Beta: That Girl Six
Chapter: 1. Revelations
Author's Note: This story is set prior to In Victus.
It had been strongly suggested that Joshua tell the coven his whereabouts. He agreed, but only when it did not interfere with his Brotherhood duties. He had to be in Washington, D.C. for business and informed his mother he was coming by for a visit. He also called Adam, one of his contacts in the coven. Adam requested that he stop by his place in Virginia. He said it was an invitation.
After making statements on his client's behalf he headed to Richmond. Joshua liked his mother's shop — even the scent of it was inviting —it reminded him of home and his mother.
Esme was happy in her element, and Joshua wanted his mother's happiness more than anything else. He had been old enough during his parent's divorce to understand everything. The quick smile that had replaced the fighting and crying since probably had just as much to do with Mackland as the freedom of her business. These days he had to make sure she was at her shop instead of with Mackland in New York City.
He picked up some flowers at Vogue Flowers. He never liked to go empty handed, and she loved flowers.
"I have the perfect vase for these, sent by a collective of women in Africa," Esme explained, escorting him to the back of the shop where there was a small private area for the staff.
She pulled a terracotta vase with a speckled glaze from a box. His mother's shop was built on the idea of helping women all around the world to be able to earn money. It was eclectic, offering her bath and body line, teas made from her own crafting abilities, as well as other goods.
After she finished arranging the flowers, she set about making tea for both of them. It was a ritual for her to make tea, and Joshua enjoyed watching his mother follow her passion. It was soothing to him. It was home.
Once she was seated he told her about the coven. "Adam asked that I meet with him while I was here."
"And are you planning to?" She stirred the tea, the spoon clicking against the china with a chime.
Joshua reached for the cream. "Yes, for right now it is in my best interests, in your best interests."
Esme lifted her tea cup to her mouth. "They have done nothing unseemly. In fact, they have been frequent clients of the shop."
"I am glad they are helping your profit margin, Mother." Joshua took a gulp of the tea, which even with the cream had still been too hot. He was mad at his mother for slipping in with the coven. The entire reason for his making a deal with them had been to keep her out of things, safe. Then again, nothing had turned out the way it was supposed to.
She fidgeted with the oblong Hermes scarf draped around her neck. "Joshua, they started off on the wrong foot and are trying to be inclusive. I thought you would understand that."
He understood all too well after years of trying to get in with The Brotherhood, specifically with The Triad he was supposed to be The Advisor for. "What does Grandmother say? Actually, what about Mackland? It was his son they almost let die." Joshua realized his insolence with his mother. It was rude behavior.
"Your grandmother understands. She even accepted a formal apology." She returned to drinking her tea.
"And she is in Arizona." He hadn't brought the subject up with his grandmother, unsure how she would feel about her family involved in a coven that had disowned her because of her choice in husbands. "Mackland?"
"Is keeping an open mind, which is what should be expected of The Scholar." His mother smiled at him, but Joshua wondered if she smiled because of the thought of Mackland. "I thought you enjoyed your meetings with the other members?"
"I was surprised," he said with honesty. The coven was a think tank discussing the craft. He had shared some information but also had been given some in return. "It's hard to forget we were forced into the situation, and having Adam make a request. . ." In addition, he was in PR and recognized the spin. It started as simple conversation, and then they next thing he would find out he would be fully involved.
"You can always say no." Esme refilled her tea cup; the aroma of mint was freed into the air once more.
Joshua laughed. "You have seen the man? He's a giant." It was an understatement. The man had been involved in the Army, serving in Afghanistan before coming home. He reminded Joshua of John Winchester, and Joshua didn't know if it was just the military background.
"You'll do what's best," his mother added. She always did that, confident he would make the correct decision.
His next stop was Adam's home in West Virginia, set back in a rural area. The GPS hadn't failed him in its guidance. Carolyn had given it to him on his last birthday, saying every hunter should have one.
Adam's house was a deck style home in dark wood. Joshua looked up and saw the solar panels. He was surprised at the environmentally friendly touches because he had made assumptions about Adam's character due to his military service and silence at the coven meetings.
