“Tabitha? Tabitha! Are you okay?” Tabitha didn’t respond, but when Dean finally grabbed her shoulders and shook her, she turned her eyes towards him, her gaze finally focusing a bit from her vacant stare.
Dean glanced frantically over his shoulder as he demanded from Chuck, “What happened to her? Is she okay?”
Chuck nervously wrung his hands as he answered, “I think she’s still in shock. I tried to wash her up a bit, so I think she’s okay physically, but she hasn’t said anything.”
With a little snort, Dean pulled one of her lax arms up to gesture at the gore splattered across her. “Does this look like she’s okay?” he sarcastically demanded. With a trained eye, he began checking her over for any signs of injury. “Well what did happen to her, Chuck? Where’d all this come from? And what did she look like before if this is her cleaned up a bit?” He lowered his voice to add, “I’m gonna kick that angel’s ass. He said she’d be fine.”
Chuck let out a nervous little laugh. “Oh, she’s fine. Like I said, physically, nothing happened to her. That’s Castiel.”
“What’s Castiel?” Sam demanded as he crouched near Dean to examine their dazed and silent sister.
“This is,” Tabitha finally spoke, glancing down at her spattered front and looking at the dark flecks dotting her skin that she didn’t even want to think too hard about.
“What?” Dean repeated as he stared down at her on the equally stained couch. A look of dawning horror and understanding filled his face as her older brother dropped the arm he still held aloft, discreetly wiping his fingers on his jeans. Sam stood up, less subtly moving away from her and the gore.
“Yeah, he’s dead. Or gone. The archangel smote the crap out of him. I’m sorry,” Chuck told them.
Dean glanced around the gore-covered room. “You’re sure? I mean, maybe he just vanished into the light or something.”
Tabitha shook her head. “They killed him. Exploded him with a wave of power and…light,” she quietly shrugged, staring at the stained carpet.
“Like a water balloon of chunky soup,” Chuck grimly confirmed.
Tabitha fought to keep from gagging at the all too vivid imagery.
Sam sighed but then stared at Chuck for a moment and gestured from his own head to Chuck’s. “You got a…”
Glancing up, Tabitha saw Chuck repeat the gesture to his own head. “Uh…right here?”
“Uh, the…” Sam muttered as he gestured to the other side of Chuck’s head.
The blood and grime splattered across Chuck’s face made him look like a war refugee, and as she looked around the littered room, she thought to herself that it did look more like a bomb had gone off than a battle between angels.
“Oh,” Chuck was saying as he felt the other side of his head, pulling something out of his hair with a sick look on his face. “Oh, god,” he muttered, holding something in front of his face. “Is that a molar?” His voice broke as he held it out towards them and repeated, “Do I have a molar in my hair?”
Unable to fight the violent shakes that suddenly racked her body at the revolting thought of what was now covering not only Chuck, but her as well, Tabitha lurched to her feet and began scrambling across the battlefield that had once been Chuck’s living room.
“This has been a really stressful day,” she could hear Chuck brokenly lamenting.
Dean spoke almost to himself. “Cas, you stupid bastard.” But stopped and looked up as his sister ungainly scrambled out of the living room. “Tab? You okay? Where you going?” he pressed as he picked his way after her to stop her.
She held warding hands up, swallowing thickly to keep the bile from rising as she told him, “I need to be clean. I need to wash this off me. I need to shower.” Her hands shook as she frantically spoke and gestured to herself, and she knew her reaction wasn’t putting her brothers at ease after they’d found her and she’d still been so deep in shock she hadn’t been able to speak. Being clean and washing…everything…off of her would hopefully make her coherent and sane again. At least she hoped so. “I’m gonna use your shower,” she finally squeaked out to Chuck, scrambling over the things that had fallen off the walls to climb Chuck’s stairs.
She breathed a little easier when she’d finally locked herself in Chuck’s bathroom. Being alone without three men staring at her helped. Having the three men stare at her like she was going to break any second was beginning to make her feel like she really was going to break if someone looked at her crossways. A few minutes alone were all she needed to get herself together. To pull some sense of calm over herself.
Until she stepped away from the door and caught the reflection of what her brothers and Chuck had been staring at. No wonder they were staring at me like I was gonna break, she thought to herself.
The image staring back at her in horror seemed nothing like the image she usually saw staring back at her. Her blond hair was hanging in twisted sections, streaked red with blood and matted to her head in deep shades of red. Even her skin was streaked with red and other things she still didn’t want to consider.
Her perceived calm vanished in an instant as she saw the bits of Castiel covering her all over. She could see that Chuck had indeed wiped her face at some point, but all it had achieved was swirling the blood across her cheeks to where it met the thick splotches of blood still clinging to her neck and clothes.
