Author's Note: Hi everyone! Second update this week! Back on track... Yay! Okay, now that we're all done celebrating (atleast I hope you were all celebrating with me) let's get down to business. We have the start of answers for this case coming up in this chapter, but first, I want to thank miss happily ever after, Llama-Ninja24101, Carpe-Libri, mrstserc, Tazael, GrammarDemon, Sapphire Ookami, 36sakuya76, kitkatthecat, wisepuma23, Nyx Ro, Anastasia Katerina Black, airiesgrl, Fiction lover14, angelofheaven001, vsncheze, LilyBolt, LeeMarieJack, OneCutePug, DeanCasLover22, Jasper6509, Serie11, Dannichigo, BranchSuper, VioletErin26, Kelisem, Jennik55, OnyxDay, SunnyStormCloud, evil elliebell, KLR, Mysterious Prophetess, Lupus wolf, Princess Aziza, guest, murtaghxblaiseyum, godschild, Haley56, Estel Caprice, and PURITY for their awesome reviews. You guys are wonderful.
Chapter One Hundred and Twenty-Eight: Do Not Touch
The door swung open and the sound of footsteps spurred Dean to wrap his hand around the butt of the Colt. Ghosts didn't make a sound like that. Hell, ghosts didn't have to open the freakin' door if they didn't want to. The hunter held his breath, ready to attack whatever was in the room before it got a chance to attack him first.
"Hello? I thought I heard someone in here and the door was unlocked." A voice called out. "Is someone in here?"
Dean scrunched his brow in confusion. Well, it certainly didn't sound evil… the young hunter elbowed Cas and nodded his head towards the door. The angel nodded and disappeared from sight, going into stealth mode.
The footsteps proceeded hesitantly into the office and Dean was beginning to worry that his hiding place would be discovered when suddenly there was a loud banging noise from far down in the hall. The footsteps quickly exited the room after an exclamation of 'what the hell?!'.
Cas appeared besides Dean. "He was the janitor. I don't believe he has anything to do with what transpired yesterday."
"I got that, Sherlock." Dean shot back. "Go stealth again. Something's going on and I wanna know what. We're following him."
Dean slipped out of the room, feeling the angel's presence behind him. He crept quickly but quietly down the hall. He didn't see the janitor but could hear a commotion coming from somewhere up ahead. In A hall, if he wasn't mistaken.
"Oh! Oh god!" Then the footsteps started back his way.
Dean tensed and looked around for some place to hide but there were no doors close enough to duck through. Even if there were, they'd probably be locked and there certainly wasn't enough time for Dean to pick them. Then he felt a hand on his shoulder and found himself in the library. The boy breathed a sigh of relief.
"Thanks, Cas." He said gratefully. "Can you take us to A hall? Something happened there that shocked Mr. Clean."
"Do you think that's wise?"
"Well, he's not there now and we gotta see what happened."
Seconds later the deserted library was replaced by blue lockers. The whole atmosphere of an empty school was a bit creepy and that image wasn't helped by the dead teenage girl lying on the tile floor in a pool of her own blood. Dean froze as he took in the scene. The girl was dressed in a cheerleader outfit, her short dark hair was perfectly styled, and she was wearing an overabundance of makeup. He was certain that he'd seen her hanging out at the 'popular kid' table even though he didn't think he'd ever heard her name. But what stood out the most at that moment were the deeply sliced wrists and the razor lying near her right hand. It looked like a suicide. The day after a suspicious accident. Right.
Dean looked over and saw that the teen girl was lying next to an open locker. But when he saw the locker number his eyes widened. Locker 136. He'd just seen that locker number. It was listed in Trudy Bates file as her locker.
Dean stepped forward carefully, trying to get a look in the locker without stepping in the blood. When he was close enough he started examining everything he could see. There were a bunch of books, some notebooks, a jacket, a few photos taped to the inside of the door, a lunch bag, and at the bottom of the locker an object that looked like a hacky-sack. Wait… no, that's not what it was at all. It was a hex bag.
"Oh crap." Dean groaned. "Witchcraft. Why couldn't it be ghosts?"
The hunter knew that there was no way that he could leave the bag behind. He'd need it to examine its contents. So, stepping gingerly around the ever spreading puddle of blood, Dean reached down and snatched up the bag without touching anything else in the locker. Then he jumped backwards and away from the body. He was about to announce his success to Cas when he realized that something was wrong.
There had been several time over the many years of hunting when Dean had grabbed a hex bag either from a victim or from the scene of a crime. On those occasions he'd either burned them immediately to keep the intended victim safe or he'd pocketed them to take them back to his motel room for later examination. But never had he felt anything from merely touching the item. When a practicing witch made a hex bag, they directed the curse at their intended victim so that the spell would only work on that person and anyone else coming in contact with the bag would be unaffected. This made picking up a hex bag perfectly safe. But this time, Dean felt the wrongness of the item spread from his hand all throughout his body almost instantly. Which meant that either the bag was meant to affect anyone, or it had multiple targets and Dean was one of them.
Either way, the boy felt the rush of wrongness seem to dissipate as though it were never there in the first place but he knew that whatever spell was at work wouldn't be gone. He was proven right just a moment later when, against his will, his eyes were drawn to the razor lying near the cheerleader's hand. His own hand itched to pick it up. To pick it up and hold it. To pick it up, hold it, and the thrust it into his throat. To pick it up, hold it, thrust it into his throat and twist it around. To pick it up, hold it, thrust it into his throat, twist it around and yank it out so a geyser of blood would erupt from the wound. Yes… yes, that's exactly what he should… NO!
