Of Saints and Martyrs

By: Ridley

“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” -Shakespeare

Ellen shoved her hip against the back door of the roadhouse, her arms full of recyclable bottles. The cold night air whipped her hair across her face, but she knew the well traveled route to the garbage bins. She had barely stepped two feet away, the door clicking ominously behind her, when something quick and black darted between her legs.

She stumbled, dropping the crate in her hands. The bottles crashed around her, clanging loudly against one another, a few shattering on impact. “Goddamnit,” she hissed, sliding her hands through her hair, cursing the stray that had startled her.

“I thought ladies didn’t say such things.” A deep growl resounded from the shadows and for the second time her heart performed an aerobatic routine, as adrenaline prepared her to stand her ground or flee, like Moses the four-pawed mouse hunter. “Who’s out here?”

A figure materialized from against the building, stepping into the faint glow pouring out through the slit of glass in the exit way. “But now you aren’t exactly the prim and proper type. Are you, Ellie?”

Ellen shook her head, propping her hands on her hips. “Well, well, look what the cat dragged in. I was wondering when you would show up.”

The man was tall, at least a couple of inches past six foot, and if she had not recognized the honey and whiskey voice, the rugged face and shit-eating smirk would have jogged her memory quick enough. Caleb Reaves was not the sort of man you forgot-especially if you were a woman with a pulse. “Is that you’re way of saying you’re glad to see me?”

He stepped so close, she caught the scent of him-like the autumn woods and worn leather. “Your kind isn’t welcome here. You know that.”

“My kind,” one of his eyebrows raised, and he looked more amused than insulted. Nor was her intended slur a deterrent from encroaching on her personal space. “You can’t be talking about hunters. Because I spotted at least ten when I scoped this place out. And if you’re referring to the Brotherhood-two of our card-carrying members were just here this morning.”

“You know what I’m talking about,” she bit out, hating like hell that she couldn’t control the involuntary shiver that raced through her.

Reaves grinned then, revealing the God-given seduction device that his predatory smile could be. Of course, that damn dimple had to be the work of the Devil. “Have you placed a ban on freaky psychics or anything demon-related in general?”

“Take your pick.” Ellen didn’t even realize she had been backing up until her back brushed against the rough wooden wall of the roadhouse. She braced her hands behind her, when he still loomed over her. “You best crawl back under the rock you came from. Or better yet, head on back to The Boondocks.”

Caleb was close enough that she could make out the slight five-o’clock shadow on his face, and it was easy to read the glint of anger in his green and gold flecked irises. “I’m not going anywhere until you and I get a few things clear.”

“If this about the boys…”

“What boys?”

Ellen rolled her eyes, crossed her arms over her chest in a self-protective stance. “As you’ve already pointed out, they’ve gone. I don’t expect them back anytime soon.”

His teeth flashed again. “Yeah. I wouldn’t order any new curtains for that back room anytime soon.”

“What gives you the right to dictate to them…”

“What gives me the right?” Reaves cut her off, slamming his hand into one of the planks by the side of her head. “What the hell gives you the right, lady?”

The bar maid jumped despite herself, feeling a renewed surge of fear and anger. “I was helping them.”

“Helping them?” Caleb moved his hand, favoring her with a look of incredulity. “By exposing them to the type of trash that hangs out at your place? Or by trying to tarnish the memory of their father?”

Ellen’s face twisted into a scowl. “I only told Jo the truth. She needed to know exactly what the Winchesters are made of.”

“The truth as you paint it.” Reaves was smiling again, but it didn’t reach his eyes, didn’t hint at any of the charm that Ellen was damn sure he was capable of. “And you have no idea what the Winchesters are like.”

“There was a time I knew John Winchester well.”

“Before you turned on him-stabbed him in the back.”

“Excuse me?” She snapped. “You don’t know anything about me, boy.”