Tabitha lurched sideways from the mirror over the sink and heaved into the toilet. Her nerves feeling once more shot as she emptied her stomach and tried to focus on the burning sensation of her throat and not the fact that Castiel had died protecting her and helping her brothers. And for his disobedience, had been splattered across her and Chuck, and Chuck’s living room.
Shaking hands pulled at her clothes, yanking the long-sleeve t-shirt over her head and shoving her jeans past her hips to let them fall with a thud to the floor as she frantically toed her boots off. She looked down at herself and felt a little better. Standing in her underwear, it didn’t seem so bad. Her body had been shielded by her clothes mostly. But she knew how bad her face and neck looked, so she quickly peeled off the rest and stepped into Chuck’s shower.
Like the rest of the house, anything that had been on a wall now lay on the floor, so she carefully picked up the bottle of shampoo from the bottom of the shower and worked the lather through her hair. It wasn’t what she would have normally used, but being manly and pine-scented seemed more appealing than what she had been.
As she ran her hands over her neck, she peeled away the telfa pad that was getting soaked by the water, tentatively feeling the skin underneath to check Bobby’s stitch job.
But there weren’t any stitches. She pressed her palm against the side of her neck, but couldn’t feel anything. Not even a bump or raised skin to mark where Sam had cut her.
Then she remembered the slightest tingling sensation she’d felt as Castiel had held her to his side. It had been overwhelmed by the power of the archangels, but Castiel had obviously taken the time to heal her before… She whispered a soft thanks to the angel who could no longer hear her. Shedding a few silent tears for the angel as they were swept away and hidden by the flow of water before anyone could bear witness to their fall.
Standing for hours under the warm spray of the shower had never seemed more appealing to Tabitha, but the warm spray had allowed her mind to function again, and she knew they didn’t have the luxury of her wasting time now. She hadn’t even thought to ask her brothers what had happened at the convent or if Dean had been there in time to stop Sam. Her fervent prayer was that their presence now meant everything was fine, but something in the pit of her stomach said that was just wishful thinking. She’d prayed to God that Castiel would somehow be okay, but she knew that was merely wishful, too.
More than anything, she wanted to take the time to mourn Castiel, who had died for them—for her. To mourn what they’d had—whatever it had been—and to mourn what could have one day been. To mourn the possible future and emotions that might have grown—for him and for her. But tears and crying were not actions Tabitha was accustomed to. And certainly not something she wanted her brothers to see.
As she’d done too often, Tabitha chose instead to shove the emotion aside for the moment. Better to deal with any fallout that came in the direction of the Winchesters first. She’d save the tears and mourning for a time when she could hole-up somewhere alone for a few days so her brothers wouldn’t see her tears and think her weak.
When she stepped out of the shower, she was surprised to see a stack of clothes just inside the door, but she silently thanked whichever of her brothers had scrounged up some clothes for her. It was just a clean t-shirt, plain sweatpants, and a pair of flip-flops, but Chuck’s clothes were preferable to the alternative, even if it meant going sans underwear and bra. Her own clothes she left untouched on Chuck’s bathroom floor. Perhaps it was unfair to leave them for him to dispose of, but she couldn’t bear to touch them again and think about the angel that now coated them.
A wave of power rolled over her skin as she reached the top of the stairs. It was nowhere near the power of the archangels that had come hours before, and through she’d only briefly encountered him, she wasn’t surprised to hear Zachariah’s voice drifting up the stairs.
“Thought we’d find you here,” she heard the angel tell her brothers. “Playtime’s over, Dean. Time to come with us,” he continued.
She was tiptoeing down the stairs as best she could in the flip-flops when she heard Dean crossly answer the angel, “You keep your distance, asshat.”
As she rounded the bottom of the stairs, she saw three angels confronting her brothers and Chuck, Zachariah in the center of the angels. But the trio from Heaven were so focused on the boys, that they didn’t even notice her slip behind them to lean back against the outside of the wall to the living room. It was clearly an antagonistic meeting between the two groups, so she decided to remain hidden and see what was going on.
“You’re upset,” Zachariah responded to her brother in a falsely concerned toned.
“Yeah—a little,” Dean angrily forced out. “You sons of bitches jumpstarted Judgment Day!”
Tabitha closed her eyes at that, now knowing that her older brother obviously hadn’t stopped Sam from breaking the last seal—not that she regretted Lilith’s death. And that Lucifer—the damned Devil himself—was now on the loose. Things in their lives just always went from bad, to worse, to screwed.
Her head fell back against the wall as she thought about the sacrifice Castiel had made, now for naught since Lucifer had still been freed.
“Maybe we let it happen,” Zachariah was condescendingly answering her brother. “We didn’t start anything. Right Sammy?”
