By Ridley C. James & Tidia

Disclaimer: Nothing Supernatural belongs to us.

A/N: Due to the nature of Kripke's finale cliffhanger (4.22), this is the final installment in Conversations, and is our season finale. You might be surprised to see some things we’ve been planning for a couple of years now finally come to light. We are excited about our plans for next season. This takes place during Lucifer’s Rising and there are slight spoilers.


Chapter 11 - Light and Shadow

“Shadow is proof that a source of light exists.”

“Come on Bobby, answer the damn phone.” Caleb tapped his fingers on the steering wheel, his eyes glued to the door of Joshua's townhouse as if by sheer will he could conjure the other hunter. He was in a quiet suburban neighborhood with all the two level houses looking the same other than the color they were painted-pale yellow, pale blue and gray. None of these people knew about the breaking of the seals, about the Winchesters, or The Brotherhood. They slept in blissful ignorance.

Caleb held the cell phone between his shoulder and chin to check his watch. Joshua had him waiting ten minutes already. During that time a lot had happened, and he was calling Bobby for answers. He was about to hang up to try Singer’s cell when the mechanic answered.

“Rufus, I swear to all that is holy…”

Caleb heaved a sigh of relief. “It’s me.”

“Junior? Where the hell are you?”

“The more important question is: where the hell is Dean? He’s off my radar.” Caleb panicked when his connection to the eldest Winchester vanished. Sam was veiled. He knew they were alive, but every worst case scenario ran through his mind. “I tried his phone. There’s no answer.”

“He disappeared.”

Caleb gripped the steering wheel. They should have never split up. “Damn it, Bobby. He was supposed to be at your place. You promised you would shadow him until we tracked down Sammy.”

“I don’t mean disappear as in give me the slip, Kid. I mean vanished, poof, like a goddamn magic trick.”

Caleb banged his head against the back of the seat. “Castiel.” He couldn’t wait to meet this guy.

“Angel Boy was my first guess." Bobby continued, "Speaking of disappearing, where's The Scholar? I’ve tried to reach him.”

“Last time I talked to him he was with Griffin and Missouri. Reaching them is like reaching the Joint Chiefs of Staff the day after 9-11. With the seals gone Dad must be feeling a little like Bruce Willis with a meteor targeting his ass.” He started to unbuckle his seatbelt, contemplating dragging Joshua out to the car.

“What are you going to do?”

Caleb rubbed a hand over his mouth to stop himself from further reaction. “I’m going to find Sam.”

“Dean told me what happened with you two. You think that’s the best place for you to be?”

He tried to forget what had happened. Caleb had made a mistake, so many of them. He should have guessed something was wrong with Sam. The youngest Winchester had touched the amulet the year before in Wyoming and it had morphed, like it did for him. It should have resonated as a warning to be vigilant. However, Caleb could not have foreseen that Sam would ingest demon blood to spark what Yellow Eyes had given him at 6 months. “You got a better suggestion? I don’t think I’m going to swing a trip to Heaven’s magical holding place, or wherever Castiel has whisked Deuce off to.”

“But you think you can find Sam?”

“I have a plan.” The plan involved Joshua, his ability as a witch, which Caleb hoped could combat anything Ruby had up her sleeve.

“Why does that worry me?”

“Look Bobby, I got to go.” Caleb cut the connection as Joshua exited his house. He was dressed all in black, making it hard for Caleb to make him out, but his track pants did have a white stripe down the side. “About damn time.”

“I’m sorry, I know the forty-five minute advance call you gave me should have left ample time for preparation to face imminent Armageddon, but my townhouse doesn’t come equipped with a bat pole. I had to change into my super hero costume and equip my utility belt the old fashioned way.”

“Right.” On a good day Caleb would have appreciated the fact Sawyer was becoming quite funny. Today was not a good day. He started the car. "Where are we going? You can't find Sam from your home base? Does the condo association have a no crafting clause in place? More importantly, did you bring any weapons?" He was unable to bring his normal paraphernalia on the plane. He was counting on Joshua bringing some along.

"Yes, though I do not have your typical Die Hard arsenal at my disposal." Joshua put one of his bags on the floorboard in front of him, the other in the backseat, then slid on his seatbelt. "And as for the scrying, it is amplified or negated by the energy around us. So since you said that Ruby has Sam, then I need to find a place to amplify the negative."

