Castiel stomped into Naomi's office, immediately slamming his palms down on her desk and glaring at her.
"What did you do?!" He shouted.
She looked up at him, not the least bit amused by his outburst. "What I had to do. I'm proving a point, Castiel."
"A point? You took my powers away and nearly got Lara killed to prove a point?!"
"Yes!" She stood. "I'm just showing you what can happen if you refuse to listen to me. I warned you. I told you what would happen if you continued to disobey me." Her gazes hardened. "Do you believe that I can't hear what's going on in your head? I know what you've been thinking about. How you're considering disobedience, again. You think you can actually avoid me? You think you can just keep severing the bond and all will be well and fine?" She shook her head. "You need to realize that thoughts like those are going to come with deadly consequences. So you see now, you aren't free to do whatever the hell you want to any longer. You belong to me, and you're going to do as your told."
He shook his head. "No, I've had enough of this. I refuse to do what you tell me. I don't know how you're controlling me like this but it ends now!"
"Funny. You think you actually have a choice?" She suddenly appeared behind him, grabbing him by the collar and slamming his back down on the table. "You don't. I guess this means I'm just going to have to dig a little deeper."
I was jolted awake when the impala suddenly screeched to a stop. I flew forwards, smacking my head against the seat, thanks to Dean and his erratic driving. For a moment I sat there, rubbing my forehead and grumbling before their car doors opening forced me to snap out of it. It didn't take ten seconds to notice that Cas wasn't with us, which of course made me wonder just when he had disappeared.
But I followed after them, noticing we were parked at a dock and a rust bucket of a boat was floating just feet in front of us. This was obviously where Kevin had been staying, which only made me feel that much more sorry for him. It didn't look very pleasant.
Dean knocked on the door a few times over, which caused a loud metal clanking to echo through the boat.
"Who is it?" Kevin asked nervously.
"It's us, let us in." Dean said back.
The door creaked open a few inches and we were suddenly sprayed in the face with holy water.
"Dude... Not demons." Dean said, wiping his face.
"Sorry," Kevin sighed, opening the door fully. "But you forgot the knock, and you can never be too careful."
We followed him inside and I noticed his work station, which was a rickety table, was in complete disarray. The wall was covered in notes and scribbles, looking to me like nothing but gibberish, but to Kevin it probably made sense.
"So, what did you find?" Sam asked, stopping only momentarily to stare at the mess on the stove.
Kevin looked ready to jump out of his pants. "It's about the gates of hell, how to close them... From what I can see so far there's a series of trials that needs to be done, and after you've finished all three, the gates of hell are slammed for good. I found the first trial."
He had already started grinning by the time Dean grabbed him and scooped him off the ground.
"You son of a bitch." Dean chuckled. "Good job."
Once he finally put him back on his feet he had to balance himself. "Ok, well... From what I found so far the first trial says that you have to kill a hound of hell and bathe in its blood."
I cringed and looked to my brothers, and honestly at this point it could have been just about anything and Dean would be all for it.
"Ok, great..." He smacked his hands together. "So, we just gotta find ourselves a hell hound and uhh, gut the bitch."
"Psh, yeah, that sounds simple enough." I snorted. "They're so easy to find aren't they?"
"Shut up, buzz kill. Yeah it'll be tricky but at least we got something to do now, right?" Dean replied. "So, after I've bathed in its blood or whatever, what's gotta be done?"
"There's an incantation that needs to be said." Kevin grabbed a slip of paper from his table. "After the trial is preformed. Other than that, I'm not really sure what happens once it's done. I haven't read that far yet. I just thought you'd want to know about the first trial." He paused. "But, from what I can tell so far it seems like the trials might really take its toll on the person preforming them. Like, maybe weaken them or something."
Dean shrugged. "I can handle a little weakness."
"Wait a second." I objected. "Why are you the one that's gonna preform the trials?"
"Uh," Sam snorted. "Well I think we should talk about this a little, don't you? We're not talking something small like a little ghost or something, this is closing the gates of hell, Dean. We need to discuss it seriously."
"Ok," Dean glared at the both of us. "I'm seriously gonna be the one to do it, happy?"
Sam groaned and rubbed his temples. "Why do I even bother?"
"Good question," Dean moved to Kevin's wall of scribbles and eyed them for a minute. "So I guess we start searchin for signs of a hell hound."
Kevin sat at his desk, for the moment ignoring the half of the tablet. "How're you gonna do that?"
"Not gonna be easy," Sam sighed. "Best chances are finding a place where deals have been made, more than one. Finding deaths that weren't exactly natural, maybe the bodies would have been ripped to shreds. So, I guess I'll start googling some lucky breaks that happened around ten years ago."
Kevin cleared his throat before giving a long loud yawn. "I'll make a pot a coffee. I think this is gonna take a while."