The angel’s arrogant tone brought Tabitha back to the moment, reminding her that they couldn’t trust other angels now with Castiel gone. Not after Zachariah admitted to their machinations in helping the start of the apocalypse all along.
A broken picture frame near her foot caught her eye, and she bent to pick the frame up, fingering the broken glass inside the frame covering what looked like a 10-year-old Chuck holding a fish proudly for the camera.
“You had a chance to stop your brother and you couldn’t,” Zachariah continued to lecture. “So let’s not quibble over who started what. Let’s just say it was all our faults and move on. ‘Cause like it or not…it’s Apocalypse Now. And we’re back on the same team again.”
“Is that so?” Dean asked in an unimpressed voice.
The angel continued, “You want to kill the Devil. We want you to kill the Devil. It’s…synergy.”
“And I’m just supposed to trust you? Cram it with walnuts, ugly.”
“This isn’t a game, son. Lucifer is powerful in ways that defy description. We need to strike now, hard and fast—before he finds his vessel.”
Sam spoke up, asking, “His vessel? Lucifer needs a meat suit?”
“He is an angel,” he chuckled in return. “Them’s the rules. And when he touches down, we’re talking four horsemen, red oceans, fiery skies—the greatest hits. You can stop him, Dean. But you need our help.”
“You listen to me, you two-faced douche—after what you did, I don’t want jack squat from you!”
“You listen to me, boy!” the angel shouted back. “You think you can rebel against us?” he chuckled darkly again. “As Lucifer did?”
Tabitha shouldered around the edge of the entrance to the living room to see Zachariah facing off with her older brother, Sam at his shoulder to back him up. “Boy…you could cut the tension in here with a knife,” she casually told the room, leaning her shoulder against the entry and crossing her arms over her chest to hide her lack of bra a bit while she tried to diffuse some of the tension choking the room.
Zachariah stepped back a pace from her brothers, turning a sneer on her. “Figured you wouldn’t be far, either. You Winchesters can usually be counted on to stick together.”
“So we can,” she told the room, informing not only the angels, but also her brothers that she still had their backs.
“You have your part to play, too, sweetheart,” Zachariah informed her, pointing an imperious finger at her.
“Oh?” she shrugged. “Isn’t that nice. But I’m with Dean on this one. And he already told you, we don’t want anything to do with any of you.”
“You think what you wants makes a difference?” he snidely told her. “You’ll do as you’re told.”
“Is that so?” She shrugged again, telling them, “I don’t think so.”
A trickle of blood slipped down her inner wrist and over her other arm, catching Zachariah’s gaze as his face scrunched and he stated in confusion, “You’re bleeding.”
She glanced down at her arms crossed over her chest. “So I am,” she agreed, pushing away from the entryway and dropping her arms. She informed the angels, “You guys didn’t seem all that friendly. I figured we might need a way to evict you from the party if you decided you didn’t want to play nice.”
Stepping back from the wall, she reached her bloody palm for the sigil she’d drawn on the opposite side of the wall, where the angels couldn’t see it.
But Zachariah knew what was happening, and started towards her, screaming, “No!”
Her bloody palm connected with the sigil before the angels could reach her, and in an explosion of light, they disappeared from Chuck’s living room.
“I learned that from watching Castiel, you assholes,” she quietly informed the departed angels.
“This sucks ass,” Chuck dejectedly sighed.
Her brothers crossed the room to stand in front of Tabitha.
“Thanks for the backup,” Sam told her, not quite looking up from the floor to meet her eyes.
Dean was busy inspecting the slash on her arm, but Tabitha reached out to her little brother, grabbing his arm and trying to gain his attention. “Is what he said true? Is Lucifer out?”
Sam’s eyes were still downturned as he softly admitted, “Yeah. I’m sorry.”
Her older brother was gruff as he spoke to her, but his hands were gentle as he tore at the bottom of his t-shirt and wrapped her arm in the material. “You should be carefully, Tabby. Many more cuts in places like you been getting them and someone’ll think you were trying to hurt yourself.”
She waited until he’d finished with her arm before she drew his attention to her neck. “That’s fine now. I guess Cas healed it before…” She trailed off, unable to say out loud what had happened. Roughly clearing her throat and looking away as moisture gathered in her eyes, she continued, “Besides, I cut across my arm. No one would think that was a serious attempt to injure or kill myself unless it was an upward cut along the arm and vein, starting at the wrist. I just needed a little blood for the sigil.”
Dean stepped around the corner to examine the sigil she’d drawn, but Tabitha grabbed his arm, holding him in place as she still held Sam in place with her other hand. “What happened guys? What went wrong?”
Sam pulled out of her grip then, silently stepping away as Dean sighed and reluctantly told her, “I’ll explain it all in the car. But we should get out of here before those asshats come back.”
