"Jeez, you kiss your mother with that mouth? Oh, I forgot. You don’t."
She grinned at him looking up from under her lashes. He leaned back slapping her across the face. Her head snapped back and Meg licked the thin trickle of blood running down her lip.
"That’s kind of a turn on, you hitting a girl."
Dean frowned cocking his head.
"You’re no girl"
Bobby motioned him away from the chair.
Sam patted his brother's arm.
"Dean, you’ve got to be careful with her. Don’t hurt her," Bobby said slowly.
"Because she really is a girl, didn’t you know that? That's a human being possessed by a demon."
Dean sighed casting a glance back at her over his shoulder.
"Actually that's good news. We can use that. Hit it Sammy."
Sam lifted the book of prayers and began intoning the ritual of exorcism in Latin. The words flowed smoothly from years of practice. Suddenly Meg moaned in pain, and Sam hesitated.
"You've got to be kidding me," she whispered, "An exorcism? Are you serious?"
"Oh, we’re goin’ for it, baby; head-spinning, projectile vomiting, the whole nine yards."
Sam continued reading, and Meg suddenly grimaced and moaned in pain. Sam stopped reading again looking at the woman over the book. Meg jerked against the ropes.
"I’m gonna kill you. I’m gonna rip the bones from your body."
Dean pushed the gun against the side of her face again, turning her head toward him.
"No, you’re gonna burn in hell, unless you tell us where our Dad is. Well, at least you’ll get a nice tan."
He looked up at Sam nodding.
Sam picked up the book again. “Exorcizamus te, omnis immundus spiritus , omnis satanica potestas, omnis incursio infernalis adversarii, omnis legio, omnis congregatio, et secta diabolica.”
Meg clenched her teeth writhing in pain.
"He begged for his life with tears in his eyes, begged for the baby inside him. Begged to see his sons one more time. That's when I cut his throat and left him for the vampires."
Dean grunted twisting his hand in her hair, pulling her face around.
"For your sake, I hope you’re lying. ‘Cause if it’s true, I swear to God, I will march into hell myself, and I will slaughter each and every one of you evil sons of bitches, so help me God."
He backed away from her motioning Sam to continue reading.
Sam turned back to the book.
“Perditionis venenum propinare. Vade, satana, inventor et magister omnis fallaciae, hostis humanae salutis.”
Suddenly, a cool wind blew through the barn, lifting Sam’s hair. Sam hesitated for a moment then continued reading.
“Humiliare sub potenti manu dei, contremisce et effuge, invocato a nobis sancto et terribili nomine, quem inferi tremunt.”
Meg screamed again, shaking uncontrollably.
"Where is he?"
"You just won’t take “dead” for an answer, will you?
"Where is he?" Dean screamed in her face.
Dean shook his head.
"No, he’s not! He’s not dead, he can’t be!" He turned to Sam. "What are you lookin’ at? Keep reading."
Sam ducked his head back to the book.
“Ab insidiis diaboli, libera nos, domine. Ut ecclesiam tuam secura tibi facias libertate servire, te rogamus, audi nos.”
Meg screamed loudly, her chair moving around the room as Sam continued to chant the prayer. The candles in the room flickered as she screamed one final time. Her chair stopped rocking and Meg gasped.
"He will be!"
Dean motioned for his brother to stop for a moment.
"He’s not dead. But he will be after what the vampires do to him."
Suddenly Meg screamed as her head tipped back. A thick oily black cloud erupted from her mouth. Her body seemed to fold in on itself and Meg collapsed back against the chair blood running from her mouth. Dean reached out quickly untying her hands and caught her as she fell to the floor.
"She's still alive, Bobby," Dean said. "Call 911 on your cell phone."
Meg groaned as he laid her gently on the ground.
"It's been a year…"
Dean leaned down.
"What was that?"
"I've been like that for a year, oh my god, the things that I did."
Her face twisted in pain. Dean took a bottle of water that Bobby retrieved from the car. He bent down holding her head as she took a sip.
"Was she telling the truth about our Dad?"
"Yeah, the others have him…the vampires I guess. They're waiting until she calls then, they'll kill him."
"Where are they?"
"A house, but not one that someone lives in. It was empty and most of the other lots were not built on. I don't remember where."
"We passed a sign for a new development on the highway. I know where it is."
Meg groaned coughing, and blood leaked out of her mouth, Shuddering she clasped Dean hand, then lay still. He looked down at the vacant eyes flinching.
"What are we going to do Bobby?"
Bobby glanced down at the dead woman at their feet. She was beyond their care now, but John wasn't. He hated to do it, but finally Bobby motioned for Dean to help him wrap the young woman's body in a blanket.