Kevin was right when he said it was gonna take a while. It ended up taking a good three days before Sam came across something that was more than utter crap. We had spent those three days crashing in the boat, and I think we were driving the kid crazy. He couldn't get any work done with us there constantly blabbering or arguing. By the time Sam found a solid lead he was practically shoving us out the door.
We were heading to a small town in Washington, where a family seemed to have a string of luck... And by luck I mean pretty much buying the entire town after somehow acquiring such a large sum of money they could basically buy and sell anyone. And, it just so happened that the day after next would be the ten year mark this family had gotten so lucky. We figured it was the Father, a Richard Alston, who had made the deal, since before all of this happened he had been a taxi driver, and miraculously overnight had become a best selling author, had an entire series of books made into some ridiculously popular movies, and was now a multi-multi millionaire. Since then he had published a dozen or more books, all of which were on the best seller list. So yeah, we were kinda figuring all of that wouldn't have happened had he not made a deal.
Once we got to town it all came down to actually getting close enough to the guy to save his ass from a hell hound- Which wasn't gonna be easy. Seeing is that he was so ridiculously wealthy he had two scary bodyguards surrounding him. So that nixed actually be able to approach the guy and have a nice little chat.
We needed a plan, an actual plan. And Dean was just as diligent as ever at coming up with one. He was bound and determined to see these trials through, no matter what it took.
Ok so lemme just say that I'm all for the going in guns blazing deal, so whenever Dean would mention that tactic I wasn't one to argue. I trusted my brother, would follow him into hell and back if I had to, but... I gotta admit that this plan could have stood a few more minutes worth of thought. His plan, since the dude was protected by two body guards and a burly building sized SUV driver, was to... Well... Kidnap the guy in question. Which I guess if you look at it in the right way wasn't so bad, considering we were trying to save him from being shredded by a hell hound- But it was gonna be more than risky, and if we weren't extremely careful could end up getting our asses shot.
I went along with the incredibly stupid plan anyway, standing next to the side of the road in a black cocktail dress with the hood of the impala strategically opened to make me look like a damsel in distress. The mans house was in the country, and the road leading to his home wasn't very frequented, so we knew there wouldn't be any witnesses. I waited, and waited some more until finally could see the black SUV rolling up over the hill. Immediately I went right into my act, holding my arms up in the air and waving for them to slow down.
If this guy was an asshole that didn't give a crap about some poor girl stranded then naturally he would just roll on by and we'd be back to square one. Thankfully though, that wasn't the case as the SUV pulled to a slow stop and the back window rolled down.
A middle aged man with thinning gray hair and wire glasses peered out at me with a kind smile.
"Having some trouble?" He asked.
I smiled in return. "I'm sorry, but yes... I was on my way to my friends rehearsal dinner and the car just started sputtering."
I could see sitting beside the man was one of his body guards, who was a large as a frickin red wood. He glared at me suspiciously before his boss nudged him.
"Climb on out and see if you can help the lady." He said. "It wouldn't be very nice to leave her stranded out here."
"Yes, Sir." The tree replied, before climbing out of the backseat and leaning over the hood of the impala.
I tapped my high heeled foot against the blacktop, feeling myself getting restless.
Ok guys, I thought- Anytime now... Anytime...
Really it would have been much simpler if it was more than just the three of us, but when Sam and Dean suddenly burst out of the treeline with their shotguns aiming at the driver of the SUV it was kinda hard not to easily take over. I pulled my pistol from the black hand bag I carried and pointed it at our guy Richard.
"Out of the car!" I barked.
Sam had moved his aim to the bodyguard at the impala before apologizing and hitting him on the back of the head. He hit the ground with a thump, knocked out of course, and despite having a splitting headache later, was relatively unharmed.
"Everything will be fine as long as no one does anything stupid." Dean said, circling around the car and yanking open the drivers side door, grabbing the driver and pulling him out.
The man in question climbed out of the car with his arms raised above his head.
"Please, I have money. If this is about that I can get you however much you want." He begged.
"This ain't about money," Dean went on, gathering the last body guard and the driver and leading them away from the car. "This is about the deal you made ten years ago."
Well if I was doubting whether or not this was the right guy, I couldn't anymore after the expression his face held once Dean uttered that. It was pure panic, and no doubts he figured us to be demons content with collecting his soul.
Sam jumped in the drivers seat of the SUV and pulled it off the road and into the treeline. After the first bodyguard stirred from being thumped in the head, Dean led them over to the trees tied them up and threw them in the back, then moved across and let the air out of all four tires. I merely stood there with my gun held on our guy, and little did he know but none of our weapons were actually loaded.
Within minutes we were in the impala and driving off towards an old empty house we had set up to prepare for the hell hound.