Dean shook his head and threw the bag down the hall as far from himself as he could get it. Then he took a few steps backwards and waited for his head to clear. He felt his body tremble slightly. He didn't want to contemplate how close he'd come to joining the dead girl on the floor. But before he could celebrate his continued life, Dean's hand darted into his pocket and his fingers wrapped around the butt of his gun. Because really, why did he need to reuse a razor when he'd brought his own weapon to the party? And wouldn't a gun make such a better impact? Dean could see it now; the business end pressed against his temple as his finger pulled the trigger and splattered his brains all over the once blue lockers. Or maybe under his chin would be a better way to go? NO! Yes, oh yes, this was such a good idea.
"Cas…" Dean pleaded. At least he was pretty sure that he'd vocalized his friend's name. He hoped that he had, because his hand was starting to pull the Colt from his pocket as the idea of using the weapon started to seem more and more appealing even as the very thought of blowing his brains out sickened him.
Then he felt two fingers on his forehead and the world went black.
Castiel knew something was wrong the moment that Dean hopped backwards and away from the locker. Not only did he not make some kind of statement of triumph or semi-humorous comment but his entire posture suddenly changed. The hunter went from his usual relaxed, slightly slouched stance to a rigid and trembling one. His right hand opened and closed repeatedly and he was looking downwards at the dead body. Castiel was about to call out to him when Dean suddenly threw the bag down the hall and stepped backwards.
Trying to figure out what exactly was wrong, and suspecting that it had something to do with the magical bag that his young friend had touched, the angel took a peek at Dean's soul. His eyes widened at the angry red streaks running and twisting their way through it.
"Cas…" Dean's voice was desperate and Castiel saw that his hand was in the pocket where he kept his gun and was starting to draw the weapon out.
Without hesitation, the angel stepped forward and placed two fingers on the boy's head, placing him into a deep sleep. He caught Dean as the small hunter fell bonelessly to the floor. Lifting him effortlessly, Castiel proceeded down the hall to where the bag was lying on the tile, looking completely harmless. As he got close, the angel could feel the contamination practically leaking from it.
Angels were not affected by hexes so he didn't think twice about picking up the object and shoving it into his trench coat pocket. As he did so, Castiel heard the main doors to the high school open and several voices talking all at once. It seemed that the janitor had alerted the proper authorities. It was time to leave.
With Dean cradled in his arms and the hex bag safely stored in his pocket, Castiel transported himself back to the Winchester's home. He was hoping that the family would still be downstairs training Sam so that questions would be at a minimum but when was he ever that lucky?
"Cas! What happened? What's wrong with Dean? Is he alright?" John ran into the living room from the dining room followed closely by his wife and youngest son.
"He is physically well."
"What the hell does that mean?"
"What happened?" Mary asked.
"I will answer your questions as soon as I put Dean down." The angel responded as he walked to the couch. He gently placed the boy down.
Sam rushed to his brother's side. "Oh thank God! I thought maybe his eyes were burned out or something."
Castiel cocked his head to the side. "I informed you all that he was physically well. 'Eyes burned out' does not fit my concept of 'physically well'."
Sam looked embarrassed. "Uh no. I guess not. I just… I worry."
"I understand. He is your brother."
"Yeah." Sam brushed his hand through Dean's hair. "So what's wrong with him?"
"I put him to sleep after he was affected by some dark magics."
"Magic?" Mary questioned.
"Witchcraft." Castiel explained, taking the hex bag from his pocket. "I caution you all to not get near this. Merely touching it infected Dean. I will dismantle it to render the spell harmless as soon as I cleanse your son."
He held the cursed object in one hand and then placed his other palm under Dean's shirt on the hunter's bare chest, right above his heart. Castiel concentrated hard on his friend's soul and the darkness that did not belong there. With all his might he extracted it from Dean, channeled it through himself, and deposited it back into the small, cloth bag. When the process was complete, Castiel dropped the evil thing back into his pocket and sagged with a combination of exhaustion and relief.
Just then, Dean sat up straight and cried out. "Cas!"
"It is alright, Dean. You will be fine."
The young hunter looked around somewhat frantically before realizing that he was home and not under the spell's influence any longer. Castiel could see him relax. "What happened?"
"I put you to sleep and brought you home. I then undid the effects of the hex bag."
"Oh. Well, thanks for that."
"Where did you find the bag, Dean?" John inquired. "And what happened when you picked it up?"
Dean seemed hesitant to say anything so Castiel spoke up, providing a concise and accurate depiction of their actions from the moment they appeared in the school building to when Dean picked up the hex bag. His friend shot him a grateful look, obviously glad to have a moment to gather his thoughts before he had to join in on his part of the explanation. But when Castiel was done talking, all eyes turned to the young hunter.
"When I picked up the bag, I knew immediately that something was wrong. At first it was a weird feeling but then I just… I don't know, I didn't want to, but it felt like I needed to kill myself." Dean shifted uncomfortably as his parents gasped. "I tried to stop myself but my body was acting on its own, like there was this pull or something." He shrugged. "Then Cas put me out."
"You called out to me."
Dean let out a little huff of a laugh. "I wasn't sure if I actually said that out loud."
"You did. And I could see that something was wrong. I looked into your soul and saw the spell running through it."
"Well, that's creepy."
"What does this mean?" John wanted to know. "Is Dean a target too? Or does that thing just hurt anyone that touches it?"
"I'm not sure." Castiel replied.
Dean shrugged. "Beats the hell outta me. What we need is an expert in this crap. I say we call in Missouri."
Author's Note Part Two: Damn witch... but we got a familiar face coming back so that's good. Hope you all enjoyed. Please take a moment to leave a review. Thanks.