He didn't knock on the glass doors. Adam had seen him and waved him in with a "The door's unlocked."
The interior was sparse with wood floors again and a large stone fireplace punctuating the living room. There was some foreign artwork on the walls and a picture on the mantle of a very young Adam and his wife on their wedding day. He didn't know Adam was married.
"This is an incredible home," Joshua said in a way of greeting his host.
"Thanks, I built it myself." He was shutting the sliding door with a firm tug and came over with his hand outstretched to Joshua. "It's what I fell into after I finished with the service. You would not believe how much money people want to throw at me to make environmentally friendly deck houses. Have a seat." Adam gestured to the leather ottoman set in the living room as he made his way to the kitchen. "Can I get you anything? A beer? I brew my own."
"A beer would be great." Pastor Jim had brewed his own beer. Joshua couldn't recall if he ever tried one. "Is your wife here?" Joshua wanted more information on Adam since his relationship with the coven was uneven — they knew more about him and his family than he knew about them.
"No, she became my ex about three years ago." Adam handed him a beer. He was wearing a blue t-shirt that left the coven brand apparent on his forearm.
"Ohh, sorry." Joshua took a quick drink to cover his mistake.
Adam sat on the large recliner. "Didn't like me being gone so much, but we're still friends."
"Good. That's good." Joshua wished he had asked Carolyn for information on Adam. He hadn't wanted to intermingle The Brotherhood with the coven. For the coven he knew the familial ties, but Adam wasn't a longstanding witch. Suddenly the preaching he'd heard the few times he'd been around John Winchester about never going in without proper intel seemed a lot more prudent.
"Thanks for coming out here." Adam raised his bottle.
"Why did you want to speak to me?" Joshua didn't know if he should treat this as work-related or a social visit.
"I need some help." Adam stood up. "Come on, it's in the other room."
He followed Adam further into the house, but alongside the windows and door that faced out to the wilderness. There had also been a telescope facing the windows, ready to be used outside. They reached the edge of the house and went through the door to another open area. Even without the light on, Joshua could make out the cabinets.
"This is amazing." He used his pantry to store all his herbs. This room was about two hundred square feet. On each wall were two levels of apothecary cabinets at Adam's height. Joshua surmised that Adam had over five hundred herbs stored. On one wall were glass bottles and tinctures displayed neatly. Intermittently, on the walls as almost a deadly decoration were crossbows and smaller blades. There was also a center table filled with pieces of mirror and glass and a telescope casing. "You make telescopes?"
"Yeah, I'll build you one if you want." Adam wasn't paying attention to Joshua. Instead he was leaning his tall frame over a drafting board. "I've been working on this since your incident with the coven."
"I'm glad my predicament was inspiring." Joshua's anger was stirred. He didn't like to be forced into situations, which was his father's pattern. If he wanted Harland to acknowledge him he had to follow his father's orders.
"Sorry. I think what Nadine did was a bad thing, but you can't deny that you belong with us." Adam shrugged. "You have a talent that you are wasting."
Joshua crossed his arms. "I don't think being a member of The Brotherhood is a waste of time, and I belong with them too — my grandfather was The Knight."
Adam laughed at the connection, at least not throwing back that Jocelyn was involved in the craft, as was his mother. His grandmother had never denied her abilities when she could have ignored them. "That's your opinion, but how about coming up with something that breaks down a poison into its components?" Adam tapped on the drafting board.
That drew Joshua's curiosity. The Brotherhood didn't trust witches, and hence did not trust his abilities. It was too close to what they hunted. However, it was from his maternal side where he was more connected to The Brotherhood, and to the coven, to all the good. Joshua began reading the list of herbs and combination of spells, reviewing it again when he recognized some of the patterns. "So you don't have to have personal knowledge about the witch in question."
"Exactly. This is why I need your help," Adam said excitedly. He went to pull down some herbs. "We need something like this with Ruby on the loose."
"Ruby?" Joshua didn't look up; he had a pencil in hand as he started to make some notes on the spell.
