to sleep so sweetly there, before your Sasquatch self ruined the moment," Dean bitched semi-seriously, as he pulled Sam up to a sitting position.
"So. What was so important that it couldn't wait?" Dean sighed.
Now that he was wide awake, he might as well give his annoying sibling his undivided attention.
Sam was still a little bit miffed at having been surprised so easily by his brother and sent a bitchy glare back at him, full of the promise of future paybacks, but Dean just grinned irreverently, interpreting correctly his brother's glare.
"Bring it on Sammy. Whatever you cook up, I can take it and give it back a hundred-fold!"
Sam just nodded.
Now wasn't the time, but his agile mind was already cataloguing potential pranks that he could use on his smirking sibling.
"Right," he said, getting back to business, putting his score-settling away for a rainy day.
"You remember when we had that case with the kidnapping of young girls, the ones who had to be virgins?"
"Yeah, I remember," Dean answered, although it wasn't so much the hunt that had stuck in his memory, even if it had been a really weird one, as the fact of embracing his soul-filled little brother again.
He and Sam had held on to each other as if they would never let go, words being absolutely superfluous, as all that they needed to say to each other had been conveyed silently but no less intensely in that physical embrace.
It was as if the touch of the other had charged them up like a battery, filling each one with that extra energy they always had when they stood side by side.
However Dean spared a passing thought too for the demise of Robo-Sam.
Although he had been dangerous and without a scrap of morality, there had been something appealing about him. He had been like a child in many ways; a child needing the firm hand of a parent to guide him; to teach him right from wrong.
He wondered what would have happened had Death not managed to pull Sam's soul out of the Cage, and his anger rose as he thought of Castiel and how he had lied to him about Crowley having been the one to resurrect his little brother.
Cas had sworn he hadn't been aware that Sam's soul had been left behind in the Cage, but Dean didn't believe him.
If he had lied once, then he could lie again.
He had seen in Sam's teary eyes at Ellsworth's house, that he hadn't believed the angel either.
Cas had better watch out, for whoever hurt his brother would feel Dean's wrath.
They hadn't seen him for a while now, and that was fine with Dean. He had his brother back, albeit with a shaky wall, and that's all he cared about.
He saw Sam watching patiently, waiting for him to continue.
"Right, the virgins! Boy was it hard to find some bona fide ones!" He joked.
"Not so hard Dean, seeing that the dragons managed well enough!" Sam reminded him, the vision of all those poor girls in the cages still fresh in his mind.
"So! Don't tell me that the dragons have turned up again!"
"Well, in the past two weeks five girls have disappeared all from the one State; all aged between fifteen and seventeen; all disappearing on their way home from school.
Seems like their modus operandi but..."
"... but on the other hand it could be a hundred different things, Sammy; from a serial killer to the kids just running away from home.
Did you find anything else to go on?"
"Not really, Dean, but you must admit that it could be a case for us." Sam insisted.
"And you woke me up for this, man?" Dean bitched.
"I thought at the very least you had found a nest of bad-ass vampires or something. Get back to me when you've got something more to go on, Sammy-boy! Now if you don't mind, get your ass off this very comfortable couch and let me get back to the real business of the day; my beauty sleep!"
Sam huffed at Dean's lack of interest in his findings and went to get up, so as to let his brother stretch out again, when a knock on the door stopped them both in their tracks.
They exchanged glances, the previous bantering pushed to the back of their minds, as their hunting senses came back on-line.
"Expecting visitors, Sammy?" Dean whispered.
"Not really,"Sam answered, "and you?"
Dean just shook his head as he uncoiled himself from the couch, and in his stockinged feet padded to the door, with Sam who had armed himself with a shotgun, right behind him.
That had always been their ritual.
Dean front, Sammy back. Dean the protector, Sammy the protected and although things had changed in many ways since they were kids, old habits die hard, and both brothers instinctively still took up their positions.
Dean checked the salt line before he pulled open the door.
"You! What the Hell do you want?"
"Now, is that any way to greet an old friend, Dean? " was the pert reply.
" We don't have any old friends, such as Pastor Jim and Caleb, thanks to you. So I'll say it one more time. What do you want?"
"Tsk, tsk! Where's all that irresistible charm you're famous for, Dean? I was in the neighbourhood and I just thought I'd pay a little courtesy visit. Why don't you let me in and we can talk?"
"Let her in Dean," Sam's soft voice interrupted. "I doubt she'd have come here for nothing. We might as well hear what she's got to say."
At Sam's words, Dean stepped back breaking the salt line across the door with his foot, as Meg stepped daintily inside.
"Sam," Meg smirked. "I heard that you got your soul back. How's that going for you? You know I liked you better without it. You were a real killer then; a man after my own heart but now those sappy eyes of yours are a real turn off!"
Dean felt his anger rising. Nobody got to insult Sammy but him.
"If you came to do a psych evaluation on us, you can go straight back to the stink-hole you came from." He commented coldly.
"It's okay Dean. You don't have to get all protective. I'm not here hurt your precious Sammy." was the mocking reply.
"I told Dean to let you in because I thought you had something to say, but I'd be just as happy to send you back to Hell if you prefer." Sam butted in, his eyes completely devoid of any softness, his gun at the ready.