Caleb raised a brow. "A vortex of evil, but somewhere close by and private would be good. North Carolina has a lot of those?” He could think of one spot, but his childhood home in the Outer Banks was way off their path.

“A quiet place appropriately named The Devil’s Stomping Ground. Follow the signs to Crowders Mountain State Park.”

“You’re joking.” Caleb shifted gears, the rented Mustang growling as he merged with traffic that would take him to the interstate. He had flown into Charlotte and would have taken any vehicle they had to offer. He was lucky it was a Mustang and not some four cylinder economy car.

“No, really.” Joshua pinched the bridge of his nose. "I want to remind you that scrying is not easy even for someone of my talent.”

“Don’t underestimate yourself there, Mr. Modesty. You did it at The Sinks.” Caleb had put a lot of faith in Joshua helping him. He could not turn to Mac, although he wanted to. The current Scholar had not been informed about Sam's descent. Caleb had not fully informed Joshua either.

“Under promise of certain demise.”

Caleb took his eyes off the road for a moment. “Consider this the same situation.”

Joshua angled his body so he was facing Caleb. “I thought we were past resorting to threats.”

“I’m not talking about your doom, Josh.” Caleb was grateful for the late night hour as they made it to Interstate 485. “I’m talking about Sam and Dean.”

“Of course.” Joshua returned his attention to the road. “That makes perfect sense.”

Caleb didn’t catch what else Joshua muttered under his breath, but he sure as hell picked up on the surge of irritation rolling off the other hunter. “What the hell you getting at?”

“I find it no surprise your focus of concern is wholly for the Winchesters when the world is facing attack of epic proportion. The Knight’s priority mission may be to protect The Guardian, but it is not his sole duty.” Caleb could see Joshua's clenched fist.

"I'm not officially The Knight." He was arguing semantics, but techincally Mackland was The Triad, the true Knight gone along with his Guardian.

"And if you were, I can say with great confidence that we would still be on this same path."

Getting a lecture on Knight protocol was not appreciated. Caleb kept both hands on the steering wheel to keep them from Joshua’s throat. “I’m trying to protect the innocent, damn it. That is my duty. The last time I checked it was the mission of The Brotherhood. Maybe you should reread your grandfather’s journal.”

“And you are telling me that Sam Winchester is innocent? That he has the best interest of The Brotherhood foremost in his mind? Kidnapped against his will and hidden from you?”

Caleb had said as much on the phone to Joshua to ensure that Joshua would help him. It didn't sound like Joshua had believed the story. He punched the gas, weaving in and around the few cars spread before them. Caleb missed the speed and handling of his Lamborghini. Ford’s latest sports car was not cutting it. “I believe he’s a victim in this as much as anyone else. Maybe more.”

“Interesting.” Joshua looked out the window. “It’s thinking like that which has placed you and Dean in this most current predicament as I tried to explain to you after Christmas.”

“An ‘I told you so’, Josh?” Caleb growled. “Really?”

“It is not an ‘I told you so’, although I did warn you about Ruby.” He felt Joshua glance at him. “I’m merely pointing out that you don’t always think clearly when it comes to the Winchesters as Dean doesn’t always think clearly when it comes to you or Sam, much to the detriment of not only yourselves, but those unlucky enough to be tangled in the maelstrom around you.”

Caleb couldn’t deny it, but having it pointed out at a time like this still pissed him off. “In case you’ve missed the latest memos from your fiancé, the Winchesters are right in the fucking center of this whole mess. Not to mention they are two-thirds of the future Triad, a Triad you owe allegiance to, a Triad which may be a key to stopping the destruction of everything and everyone.”

Joshua’s lack of chagrin irritated Caleb further. “There’s been no evidence to support that theory of Triad Power unless you’re withholding some key information on Ben Mosley you managed to uncover on your interrupted visit with Victor.”

“Victor was no help.” Caleb would schedule another meeting with the former Scholar and it would go down differently. He believed their Triad was the key. Jim Murphy was a smart man. Caleb would not buy into the theory Jim was grasping at straws, scrambling to merely protect them. He had faith that the pastor had a reason for choosing the men he did. “Mosley will have to wait until I know the boys are safe.”

“Then I’m not sure where that leaves us.” Joshua pointed to a quickly approaching exit. “Take this one.”

“That leaves us finding Sam.” Caleb frowned, but swerved across the two lanes of traffic that would allow the turn.