There was silence from Adam, enough that Joshua stopped what he was doing and looked up. Adam was leaning against the cabinet. "You don't know, do you? You are supposed to The Advisor to the next Triad?" He pushed off the cabinet, walked towards the drafting table, not waiting for an answer. "Ruby is a demon witch who has been seen with Sam and Dean Winchester."
"I don't understand." How was there a connection with the Winchesters?
"Neither do I." Adam rubbed his hands together. "This Ruby is an original witch from the 1640s in Connecticut. Sold her soul in exchange for power, and you know what that entails. When she died — from a public hanging — she went to Hell."
"And now she's walking the earth as a demon."
Adam nodded. "The first mention of her is in the 1800s when she tried to rally the covens' conversions. When that was unsuccessful she disappeared again. There have been reports on and off, but this is the first time she has been steadily attached to anyone."
"Sam and Dean Winchester." Joshua had asked them not to contact him. He needed space and hoped it didn't lead to them finding trouble. He should have known better. "She must have done something to them. How can she be stopped?" His cell phone was in his messenger bag, and he was walking out to get it until Adam blocked his way with an arm.
"There's more." Adam kept his arm out. "They are not under a manipulation of a spell because of what we know about Dean Winchester."
Joshua took a step back to go around Adam. "He's the next Guardian. Of course a demon witch would want to manipulate him and the next Scholar."
This time Adam blocked the door out of the room and raised his voice. "Dean Winchester made a deal: his soul for his brother's life. We think they turned to Ruby for help."
Joshua involuntarily raised a hand to his neck, feeling as though he was being strangled. It sounded exactly like Dean Winchester to sacrifice his life for his brother, and it sounded like Sam to get help from any source to help Dean. They had turned to a demon, but not to him.
"Sorry I had to be the one to tell you," Adam said, then turned, got a glass, filled it with water, and added a pinch of something from his shelf. "Here, drink this."
Joshua was going to question what Adam was giving him, but he craved the cool liquid as his mouth had suddenly gone dry.
Adam waited for him to drink, then accepted the glass. "Why are you so loyal to The Brotherhood?" he asked as he washed the glass.
"Why are you loyal to the coven?" Joshua retorted. They were both secretive organizations with their own cliques. Neither had done him any favors recently.
"I grew up in the coven. They helped my mom and me out. They've been good to us," Adam said as he dried the glass and placed it in a cabinet. "My mom was just a kid when she had me, on welfare, and started dabbling in the craft. It caught the attention of the coven, and they invited us in. My mom finished her education, became a paralegal, and I got to grow up in a full family."
This was all a good distraction for Joshua. His brain was still trying to fathom Dean and Sam Winchester willingly associating with a demon witch. "Then they allowed you to join the army?"
Adam shrugged his shoulders. "Yes, it was for the best at the time. We are allowed choices."
Joshua started laughing. He didn't mean to, but he couldn't remember the last time he had been given a choice. He was always reacting—like now. Dean, the next Guardian, was going to Hell. The coven had placed Ruby on a hit list. So he would react; he would pretend he did not know about Dean's predicament, and he would help the coven. He took a deep breath, feeling better. "What was the herb you used in the water?"
"Something from Afghanistan," Adam said with a smile.
"You gave me opium?" Joshua began coughing to try to rid himself of the opiate.
Adam began laughing. "No, it's like kava kava, but works faster." He pulled open a drawer. "I collected some herbs while I was there that have similar properties to some known herbs we have locally but work faster or are time released."
Joshua was intrigued. "Think they can be used as a universal antidote?"
"That's a possibility." Adam pulled out the tray, bringing them to the drafting board.
He thought he was an Advisor, but it was a trivial role to Sam, Dean, and Caleb. Here was someone, a group that didn't take him for granted. He rolled up his sleeves.
Author's Note #2: My beta has informed me that Adam may not have been allowed to take with him herbs from his overseas posting. However, for this story I am making the leap
Uploaded by: Etta
Onto "In Victus"
Onto the next chapter (set after "in Victus")