"We'll take her to the Roadhouse; leave her with Ellen and Jim to look over. Then go on down to that housing development. When we have John back we'll lay the girl to rest proper."
John was lying on the sofa. He hadn't moved since the male vampires had attacked him earlier. He strained trying to listen for any sounds that they might make, but they were silent watching the door as if they were waiting for Kate and Meg to return. John knew his chances of getting out of this alive were remote and growing slimmer all the time. He closed his eyes, grieving for the life inside him.
The sound of a car pulling into the driveway caught his attention at the same time as the two male vampires. John struggled to rise, as the black vampire rose quietly moving to the window. He lifted the curtains and smiled as the Dodge Kate had been driving pulled up in front of the house. With a grin he came to the sofa lacing his fingers through John's hair and pulling his head back.
"Looks like its supper time."
The other vampire frowned waving him back.
"Wait until Kate gets here. She'll be angry if we kill him and they haven't got the gun."
Both male vampires stepped away from John as the doorknob turned on the front door. The fair skinned vampire smiled.
"Did you get the gun?"
Suddenly the door swung inward, caromed off the wall and shattered the plaster. Dean stormed in Colt raised.
The shot took the white male vampire in the forehead he staggered back, collapsing in on himself and shattered into dust. The other vampire whirled making a run for John on the sofa, but Bobby smashed the window in raising a crossbow. The bolt swished through the air catching the vampire in the chest. He hissed jerking the bolt free as a gunshot rang out, and he bent down staring at the gaping hole in his chest. His face twisted into a sneer as he managed to staggered a few steps forward then drop heavily on the ground.
Sam hustled around his brother raising a machete. The blade fell quickly, neatly severing the vampire's head from his body, and Sam sighed. Bobby was in the door and around Dean before he or Sam could even think about freeing John. The two younger men hung back as Bobby quickly ran to the sofa. John's closed his eyes.
"I didn't think that you'd come."
"How you doing, Dad?"
"Could be better, son. Cut me loose."
Sam offered Bobby the book of prayers and a flask of holy water. John frowned.
"What are you doing? Bobby, cut me loose."
"In a bit, baby. We've got to do something first."
Bobby opened the flask splashing Holy Water on John. He spluttered and frowned. Sam shrugged as Bobby glanced back over his shoulder at the younger man.
"This in your vision?"
"It's different, but remember he said that Holy Water wouldn’t work on him. We need to be sure."
Bobby picked up the book and began reading the same ritual they had just used on Meg. John cringed trembling.
"What are you doing, Bobby? I'm tired and I really want to go back to the Roadhouse."
Bobby didn't pause in reading, but as he reached the mid-point of the ritual with no visible effect on John he began to relax. Dean watched his father's face, and frowned as John seemed to shrink away from his lover.
"Keep going, Bobby."
"Dean," John whispered, "Why are you all against me. Please let me free."
Bobby's voice rose on the final intonations of the prayer and Sam wiped his hand over his face. Suddenly John moaned, tipping his head back he vomited up the black oily cloud of the demon possessing him. Dean jumped away from the thing, bringing the gun up. He took one shot, the bullet ripping into the cloud, but it seemed to have no effect. The demon fled the room through the shattered window and into the night.
John sagged against the back of the sofa. Bobby dropped the book. Fishing a pocket knife out of his jeans he gently pushed John forward and cut the duct tape on his hands. John fell into the older man's arms and Bobby pulled him tight, holding John against his chest as he kissed the other man's face and neck. John finally pushed away.
"How'd you know? I was terrified that you wouldn't figure it out, that the bastard would get to you before you could."
Dean dropped onto the sofa behind John stoking his father's back.
"Sammy had a vision. About you being possessed. He said it ended badly, but damn it I think we dodged a bullet on that one."
Bobby nodded pulling John to his feet; he slipped one arm around the younger man's waist.
"Let's get John back to the Roadhouse. I intend to deal with Ellen Harvelle on account of this."
"Bobby, don't. Please I just want to get out of here."
The bar was quiet when the four men got back to the Roadhouse. The hunters who had gathered for the memorial service for Marti Chavez had long since gone. Jim Murphy was sitting at the bar. Bobby crossed the room and deposited John in a chair. He turned to Jim.
"Did you get anything out of Ellen? Did she let these things kill Marti just to get us here?"
"I've tried talking to her. She won't say anything. How's John."
"A little off. I'm going to take him back to the hotel, the boys too. I still want you to do that ceremony for us, if you're up to it. Maybe tomorrow."
"I'll stay as long as you need me." Jim replied.
Bobby clapped the other man on the shoulder and helped John to his feet.