“Are you going to tell me the rest of the story?" Joshua pushed. "I can give you the coven's hypothesis."

Caleb shook his head slowly. "You told them? Did you talk to Adam about this?"

"I warned you that the coven was hunting for Ruby. They've seen them together." Joshua's voice rose. "Against my better judgment, I have been telling them that Sam is using her for information. Am I lying?"

It may have started that way with Ruby worming her way into Sam's life when he was at his lowest. She convinced him they had so much in common, he had lost Jessica and his brother, she had lost her humanity and Rose. After Dean had told him he had seen Ruby in Sam's dream world it all made more sense of her insidiousness. "Sam became addicted to demon blood, and left with Ruby after nearly beating his brother to death. There, you happy?"

Joshua placed a hand on his forehead. "More like shocked. " Joshua dropped his hand, silent for a moment. "Are we hunting Sam?"

Caleb turned his head sharply. His worst nightmare was seeing Sam's demon side, one he shared, come to life. "No. Hell, no."

Again there was Joshua's silence with Caleb shifting uncomfortably. "You're looking for his redemption," Joshua finally said.

“We’re saving him, Josh.” Caleb took the exit far too quickly, reveling in a surge of satisfaction when Joshua was whipped against the passenger door. “We’re saving every fucking body.”

Joshua righted himself in the leather seat. He knew to change the topic of conversation to the matter at hand. “Did you bring something for me to scry with? It will have to be something with a powerful connection."

Caleb had Sam’s ring, but knew with Sam it was not enough. It still hurt that Sam had made it look so easy to toss the ring aside. “Will blood work?”

“That depends. Whose blood?”

“Mine.” His answer was disturbing, leaving him rehashing where he could have gone so wrong that they were all brought to this terrible moment.

Joshua sighed. “I know you and Sam share a psychic bond, one which served us well when you were poisoned by Agatha Hennings, but this is an entirely different matter. If Ruby has used a spell to block your abilities then…”

“I’m not talking about our psychic link." Caleb gave a sidelong glance. "I’m talking about Azazael’s blood.”

“I see.”

“Yes. Sins of the father and all.”

“Sam didn’t…” Joshua was staring at him again. “Are you saying he drank your blood?”

“Maybe. A little.” Caleb shot him a quick glance, forced a half smile. He didn’t know if Sam would use the flask. “But to be fair Ruby pitched one hell of sale. You would have wanted to recruit her for the PR firm.”

Joshua didn’t even pretend to be amused. “You realize what Sam has done goes against every code in The Brotherhood?”

“I realize that Sammy isn’t the first one to go against The Brotherhood.” He wasn’t above using Joshua’s past discretions or Harland’s mistakes as a point. “Sins of the father and all.”

Joshua’s scowl deepened. “That’s why you've kept Mackland in the dark this entire time.”

“This stays between us, Josh. This is Triad business.”

“So now I’m expected to juggle not only the conflict between the coven and The Brotherhood, but between The Brotherhood and my duties as Advisor?”

Caleb was feeling far from empathetic. “Good thing you’ve had lots of practice straddling the fence.”

“For once I would like to have my feet solidly planted on one side.”

“Try being born with one foot firmly embedded in Hell and then we’ll talk about the ultimate identity crisis.” He really needed to stop the self pity, but it was an easy trap.

Caleb felt the other hunter’s barriers strengthen, a mental slamming of the door. “You need to take the next turn.”

“Look, I don't need a lecture from you. I lost contact with Dean, too. Until I know he’s safe, nothing else matters."

"Was Dean a recent development?"

The mental barrier still had not come down. Caleb wondered if Adam had taught Joshua the new trick. "Your driveway." Caleb squinted to see the upcoming signage. "The angels have him."

"Is everyone against us?"

"Looks like."

Joshua let his head fall back against the seat. “Shit.”

“Vulgarity? The common man’s crutch?” Caleb threw a quick glance Joshua’s way offering a white flag. “Things must be as bad as I thought.”

Caleb took the lack of comeback as a resounding ‘fuck you’. He was thankful when they reached the trail head, the silence in the car giving him more than enough time to think about Dean and Sam, the absence of their presences gnawing away at the last of his reserves. By the time they parked the car, Joshua’s feelings of anger had bled into his own, making it hard for Caleb to keep his temper at bay..

He watched Joshua check, then re-check his backpack. "Josh, it's only the fate of the fucking world."

