“You can bend it and twist it…You can misuse and abuse it…But even God cannot change the Truth.”-Michael Levy
The hushed voice entered Dean’s subconscious. He shifted towards the other bed, his body trained to respond to the distress usually coming from his little brother. Even in that hazy place between wakefulness and sleep, he sensed something was wrong and forced himself to complete awareness. Only it wasn’t Sam’s turmoil he was latching on to.
“What the fuck, Bobby?” Caleb Reaves growled into the phone, trying to keep his voice low. “It’s three o’clock in the morning.”
Dean blinked, rubbing at his eyes. It took a moment, but he freed his mind from the sleep and beer-induced sluggishness and remembered he had only fallen asleep a few hours ago.
Caleb had found him and Sam in a small roadside motel in Smyrna, and after a rather heated discussion about the job for Deacon the three of them had finished off two pizzas and enough alcohol to put all three hunters in a blissful stupor.
After nine innings of the Sox game, Caleb and Sam had waged their own battle of ‘rock, paper, scissors’. The prize was one of the double beds in the room. Dean ingeniously used his injuries to keep him off the questionable roll-a-way they had found in the closet. It was amusing to watch the two psychic’s try to mentally out-maneuver each other, but in the end Reaves was victorious.
Dean glanced towards the corner of the room, where Sam still slept soundly on the ancient contraption the motel passed off as a cot, but the urgency in Caleb’s voice quickly reclaimed his attention.
“What? What are you talking about? That’s not…But why?”
The older Winchester sibling pushed himself to a seated position. Caleb’s back was to him. Reaves sat on the edge of the other bed, his elbows resting on this knees.
“God, Bobby. Are you sure?”
Dean’s heart rate picked up as he registered the foreign quality to his friend’s voice. His mind raced, trying to match the tone to some past event that would give him a clue as to what was going on. Whatever it was, Dean was sure of one thing. It wasn’t good.
“Okay, man. I’ll be there.”
Caleb shut the phone and rested his head in his hands.
Reaves turned at the sound of Dean’s voice. Even in the faint light from the window beyond them the younger hunter could tell the color had drained from Caleb’s face.
Mackland instantly crossed Dean’s mind. He had never seen Caleb look quite so rattled and Dean wondered if something had happened to the doctor. His chest tightened, his mouth went dry as he waited.
Caleb ran a hand over his mouth. He swallowed hard as if he was having a hard time voicing the words.
Dean thought for a minute Reaves might be sick. It hadn’t been too long ago when he was in the hospital. He tossed the blankets aside, throwing his legs over the side of the mattress. “Hey. What’s going on? Talk to me, man.”
Caleb held his gaze. “It’s Moose. That bitch killed him.”
“What?” Dean frowned. “Who?”
Caleb took a breath, shook his head as if he were still trying to wrap his mind around it-test if he were actually awake. “Meg-the demon.”
“I don’t understand.” Dean moved off his bed, shifted to the other one. He continued to watch Caleb. It didn’t make sense. Oliver Havers, aka Moose, had been Caleb’s roommate at Auburn. The man worked for Reaves at TriCorp but knew nothing about the hunting world his boss inhabited. Caleb did not mix his two lives. “What the hell has Moose got to do with anything?”
“Bobby got a call from a contact of his on the force…there was sulfur. Just like with Jim.” Caleb faltered, shoving a hand through his dark hair. “She slit their throats-let them bleed out.” He met Dean’s gaze again. “She killed his kids, Deuce.”
“Damn.” Dean sighed. He wasn’t clear on all the details. But he was definitely getting a clear picture of what was going down. “What the hell?”
Caleb stood, glanced around the room, looking a little unsure of what to do. “I’ve got to go meet Bobby.”
Dean frowned, remembering the way his father had looked after that fateful call from Caleb nearly a year ago telling them about Pastor Jim’s fate. He stood also. “Where?”
The older hunter grabbed his shirt from the chair by the bed and pulled it over his head. “Louisiana. Moose headed up the TriCorp operation we started there after Katrina.” Caleb looked at the digital clock. “I need to call the new CEO. Shit this is a fucking mess.”
“What’s going on?” Sam’s sleepy voice and a high-pitched screeching from the roll-away bed had both men looking towards the side of the room. “What’s wrong?”
“Get up, Sammy. We’ve got to go,” Dean said, moving to get his bag.
“No!” Caleb shook his head when Dean looked at him. “Go back to sleep, Sam.”
“We’re going with you.”
“Like hell you are.”
Sam groaned. “Are you two still arguing about Green River?”
“Get your ass up, Sam!” Dean snapped, stepping towards the nightstand, which held a small lamp. He turned the light on, flooding the room with a yellow glow. “We’re going to the Big Easy.”
“No you’re not!” Caleb maneuvered around the bottom of the bed, pointing a finger at Dean. “You’re staying here.”
More squeaking heralded Sam’s appearance. He yawned widely and rubbed at his eyes, before glancing from Reaves to his brother. “Dean?”
“Your demonic girlfriend’s back on the radar.”
“Meg?” Sam straightened quickly, instantly alert. “How…Where?”
“She killed Moose.”
Sam looked at Caleb. “Your old roommate, Moose? But why?”
“Why do demons do anything they do?” Reaves answered, but didn’t take his gaze from Dean. “She’s after something. Or someone.”
“It smells like a trap to me,” Dean pointed out, not breaking the stare.
“Exactly the reason why you and Sam aren’t coming.”
“You need us to watch your back.”
“I can handle it myself.”
Dean growled deep in his throat. “Now who’s being reckless?”