"You're demons?" The man said, shaking from his seat in the impala, still my gun was on him. "If you're here to kill me then why don't you just do it already?"
"We're not going to kill you." Sam replied. "We're here to help you."
"Tell me," Dean said as he took a sharp turn. "Have you been hallucinating at all yet? Seein any freaky shit that scares the crap outa you?"
The man shuddered. "I... Yes, yes I have."
"Have you heard the hounds howling?" I asked now. "Or have you seen them?"
"One... I've heard it but I haven't seen it. My ten years is up tonight at midnight."
"Awesome," Dean sighed. "Not gonna give us much time to plan this out."
He shifted his eyes to each of us still holding his hands in the air. "I don't understand. Why are you here to help me? How could you?"
"We know a little somethin about hell hounds." Dean replied. "So you just do what we say and maybe, just maybe, you'll live through tonight, got it?"
Considering we had guns on him I don't think he wanted to argue. Plus, there's always the thought that maybe we could save him from getting chewed to bits. Really, what choice did he have but to agree with us?
We drove for thirty minutes, making sure we weren't being followed, and in that time we learned that he had made the deal for his family. Not for himself, which I guess is what everyone says. But, he really did seem like a nice guy. He had five kids, had been married to the same woman for twenty five years, and was expecting his first grandchild in three months. Basically, we didn't want to see this man die. Yeah, he made the mistake of making that deal, but that didn't warrant a death sentence.
He eased up slightly once we put our guns away and pulled into the drive of the abandoned house. And, he actually followed us inside willingly, watching in silence as we salted around the windows and lined the doorways with goofer dust. Since we didn't have much time to think things through, the only real plan was to somehow trap the hell hound and Dean would gank it with the demon knife. Of course, actually seeing the hell hound was gonna be tricky, and I had a feeling we weren't gonna make it out of this without a few scrapes and bruises... Or, something even worse.
Really this would have been easier if Cas was with us. But he wasn't responding to any of our calls, or my prayers- So I didn't know what the hell he was doing or where he was. We were on our own for this one, so for the next few hours we paced anxiously while Richard sat in the middle of a salt circle, anxiously tapping his hands on his knees.
"Excuse me, Miss?" He said, and I instantly stopped pacing.
"Yeah? You need something?" I replied.
"No, I... I just want to say thank you." He moved his eyes to the floor. "Even if you can't save me, thank you for at least trying. I know it was stupid of me to make that deal in the first place. And honestly I guess I deserve this, but... Thank you."
"Trust me, no one deserves something like this." I sighed. "And we'll do what we can. Everything will be fine."
I tried to smile, but it came off as forced. Yeah, the chances of him surviving this night wasn't likely, but I wanted to at least try and keep his spirits up. Honestly we were pretty screwed with this one. Sam and Dean didn't have much experience with hell hounds, unless it was getting chased by them. They hadn't killed one to my knowledge, and since we couldn't see the bitches it wasn't gonna be an easy task. I had never dealt with them either, so we were pretty much winging it at this point.
The hours ticked by way too quickly for my liking, and by the time midnight came and there was howls in the distance I felt my blood run cold.
"Just stay in the circle." Dean commanded. "No matter what you hear or see, stay there."
Richard nodded, standing and shaking like a leaf. "I won't move."
Dean stepped over the salt lines to the front door where the goofer dust was laid. He kicked a line through it and then stepped back over the salt, leaving us barricaded in what used to be the living room. We figured if we could limit the hounds movements, then it wouldn't be so hard to catch it off guard. Of course we were stupid to think that, but we did.
All three of us stood around the salt circle in the middle of the floor with our shotguns at the ready as the howling grew nearer. Before long the front door started shaking before bursting open. I don't know what surprised me more, the fact that the hell hound was stomping his way inside, or the fact that I could see it plain as day.
"Uh..." I said, inching backwards. "Do you guys see it?"
"What?" Sam snapped back. "No, do you?"
"Uhuh," I swallowed hard. "It's standing just past the salt line. Holy crap... It's huge."
What I was looking at was like something from my worst nightmares. A dog like creature that was more or less a mutated doberman with glowing red eyes, course black fir that stood up on its back almost like spikes, and was disgusting with muscles. It was practically the size of a frickin horse and was eyeballing me like I was a juicy steak.
"You see it?!" Dean shouted.
I only stood there with my eyes wide as it snorted and clawed at the floor past the salt line. Its breath was slowly but surely scattering the grains of salt, and it wouldn't take long for him to bust inside.
"Y-Yeah," I stuttered.
"Good," Dean replied. "Don't blink even once, you tell me where it's goin."
Oh sure, like that would make this ordeal any easier. But I did as he said and watched as it continued to claw at the floorboards sending splinters of wood into the air. When the line broke he charged inside, but because it was so large had difficulty maintaining its footing.