"Shut up."

The other hunter was determined to keep up the cold shoulder routine. Caleb was past pandering for conversation. He continued to try to make telepathic contact with Dean as he followed Joshua who was more familiar with the area, hoping his persistence might pay off. The beginning of what promised to be one hell of a migraine was his reward. They kept a brutal pace until they reached a fork in the trail, a bald spreading out along one side.

Joshua kneeled down and began to unpack his materials.

Caleb rubbed his forehead. "What do you want me to do?"

"Sit there and be quiet."

Caleb held his comments when Joshua took out his wand and started to draw with it along the perimeter. "Fill that in with salt."

"Yes, Sir." Any distraction was welcomed, even lackey work.

While Caleb sprinkled salt over the lines Joshua had drawn he was becoming distinctly aware that they were running out of time. The inability to establish his link with Dean was bringing painful memories from his friend’s death to the surface, reminding him of what was at stake. He could lose Sammy and Deuce. Joshua’s words about his duty to The Brotherhood became more daunting as Caleb was given time to question his own motives, the consequences of his actions. It seemed fear and revenge had been his two faithful driving forces as of late. "Can you hurry up?"

"And risk connecting to God knows what? I don't think so."

However, Caleb noticed Joshua did move faster. “This is similar to the circle you made with the demon dog.” They had both been so young then, each determined to earn their hunter’s rings for very different reasons, hoping to impress two impossible men.

“Same basic principle.” Joshua used his wand to form the Triad symbol in the center of the circle. “This time we have salt, which saves me from invoking a sanguineous barrier.”

This time Dean and Sam weren’t with them, and the rescue party they had counted on back then, John, Boone, and Jim were all dead. He cleared his throat attempting to reclaim his focus. “I’m not your buddy Adam. Please speak non-crafter.”

“I don’t have to use my blood for the binding.” Joshua met his gaze. “Step inside before finishing the last of the salt.”

“I know how not to breech a protection circle.” Deuce had disregarded the sanctuary back then, throwing himself headlong into danger to go after his brother. Perhaps not much had changed after all.

“The simple things you remember.”

Caleb didn’t rise to the bait. The painful things were what he remembered. “What’s with The Triad symbol? I thought you didn’t have a clue as to how its power works.” The circles were small, the interlocking pieces taking no more than a square foot of earth. Caleb thought of Wyoming and how Rose trapped them.

“I don’t. In this case I’m using it as a representation of the bond you, Sam and Dean share.”

Caleb frowned. He respected the Triad, but doubted anything so concrete, so simple could begin to illustrate what ran between him and the Winchester brothers. He watched as Joshua took a small pouch from his side and sprinkled a mixture of what looked to be crushed herbs and dirt over the linked circles.

“Consider it like a family crest. After all, we are calling for lost brothers.”

Caleb knelt by Joshua as he deftly unfolded a piece of jagged cloth spreading it beside the symbol. He leaned in closer to get a better look in the lantern light. “Is that a map?”

Joshua nodded, smoothing his fingers over the soft material. “Adam stained it on deer skin.”

Caleb rolled his eyes. “How very Last of The Mohicans of him.”

Joshua reached for his arm, roughly grabbing his wrist. “I need your knife.”

Caleb considered how wise it would be to hand over The Talon at that moment. “You’re going to enjoy this, aren’t you?”

Joshua tightened his grip. “Not nearly as much as Ruby I’m sure.”

Caleb sighed as he was reminded of the recent wound in his leg, which seemed to throb right on cue. The hiking hadn’t helped and was sure he’d torn some of Deuce’s meticulous stitching. He withdrew the blade from his boot sheath. “What about the crystal? You know the girly amethyst one with the long silver chain?”

Joshua guided his arm over the interlocking circles with a little more force than necessary. “This isn’t an episode of Charmed.”

“Too bad for us. I would be okay with three hot sisters dancing scantily around us, chanting to their Goddess of choice.”

Joshua took the knife, flipping it around so the blade was now pressed against the skin of Caleb’s wrist. “Do you even realize how insulting you are?”

“Asks the guy who’s made an art of speaking with his foot in his mouth.” He tried not to flinch as the polished steel drew blood, bringing a sharp, stinging pain. “Dean would definitely call Pot and Kettle.”