“So you can make assumptions about me, but I can’t return the favor.” He shook his head. “And I know more than you think.” Reaves tapped his head, arched a brow. “It just takes a thought…and I can read you’re memories like a book.”

“You bastard!” Ellen slammed her fists into the steel-like chest and the psychic laughed, but he did take a small step back.

“John tried to help you after your husband got himself killed. He sent you money to feed you and your brat, even when he didn’t have enough for his own family. You took it, too. But you sure as hell never thanked him.”

“Thanked him?” Ellen spat. “He got my husband killed-my child grew up without a father because of John Winchester. He’s not the all-mighty saint that you make him out to be.”

“And your husband isn’t the martyr that you like to cling to.” Caleb’s cockiness had vanished, leaving only a darkness in its wake. His handsome face suddenly seemed a lot more frightening than it did beautiful. Like a Picasso, disturbing and sensual. “How dare you try to make John Winchester look like the villain in your little princess’s warped fairy-tale.”

“You weren’t there!” The bar owner shouted.

Caleb tightened his hands into fists, to keep them from around her throat. He promised himself he would be calm, play it cool. But grief and fear were never his strong suits. It was getting harder to keep it all together. He’d either have to kill something soon, or go fucking insane. “Neither were you, bitch.”

“John told me what happened,” Ellen whined, her eyes shining with unshed tears.

If she cried, the psychic was afraid he might not be responsible for his actions. “He told you what you wanted to hear.” Reaves couldn’t stop himself from shoving her back against the wall. “Did you think that maybe he wanted to protect you from the truth?” It sounded just like something John would do, much more so than making a fatal mistake that cost another his life. Winchester would have sacrificed himself first. Damn him.

“Why the hell would he do that?”

“For the same reason he kept sending you money. For the same misguided sense of honor that had him do this.” Reaves reached into his pocket, pulling out a thick manila envelope. He thrust it towards the woman. “It’s more than you deserve. But it was his to do with how he saw fit.”

The barmaid reluctantly took the package, opening it with cold, numb fingers. Her breath caught in her throat when she saw the neat stacks of bound bills. “What is this?” She glanced back up at him, and Caleb raked a hand across his mouth, as if the whole scene was putting a bad taste in his mouth.

“A payoff on his investment.” In more ways than one.

John owned more stock in Tri-Corp than Reaves had remembered. He’d outlined specific instructions for it, via Reaves’ lawyer, incase the unthinkable happened. Caleb had spent an extra day in Los Angeles to make sure most of the profits were worked into an investment portfolio that would allow Sam and Dean to do anything their hearts desired after the war was over-if it was ever over. But despite his own feelings, he wouldn’t deny John anything. And if that included bankrolling the enemy-so be it.

“I don’t want his blood money.” Ellen suddenly said, but she didn’t offer the envelope back to Reaves.

“Then throw it way.” Caleb glared at her. “Burn it. Line Ash’s cage with it. I don’t give a fuck either way.”

“Why are you doing this? You could have handled this through a lawyer. Isn’t that the Ames way?”

That dark look was back, and Ellen held her breath, hoping she hadn’t pushed her luck too far. “I’m as much Winchester as Ames.” It was true, and saying it out loud gave him a sudden rush of liberation.

Ellen regarded him for a moment, before her lip quirked. “That’s probably true.” She looked back down at the money, sighing. The bar owner then raised her brown gaze to eye the psychic. “Even more reason for you to get the hell off of my property.”

“Gladly, lady.” Caleb favored her with the familiar smirk. “But don’t make me come back.”

The barmaid was getting more of her typical confidence back, enough to get her ire up. “What the hell does that mean?”

“That means no one better hear anymore sad tales about your poor husband’s fate. John Winchester was the finest hunter I knew. The sonsofbitches may have taken his life, but nobody‘s taking that away from him.”

“I can’t keep people from talking.”