“Damn it, Dean. This is me doing what I have to do. I’m doing my job. I’m not trying to be a fucking hero.”
Dean took a step closer to Reaves. “Then let us come with you. We’ll track that bitch down and send her back to hell before she has a chance to hurt anyone else.”
“Forget it!” Reaves shook his head. “I don’t want you anywhere around that fucking demon!”
“Too bad.” Dean went back to gathering his things. “We’re going.”
“Goddamnit, Deuce!” Caleb slung the bag he was holding onto the bed and grabbed Dean’s arm, spinning him around to face him once more. “You will listen to me this time. I’m pulling rank.”
“I’m not a sixteen-year-old kid anymore, Caleb!” Dean jerked away from the older hunter. “Dad’s not looking over your shoulder to make sure you do your job.”
“No, but every other hunter is!” Caleb snapped, pushing Dean against the wall. “I’m not going to go down like John. He made me promise. No Guardian is dying on my watch. You fucking understand me?”
“What the hell does that have to do with me?” Dean raged.
Caleb let his hands slide from Dean’s shirt and he sighed heavily. “Don’t play dumb, Deuce. You know what I mean. I don’t know what went on exactly, but you have known since last month at the farm. Probably before then.”
Dean held his gaze, unwilling to deny or confirm what the older hunter was saying. “You should have told me.”
“I did.” Caleb shook his head. “In a hundred different ways.”
Dean frowned. “Except the easiest one.”
“We’ve never done easy.”
“Would one of you please tell me what the hell is going on!” Sam snapped.
Caleb looked at him and deadpanned. “Search your feelings, Luke.”
The younger Winchester’s mouth set in a grim line. “That’s not an answer.”
Caleb looked at Dean. “You fill the runt in while I‘m gone. I have a feeling we all need to be on the same page.”
“But…” Dean stepped forward as Reaves turned to get his boots from the end of the bed. “What about you?” Who watched out for The Knight?
Caleb sat down on the bed. “I’m going to meet Bobby…see if we can stop this thing before anymore innocent people die.”
“They’re drawing you out.” Dean said, stubbornly. “Just like Dad. They’re trying to shake you.”
Caleb pulled on his shoes, and then stood. He looked at Dean. “It’s working.”
“Dean’s right, Caleb. This is probably a trap.”
“I know, Sammy. But if I don’t go…If I don’t look like I’m taking the bait, Meg will just keep dangling more worms. I can’t risk that.” He couldn’t risk them.
“Let us come.”
“Deuce, you think I like leaving you two here? You think I don‘t remember what happened to Sammy last time somebody took me out of the game?” Caleb held his hands out in a helpless gesture. “Give me another option. Tell me what you want, Kid.”
The older Winchester blinked. “I want this all to be over. I wish we could just stop everything.”
Dean looked so vulnerable in that moment that Caleb nearly fell back to old hat and caved. He thought of the time on his fourteenth birthday when he had given the wide-eyed six-year-old his wish, and he ached for the real world to be that simple again. But the dark reality of it all had his gut clenching. He had to look away. He couldn’t give Dean what he wanted. “I have a feeling this is just starting, Deuce. There‘s nothing any of us can do to stop it now.” The gates had flung open, and all hell was about to break loose.
Sam’s quiet voice brought Caleb’s watery gaze to him. He held his hand out and the younger Winchester clasped it. “Always, young Jedi,” he replied with a smile. Instead of letting Sam go, he pulled him into a hug and pounded his back. “Watch out for your big brother.”
Sam returned the embrace. “You know I will.”
Caleb let him go and stepped back. He glanced to Dean. “You want to take another swing at me before I go, tough guy?”
Dean only looked at him in silence.
“Fine.” Reaves started for the door, picking up his duffel on the way. “I’ll call you when I reach New Orleans.”
“Damien?” Dean called.
Caleb opened the door, but stopped at the sound of the younger man’s voice. He turned around. “Yeah?”
Dean crossed the floor in three long strides, coming to stand in front of the other hunter. “I’m sorry about Moose.”
Caleb nodded. “Me too.”
“But if you don’t come back in one piece, I will take your ring.”
Reaves’s mouth twitched. “You’ll have to fight me for it, bitch.”
Dean gestured to the bruise on Caleb’s jaw. “We’ve already seen how that would end, Reava.”
Caleb snorted but held his hand up and the two hunters bumped fists. “Watch your back, Deuce. And Sammy‘s.”
“You too, man.”
Reaves recognized the look. “Don’t worry. I have the chain mail suit and shield handy. I’m not going to run out on you.”
“Make sure you don’t. I‘m not sure I can deal with all of this…”
Caleb reached out and squeezed the back of Dean’s neck, giving him a little shake. “Sure you can. You’re Captain Onehelluva Big Brother. You can do anything.”
Dean rolled his eyes and pushed his hand away. “And you’re Captain Pain in my Ass.”
“Yeah, but that’s what you love about me.”
“Yeah. I guess it is.”
Reaves smile faded and he couldn’t help the feeling of anxiety that washed over him as he cast another look in Sam’s direction. “Watch him. Closely.”
“You know I will.”
Dean closed the door behind his friend, but continued to stare at it.
“He’s going to be fine.”
Dean turned at the sound of his brother’s voice. “I hope so, man.”
Sam looked at him. “So, you want to talk about it?”
The older Winchester laughed, but the usual warmth was missing. “Hell no. You?”
Sam shrugged. “Nope, ignorance is bliss in my book. Until Mac comes out and tells me…”
Dean nodded. “Exactly.”
Published by Indus