“Pot and Kettle?” Joshua turned Caleb’s hand so the pooled blood collected in one tiny stream. He let the red liquid drip in one circle before moving Caleb’s arm so that a drop fell in each outer section of the symbol.

“Our little inside joke for calling hypocrisy to the carpet.” Caleb watched as his blood tainted each oval, and then splattered the interlocking middle.

Joshua released his arm, taking a bandage from his bag and offering it to Caleb. “I’m sure he’s fine, you know. Just like with the black dog. Dean Winchester is nothing if not resilient.”

Caleb pressed the bandages against his wrist, watching the red seep through. “I hope you’re right.”

“If the angels believe Dean is the key to stopping the last seal, he’s obviously in much safer hands than we can offer and knowing Dean, he isn’t going to let anything happen to his brother.”

Caleb glanced up. “I want to believe the angels are the good guys.” He wanted to believe that for reasons he wasn’t about to open up to with Sawyer. “But I have a hard time trusting Sam and Dean’s life with anyone.”

Joshua surprised him by nodding. “Then let’s find them, shall we.”

Joshua closed his eyes, and muttered a string of verse Caleb recognized as something close to Gaelic. The other hunter touched his wand to The Triad symbol and it glowed with a strange aura. Caleb scooted back as Joshua reached for the map, placing it face up over the circles. A white flame leapt from the scroll and Caleb met Joshua’s gaze across the gleaming map.

"Hello?" Caleb heard someone call out. It wasn't his imagination as Joshua also snapped to alert.

“You have got to be kidding me.” Caleb grabbed The Talon, wiping the bloodied blade before shoving it back in his boot. “This is going to be hard to explain.”

Coming towards them out of the dewy morning fog was a man. Around his age, light jacket, cargo pants, and a backpack with straps visibly secured. "I'm surprised to find other hikers up here."

Caleb slowly stood, hoping the magically burning map could pass for a new age camp fire. “Not as surprised as we are.”

He looked at the guy, his headache from before returning with a vengeance. Caleb winced. “What…”

"Knock, knock." Caleb heard in his mind. "You can't block me out, hunter. I know you from the inside out."

Caleb felt himself fall to his knees as his head raged in agony. "He's a demon," he warned Joshua with a hiss. He thought Joshua would go for the guns in the duffle bag, but he stayed put.

"He can't cross the lines."

"Yes, Josh, I am impressed with you.” The man stepped to the edge of the salt. “You are quite the gifted witch."

"Crafter,” Joshua corrected.

"Witch and future Advisor,” the demon chided. “Don't make yourself sound like Martha Stewart's minion."

"Who are you?" Joshua stepped slightly in front of Caleb.

"I'm a friend of Caleb Reaves."

Joshua placed a hand on Caleb’s shoulder. "You really attract the worst sorts of people."

Caleb blinked, the pain easing as the demon pulled back his assault now that Caleb was aware of his presence. “I don’t know any fucking demons.”

The man appraised them with a friendly smile. "I'm hurt you don't remember me. It was a situation similar to this. You had lost track of your Guardian then too, only it was you and the future Scholar performing the ritual. Remember the amulet-"

"Oh shit," Caleb recalled the release of the demon while using Noah Seaver’s necklace. He had wondered what he had let into the world, now he was going to find out.

"I picked up on the beacon.” The demon gestured to the blazing Triad symbol “Your blood helped.” His gaze went to Joshua. “You need to perform a different type of protection spell when using Triad power, Witch. Don’t feel bad, typical rookie mistake. A traditional Advisor would have made sure you understood before allowing you to use Triad magic that might jeopardize The Guardian.”

“You stopped by to give us fucking advice?” Caleb stumbled to his feet. “Save it. We don’t work with demons.”

“Talk about hypocrisy.” The demon laughed. “Maybe I should have chosen some hot babe instead of this J. Crew model I snatched from a sportswear shoot.”

“What do you want?”

“I came to thank you in person for releasing me from Hell. With the likes of Alistair and Lilith on the loose, I’ve had to be cautious.”

Caleb recalled the demon’s skill he’d utilized. “You’ve been shielding yourself.”

“Yes. I’m quite talented.”The demon motioned to the protection circle. “This was all a good show, but I can save you the trouble. The future Scholar is in Maryland at Saint Mary's."

“How do you know that?” Caleb stepped to the edge of the circle, Talon at the ready.