The statement sounded loaded to Caleb’s ears and when his sensitive mind caught a flash of her implication, he grabbed her before he thought. “No one, and I mean no fucking body better learn about Sam’s abilities. Whatever you have against John, whatever sense of revenge you have against everything evil, he has nothing to do with it.”

“He’s innocent?” Ellen spat, despite her better judgment, despite the staccato pounding of her heart against her sternum. “Are you sure?”

Reaves tightened his grip on her, shaking her once. “Don’t threaten him. You won’t believe what will happen? Do you understand me?” He pulled her close, knowing her toes were nearly off the ground. “Blood is blood. Unlike your trashy establishment, I don’t discriminate. Man…woman…girl…” he let his words trail off, sending a mental image of exactly what his retribution might entail. “I’ll do whatever it takes to protect mine.”

Ellen rubbed her shoulders as the psychic roughly released her. “No one’s going to hear it from me.”

Caleb took a step back, nodding. “See that they don’t.” He caught her arm once more as she turned to go. “And keep your daughter away from Dean.”

When her fiery eyes met his, he only grinned, shrugged. “She’s not good enough for a Winchester.”

Ellen jerked away and stormed back into the roadhouse. Reaves watched her go, calculated how long it would take for her to gather together some of the other hunters. He was tempted to stick around and take some of his frustration out busting heads. But there was that job for Boone…and it was fucking cold outside.

So, he started for the truck, rolling his eyes when a glowing gold gaze greeted him from the hood. He leaned up against the grill, reaching out to stroke the big, black cat stretched leisurely before him. “If there is so much as one paw print on John’s baby, Sylvester…”

Despite his gruffness, the psychic let his fingers continue through the silky, ebony fur. The soft purring soothed some of his pent-up hostility as he pulled out his cell with his free hand, and punched the speed dial number two.


Reaves closed his eyes, pushing the last thoughts of Ellen out of his mind. He knew good and well Sam was probably capable of picking up any strong emotion, even in his amateur state. "Hey, runt."

“Caleb? You still stuck in L.A.?”

The kid had called him after Ellen’s little revelation, wanting the whole scoop on the story as usual. He’d still been tied up at the airport. It was easy to switch flights.

“No. I‘m on the road now.” Kind of.

“How’d the business deal go?”

Talk about loaded questions. “I’m rich.”

The slight laugh was as reassuring as the feline rumble beneath his palm. “You were already rich.”

“Well, now I can be snobby about it.”

“Does that mean we’re having Christmas in the Hampton’s?”

Reaves laughed. “Actually, I was thinking Vegas. You and Deuce can help me spend some of this loot. He can lick his wounds while basking in the Nevada sun.”

“Wouldn’t it be kind of cheating for you and me to gamble?”

Always the honest one. Caleb snorted. “Who said anything about gambling, Sammy. Sin City has a lot more to offer than casinos. It’d only be cheating if we were married.”

“It’s Christmas.”

The discernable disgust had the psychic smiling. But he feigned a deep sigh of disappointment. “There’s lots of twinkling lights, too.”

“I was thinking Virginia.”

“You would, Francis Church.”

There was a long pause. “Jim use to read that article every Christmas.”

Yeah. “Look, kid, I really need to get going. Virginia sounds fine with me. It’s not that far from North Carolina.”

“You headed to Boone’s?”

“Yeah.” He glanced at his watch. “ By the way, your bitchy brother still pissed at me?”

Reaves heard the familiar screech of the Impala’s door and then Dean’s booming voice echoed over the line. Speak of the devil.

“Who you gabbing to, Sammy?”

Caleb heard Sam tell him and then the blasting of ACDC filled the waves. He could easily imagine the rolling of the eyes, the clenching of the jaw. “Don’t answer that.”

“So, we’ll see you soon?”

“Yeah, even if you are a buzz kill.”

Another laugh. “Nobody’s perfect.”

Reaves glanced towards the roadhouse. “Catch you later, Sam.” He closed the phone, looked up at the twinkling night sky. “That really depends on who you ask, kid.”