Meg gave a false sigh.
"You Winchesters just don't know how to have a little fun, do you! Okay then. Down to business.
The last time we saw each other was in Crowley's headquarters, when Clarence burnt his so-called "bones.""
Dean nodded, Cas' betrayal still burned.
"Well, Crowley of course didn't die then; he's very much alive, so I've been keeping out of his way. I'm not exactly on his best friend forever list."
"We know all this Meg. Get to the point!" Dean commanded impatiently.
She lowered her voice. "I've still got some supporters in Hell and it's been referred to me that Crowley doesn't trust your angel buddy. He's afraid that sweet Clarence will double cross him and so he's arranging a back-up plan of his own."
"And... ? Dean prompted.
"And he needs a barrow-load of virgins for an ancient ritual that he's discovered, which taps into the power of human souls while they are still in their living bodies. With 6 billion souls on Earth, that gives him a tidy bit of extra power just in case Castiel pulls a fly one on him."
Dean looked over at his brother, as they silently conversed with simple glances.
[What do you think, Sam? Could there be any truth in what she's saying?]
Sam returned the look, his answer as clear to Dean as if he had spoken aloud.
[ There might well be; Dean. I can't see that she would have any reason to lie about this.!]
"Well," Meg smirked. "When you two have finished your little discussion, let me in on it too!"
"Shut up, bitch. Just because we're listening doesn't mean we trust you!" Dean growled. "Keep talking!"
"That's about all I know. One of the most ancient of Crowley's resident demons did some research and came up with this forgotten spell, and Crowley's going with it."
"Are there any side effects to the spell; on humans, I mean." Sam asked.
"I can only guess," she answered. " But if Crowley does use the ritual, and sucks energy from living souls, I would think that they would be affected in some way. You Sam, without your soul, were a real piece of hell spawn, no conscience, no morality or ethics, no sleep too, if I remember rightly.
All the things that made you human disappeared with your soul, so I would reckon that using up live soul energy would make everyone a little soulless, just as you were."
Sam paled. If people's souls became weaker, then they would become more immoral and cruel. They couldn't allow that to happen.
His older brother nodded. He had reached the same conclusion.
Crowley had to be stopped at all costs from using that ritual. But how?
"Meg. Is there nothing else you can tell us that could help. " Dean asked.
"No...except that the virgins not only have to be young and pure, but have all to be connected by blood."
"You means like cousins and stuff?"
"Exactly, Deano. They have to descend from the same family-line."
"Dean," Sam burst in excitedly. "You remember you said that virgins were hard to find nowadays; well how much harder must it be to find virgins from the right age group and with a family bond?"
"Nearly impossible Sammy! So if we find the girls he's kidnapped, we mess up Crowley's spell and he won't be able to use it as back up. It would take him months to find another batch of suitable virgins!"
Sam cocked his head in agreement.
"Just what do you get out of this, Meg," Dean asked, turning his attention back to the female demon.
He had never trusted demons and with good reason; that hadn't changed just because Meg had turned up with a story that had still to be verified.
"Dean, Dean! You really are low on trust, aren't you." She smirked.
"You learn from your mistakes, sweetheart." Dean assured.
"You know that Crowley wants me dead; he doesn't like the fact that I'm a Lucifer loyalist, and even although there are very few of us left, we can still stir up trouble for him.
There are demons who would come over to us if Crowley showed any kind of weakness, so I'm wanting him weaker, not stronger, and getting his hands on the Purgatory souls would make him much too powerful, maybe even as powerful as Lucifer himself."
Dean looked over at his brother.
It was true that Sam couldn't recall his Hell memories because of the Wall, but he did remember everything prior to that, right up to when he jumped into the Cage and his heart went out to him. He should never have agreed to Sam's plan to throw himself into the Pit. They could have come up with something else.
He sighed. What was done was done, but Sam wasn't going to suffer any more than he had to.
"Right. We get it." Dean said , the "we" coming to him automatically. There was no "I" where he and his brother were concerned. They were united against everything and everybody. They had made mistakes in the past but now they understood exactly how much each was indispensable to the other.
"Any idea where Crowley might be keeping them?" Sam asked, his voice tight, the memory of being possessed by Lucifer flooding his mind at Meg's words. The terrible recollection of reducing Dean's face to shreds, tearing at his heart.
Dean searched out his brother's eyes; his own filled with love and forgiveness.
[It wasn't you, Sammy! It wasn't you! ]
[It was my fists, Dean. ]
[No Sam. It was the Devil, never you! ]
"Good question, Sam." Meg continued, unaware of the brothers' little exchange.
"His headquarters were destroyed by Clarence and all the monsters killed. He won't be keeping them in Hell because that would mean killing them before time. He'll have them stashed away in some safe house here on Earth, well guarded by his most faithful demons."
"If that's the case, his faithful demons will lead us right to the girls." Sam grinned, as Dean smiled wolfishly back at him.
He was just in the right mood to kick some demon ass.
" Put that freaky mind of yours to work, my brother," Dean added. "Your lap-top awaits. Let's find those demons!"
XXXX TBC XXXX