“I make it my priority to know what’s going on with the Triad, especially one with such potential as Dean Winchester’s. Old habits die hard.” The demon laid a hand over his chest. “I always repay my debts. Now we’re even, Hunter.”

"Then you can leave." Joshua was standing firm against his shoulder.

"I'm surprised at you J. May I call you, J? There is so much I can share with you since we obviously have so much in common."

"There is nothing we have in common."

"I was a powerful witch. I was an Advisor to a Triad."

Caleb shook his head. “That’s not possible.”

“No? I hear you’ve been searching for a former Advisor knowledgeable enough to be of service in this time of impending doom." He patted his chest. "I’m your man.”

“You’re Ben Mosley?” Joshua asked the question Caleb was about to.

“Don’t be insulting. Mosley isn’t half the crafter I was.” The demon grinned. “Malachi Harris ringing any bells? I belonged to Daniel Wilmington’s and Samuel Colt’s Triad.”

“No.” Caleb took a step back. “You’re lying.” It would be beyond a cruel twist of fate.

“No need to lie when the truth is just so rich with delicious irony. I damned myself by giving that amulet to Noah Seaver over a hundred years ago and his great, great grandson uses it to release me from my eternal prison. You have to admit that’s pretty awesome."

Caleb’s mind reeled. Cole Tanner, The Knight of The Wild Wild West Triad as Dean nicknamed them had been blamed with betraying The Brotherhood, trading the necklace to his lover’s husband for her release from their marital binds, but it had been The Advisor all along. Caleb may have inadvertently cleared Tanner's name, but made a grandiose mistake reminiscent of the one Noah Seaver made. "I brought back Malachi Harris."

"What did you do?" Joshua whispered. He did not know that Caleb had stolen and used the amulet.

"It's all good, really. I can help you. I’ve spent over a hundred years of your time in Hell. I’m sure Dean has told you how time unfolds there. You do the math. Twelve thousand years of experience make me a sure bet." Malachi gestured to Joshua. “The things I can teach your Advisor go far beyond any writings in a journal. The promise of what Dean Winchester’s Triad has to offer is quite true, but you’ll need guidance to see it come to fruition. Jim Murphy obviously channeled Merlin’s original vision. His plan almost prophetic. Two demons and the angel’s chosen warrior as a powerhouse in a time such as this. A strong magician at their side to invoke allegiance with those of the occult. It’s poetic. ”

“No.” They were not going to fall for the same trick. "We know all about getting help from demons.”

"It’s not like I’m going to ask you to drink my blood.” He grinned. “Or that I might drink yours. Although, there is something in it for me. I am not company material. I do not toe the union line. I have a vested interest in how this final battle turns out. "

"What's that have to do with us?" Joshua gripped Caleb's arm to hold him back. Caleb had been tempted to cross the line and tangle with Malachi.

"Long story short, Lucifer is rising, and I won’t be bossed about. I just got my get out of jail free card not so long ago. I’m powerful, capable of many things and this new body is really quite striking. I’m not ready to go back to old hat just yet. You know what that's like J, being an Advisor is grunt work, but if I had been blessed with a Triad such as yours..."

"You what?” Joshua demanded. “Wouldn’t have thought it a good idea to kill your Guardian and Knight?"

"Why are you bringing up ancient history?" Malachi frowned at Joshua.

Caleb shivered. Dean returned mentally online. He was out of the angel realm. Caleb did not know if that was a good or bad thing. As Joshua had pointed out, the angels were trying to keep Dean safe. He grimaced to cover his reaction. "I'm thinking maybe you need us more than we need you."

The blond haired man lifted an eyebrow. "Really? Don't you sense it, son of Azazeal?"

Caleb felt the spark that was Sam, no longer veiled by Ruby. He hoped to hell it meant the bitch was dead, but there was something else pulsing with a white hot energy surpassing the fear and dread he could detect from the youngest Winchester.

"I can smell it in the air," Malachi added.

"Caleb?" Joshua questioned.

Caleb felt his heart clench in a soul aching response. "Something big…” He brought his hand to his chest. “Something evil."

"The Evil." Malachi shrugged. "It should be one hell of a homecoming.” He glanced at the watch on his wrist. “That reminds me I have people coming over, but I have your number now. I'll be calling you, boys."

Joshua turned to Caleb as the demon faded from sight. "Do you want to tell me what that was about?"

"I used Seaver’s amulet to help find Dean last year. I was going to save him." Joshua had every right to be angry at him. In a short time Caleb had to admit to a lie and a cover up.