John sat huddled on the bed in the cheap motel room he shared with Bobby. Sam and Dean stood in the doorway watching their father shiver. Bobby waved them out, following them before saying,
"I'm going talk to you daddy. He's pretty shaken up about something and I don't think it was just the demon."
"Something happened to him when he was alone with the vampires?" Dean asked. Bobby nodded.
"Yeah and I think I know what it was. He's gonna beat himself up over it too if I don't stop it right now. "
The older man smiled at the boys.
"I got Doc Curtis to fix me up with a little valium. I'm going to dope him up a little and get him to sleep. We'll meet you boys in the morning."
"Then we deal with Ellen."
"John don't need to deal with that right now. So just keep it to yourself. She's made her bed; you think that any hunter will ever trust her again? What ever deal she made she's just gonna have to live with it."
Closing the door behind him Bobby went into the bathroom and came back with a glass of water. He shook one of the tablets out of the bottle and settled on the bed beside John. Without a word John took the pill and the water, and that made Bobby feel bad. If John was that far gone it was pretty bad. Finally, John leaned back on the stack of pillows.
"Bobby, while I was at the house, the two male vampires. They fed on me, but they one he…"
"John they raped you. It wasn't your fault."
"You don't understand….I…"
"That doesn’t matter. Did you ask for it, hell, could you even stop it from happening? No, whatever happened it wasn't your choice."
John sighed letting his eyes close. Bobby laid down beside him pulling John into his arms.
"There is something I want to ask you. I…uhm… talked to Jim Murphy about a ceremony."
John took a deep breath. He hadn't been counting on this at all. He had thought that Kate had been lying or at least bending the truth. In all the years since Mary had died John had kept a part of himself back, separate from even his sons. He wasn't sure that he could give that to Bobby. But lying safe in the shelter of the older man's arms he wondered if it wasn't time, it couldn't hurt Mary. John would always love her, see her smile in Dean and her genuine wonder at the gift of life in Sammy. But he also wondered what he would see of Bobby in the child he was carrying. The boys certainly wouldn't begrudge John a little bit of happiness after so long.
Bobby had fallen silent hurt by John's lack of response. He lay back staring down at the other man until John's expression cleared, a sort of dawning realization that was plainly written on his face. And then John smiled.
"Yes," he whispered.
Jim Murphy closed the door to the bedroom he was staying in at the Roadhouse. It was a small backroom, removed from the rest of the family quarters that Ellen had shared with her daughter. He sat down at the small table head bowed over the Bible open in front of him. He was been counseling Ellen trying to understand just what had made her betray John, all of them, in the way she had. Jim was afraid.
As the night deepened he grew too tired to read any longer. Something prickled along his spine, a deep sense of dread settling on him. Jim knew, without real proof, that Ellen had made some kind of a deal with the demon in exchange for giving up John Winchester. He had asked her about it again and again but she had denied it. He was certain that she was going to pay the price for her choice. The feeling of dread was so intense that Jim rose from his seat, pacing between the table and the door.
Carefully he pulled a canister of salt out of his suitcase and poured a line across the door jamb. He supposed that he should stand watch over Ellen but he was confused and resentful. Whatever was going to happen he was in no position to stop it. Jim knelt down beside the bed and closed his eyes in prayer. It was all the help he could offer her now.
Ellen sat on the bed in her room staring at the window. The light had faded completely and only the pale amber of the few lamps in the parking lot provided any illumination. She kept the lights in the room off, feeling that it was more appropriate.
The bar was empty, all the hunters gathered for the memorial service had gone, only Jim Murphy remained and she couldn't face him. He had tried talking to her but Ellen had made her choice, there was no going back. Chest jerking in a silent sob Ellen crossed the room and opened the door.
She must have fallen asleep, but Ellen came awake with a start. He neck ached from being bent at an angle and she sat up straight against the headboard of the bed. Something had disturbed her sleep. Cocking her head she listened. Somewhere in the bar a floorboard creaked. Ellen stiffened holding her breath, listening. The room was silent, nothing stirred.
She was almost sure that she had been mistaken, when the soft sound of footfalls pattered in the hallway. The door to the room was open so the sounds didn't pause. Ellen turned away from the doorway, gazing out at the parking lot.
The footsteps were more certain now, the rising and falling cadence shuffling, painfully slow but steady. The hushed silence of the room was broken by the stiff movements of someone behind her. Ellen bowed her head, and the movements stalled to a halt beside her.
"Joann," she whispered.
And then Ellen realized what was wrong. The deep silence of the room was unbroken by breathing. No soft exhalation painted the back of her neck, as hands settled on Ellen's shoulders. Hands that were cold.