"He's heading for you!" I yelled, popping off rounds and hitting it in the face.
It yelped with each shot but didn't slow as it dove across the room and knocked Dean into a nearby wall. He smacked with a thud as the demon slaying knife flew from his hand and landed just at Sammy's feet. He came at me now as I continued to shoot and dart out of its way. It lunged and I dove left as it skidded on the floor and into the fireplace. Sam was shooting where he thought it was, missing for the most part but sometimes getting lucky and hitting it. It continued to yelp as blood sprayed, and now came at him.
"Sam, grab the knife!" I shouted just as it flew through the air and tackled him to the ground.
Sam somehow managed to hold it off with one hand, at least enough to grab the knife as it bit at the air and snarled just inches away from his face. With a grunt he jammed the knife into the hounds chest and with a jagged tare ripped it open as a gush of black blood oozed out and smothered him. The thing howled in agony before going limp and collapsing on top of him.
He gagged and sputtered as he struggled underneath the thing and I darted over and helped him roll its corpse off. Once he was free he scrambled to his feet and dry heaved a little before Deans pain filled grunts snapped him out of it.
Still all I could do was stand there and stare at the thing. It was dead, thank god, and its eyes were no longer glowing. Richard had only crouched in the circle with his arms over his head through the entire thing, and only peaked out once the howling stopped.
"Dean," Sam said, lugging him to his feet. "Are you ok?"
"Ugh, peachy-" He groaned. "I think that bitch broke my ribs." He ignored the pain however. "You guys good?"
"Define good?" Sam retorted, staring down at all the black ooze.
Dean eyed him up and down. "This didn't go according to plan, Sammy. What the hell?"
"You were kinda rag dolled across the room, bro." I said. "We had to kill the thing?"
"Excuse me?" Richard said, holding his hand up in the air. "But, what do I do now?"
I think we forgot he was even there as Dean looked at him with his brows arched.
"Well, what we're gonna do is give you a hex bag. It'll keep you hidden from any other hell hound. But, if I were you I'd pick up and move somewhere new, just to be safe." He answered.
An hour later Dean had drove Richard back into town after giving him a hex bag, and seeing is that the guy was so thankful for us saving his life, he gave Dean a wad of cash as thanks. He also made certain to let us know that he had no intention of pressing charges against us for kidnapping him, and assaulting his bodyguard- And just to be safe we should probably not come back into town and just leave all together. Because while he wouldn't want to press charges, that wasn't speaking for his family.
When he came back to the house where Sam and I waited, he didn't look at all happy.
"Well we gotta do this again." He said. "We'll find another hell hound, let me be the one to gank it."
Sam sighed. "No, Dean. We got lucky with this one, we won't get lucky again. Just... Give me the incantation and let me finish it."
"No friggin way. You heard what Kevin said. Doing these trials is gonna weaken you or whatever, we don't know what that means yet."
"I don't care. I can handle it. Look, I know you think I'm not strong enough to handle these trials, but... I am. And I'm just as determined to do it as you are. Just trust me for once in your life, ok? Let me do this. After all of this time and everything you've done for me and Lara... Let me take the responsibility over this one."
Sam looked at me for backup and I let out a reluctant sigh. "He's right, Dean. He can do it. Everything doesn't have to fall on your shoulders just because you're the oldest."
Dean stared at the both of us with an agonizing expression. He didn't want to let Sammy do it, it was completely obvious. Who knows, maybe he had a sixth sense that what was gonna come from this wasn't going to be pretty. But, I think he knew just as much as we did that we would never get this lucky again with another hell hound, and like it or not we were doing this for a greater purpose. We couldn't sit and worry over our own asses, we were going to close the gates of hell and save thousands of lives as a result. Because if there were no more demons, there would be no more deals. No more poor saps being suckered into selling their souls for a few measly dollars or some other insignificant thing. People wouldn't be shredded by hell hounds anymore, demons wouldn't possess innocent people. This stemmed far deeper than just Dean looking out for his little brother. So, with a sigh he reached into his pocket and pulled out the slip of paper with the incantation written on it, and handed it to Sam.
Sam nodded, giving a faint smile in return before setting his eyes on the writing. After a deep breath in and out, he finally started to recite it. Once he was through he suddenly collapsed to his knees and grunted in pain as a streak of glowing white light enveloped his arms. It lasted for a few fleeting, yet agonizing seconds, before he finally huffed out a few deep breaths.
Dean and I both rushed to him and pulled him back to his feet.
"Are you ok?" Dean asked. "What... What was that?"
"I don't know," Sam answered. "But I'm ok now. I'm good."
But was he really? Right at this point it was hard to tell. He seemed ok enough, just as strong as ever- But past that there was a gleam in his eyes that wasn't easily read. And something told me that Dean was never going to forgive himself for letting Sammy take over with this one.