“And you released that unholy creature and forgot to mention it?”

At the time he hoped the gain was worth the repercussions. Caleb focused on having Dean back, and then there had been the impending deadline of his best friend’s deal. As time passed it became less of a concern. “I didn’t know what I released, only that the thing was powerful. Powerful enough to get the upper hand on Rose.” He waited for Joshua to make some biting retort, nothing came. "You aren't going to say anything else?"

Joshua began to kick dirt over his work to cover it up. “It just occurred to me that this situation with the demon blood must be like watching the worst fears you’ve had about yourself come to life albeit with Sam cast in the lead.”

For as much as he had changed, the guy still had a knack for saying things most people would know to keep to themselves. "Way to pull the punches there, Josh. I would have liked a speech about taking things that don't belong to me, or heaping blame at my feet." Caleb had released the monster responsible for bringing The Yellow Eyed Demon forth in the first place. It was anyone’s guess what new havoc Harris could incur.

"I don't know what to make of Malachi, or how to gauge him as a threat. But, I am sure you got in trouble with Dean over the amulet." Joshua shrugged his shoulders. “As for Sam, you didn’t want to see what was happening with him because you took a turn down that same road with the amulet. Perhaps your entwined fates still blind you.”

It was the truth Caleb didn’t want to know. “Another pot meets kettle moment.”

Joshua propped his hands on his hips, held his gaze. “You’re not your father.”

Caleb refused to blink and see Isaac Reaves’s face flash in his mind’s eye, the smile on his face as he pulled the trigger that took his life. “Neither is Sam.”

"If Sam’s been drinking demon blood as you say, he’s more than likely killed humans.”

“We’ve all killed humans in one form another. I destroyed hosts when I was housing Malachi Harris. Have you forgotten about Ian?”

Joshua looked away, but Caleb was unrepentant. They were all stained with some sort of guilt.

"I know you want to believe Sam can be redeemed.”

“He can.” If not then what were they even fighting for? Forgiveness was at the heart of it, but faith in each other was their saving grace. Merlin, half demon, half saint had believed in the redemption of mankind, as Pastor Jim had believed in the possibility of their Triad. “No one's a lost cause, you for example.”

Joshua looked at him. “I'll do anything I can."

"That's all I'm asking." Caleb held out his hand. "I promise that this is not going to be a repeat of last summer." He refused to let history continue replay itself.

"I hope not.” Joshua reached out and clasped his forearm. “You'll have Carolyn to answer to more than ever."

Caleb’s mouth twitched. As much as it surprised him, a wedding might be a nice change of pace especially if it had an open bar. "It's definitely a way to get out of taking the plunge. Think about it, monogamy is a much slower and agonizing death."

Joshua let him go with a disappointed shake of his head. “I am beginning to understand why Ben Mosley disappeared all those years ago. If my grandfather and his Triad were half the trouble…”

“It’s okay to admit you like us.” Caleb grinned.

“Hardly.” Joshua rolled his eyes.

"Does this mean I am no longer your best man?"

"I never said you were my best man."

“You’ll come around.”

“I think we have bigger issues at hand, especially now.” Joshua began to repack his bag. “Do you believe what Harris said about Lucifer rising?”

Caleb’s senses were still tingling. “Something major is happening. It’s off the Richter, man.”

“Then the last seal has been broken.”

“Most likely.” He didn’t want to know what that meant for Sam and Dean, hoped to hell they weren’t at ground zero. Caleb was focusing on the fact he could once again sense them both, clinging tightly to the lifeline between them. As long as they were alive, there was hope.

“I know you want to help Dean and Sam but it would seem that we are too late to effect whatever it is they are dealing with. Perhaps we could be of better service by joining Mackland and the other hunters preparing for what is to come.”

Caleb ran his thumb over his silver ring. “I know you don’t really understand this, but I have to go to them. Whether I’m too late or not, it’s the only path for me.”

Joshua stood, lashing his bag across his chest. “Then we’re headed to Maryland.”

Caleb smiled. “And on the way I’ll list all the points of why I am the better choice for Best Man. Like how great I look in a tux, way hotter than Adam…”

Joshua snorted. “I think I prefer that hideous music Dean likes instead.”

“Deuce tunes?” Caleb could handle that. Together The Triad and their Advisor would handle whatever Heaven and Hell could dish out.



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