“At least Ruby’s dead,” Tabitha commented as she let her head fall back against the back seat of the car her brothers had stolen somewhere along the way.
It had taken a while, but her brothers had finally reluctantly told her what had happened, though Sam had withdrawn into himself, letting Dean speak and barely adding anything.
“What happened with Cas?” Dean asked her as they stepped out of the car and began filing into one of their usual kind of motels.
“He died. Apparently for nothing,” Tabitha bitterly commented, dropping her few belongings and trying to hold onto her anger to push away tears that might otherwise fall.
“I’m sorry,” Sam brokenly whispered, sitting on the edge of a dresser, burying his face in his hands.
Dean looked both uncomfortable and fed up with Sam’s continued apologies, telling them in clipped and muttered tones he was going outside to check on “things.”
But Tabitha saw her little brother’s crumpled form and felt the anger she’d been holding onto deflate a bit.
“We’ll figure this out,” she tried to assure him as she scrounged through her bag to keep herself busy. She’d left her clothes for Chuck to burn, but had gathered her guns and such and placed them in a plastic bag at his house before they left. Her borrowed sweatpants were unfortunately too baggy to be counted on for holding a gun at her waist like jeans could.
The room was silent for a few minutes, but Sam eventually broke it, lowly telling her, “I’m so sorry about what I did, Tab. I just…”
She looked up as he trailed off, seeing him look down uncomfortably at his clasped hands as he avoided her eyes.
Her hand trailed up almost unconsciously to her neck as her finger lightly trailed across the now smooth skin. With a forced shrug, she looked away and told him. “I know you didn’t mean it, Sammy. It’s fine. Cas healed it before…”
The weight of the room pressed down on her, and she eventually looked back to see her brother staring at her with a small scowl on his face.
Hesitantly, he finally began, “It’s just…I’ve been trying to figure out why I went after your blood like that. I know I was jonesing for demon blood, but you were the only non-demon I went after.”
She hastily pushed her things away and stood to go into the bathroom, suddenly feeling like she needed another shower even though she’d taken one at Chuck’s house. “I don’t know,” she told him. “You were in a bad way.”
Sam grabbed her wrist as she tried to pass him. “It’s more than that, Tabitha. You were the only human I went after. I smelled something in your blood. What are you hiding? You need to tell us. You can’t keep lying about whatever this is. Someone could get hurt.”
With a jerk, she yanked her arm away. “Like Cas? Too late, he’s dead. Why are you even asking? Are you afraid that I might be lying about something and cause Lucifer to be released from his prison? Oh, wait. You already did that.”
Her little brother jerked back more effectively than if she’d slapped him, and she instantly felt the guilt return for the way she lashed out at him to abate her own tears.
“Yeah,” he admitted, staring at the floor again. “But I guess I know a little something about keeping secrets and the results.”
She shrugged off the warning, but didn’t know what else to say to ease the wound she’d just caused. Finally, she decided it was best just to step away for a while to give them both time to lick their wounds. “I’m gonna take a shower,” she muttered as she started to slip away, but she paused to add, “I didn’t really mean that, Sam. But sometimes my bite and bark are both pretty bad.”
Dean was alone in the motel room when she stepped out of the bathroom, still toweling her hair dry. He looked up from loading his pistol and laying out shotgun rounds as she entered the room, dressed once more in Chuck’s clothes.
“You doing better?” he asked her.
“Yeah. It’s nice to get clean.”
His hands paused briefly in loading the clip into his pistol as he stared at her. “You showered at Chuck’s. How much cleaner did you need to be?”
She fought a shudder at the thought of why she’d showered at Chuck’s, suddenly feeling the need to turn around and jump back into the shower she’d just left. Irrational or not, some part of her couldn’t help feeling like if she scrubbed hard enough on her skin, she might be able to wash away the feeling of Castiel spewed across her. And she might be able to push him away from her mind for a few moments if she could just clean away the feeling of his insides splattered on her skin.
When she felt tears start to sting at her eyes, Tabitha turned away and busied herself with searching in her bag for something that might tie her hair back and have an excuse to keep her brother’s probing eyes from witnessing her tears.
Quickly covering the awkward pause, she told him over her shoulder as she began finger combing through her knotted hair, “I smelled like a pine tree. The pine scent isn’t so bad on guys, but I don’t particularly care to smell like a dude. Non-scented motel soap was better than being pine-scented.”
Dean grunted behind her as she heard him resume laying out ammo.
“You seemed to take Cas’s death pretty hard.”
The fingers paused briefly in her hair before she resumed her work. She was surprised by her brother’s observation, but not at all fooled by his deceptively blasé statement. As smooth as Dean thought himself, she’d always been able to hear the edge under his tone when he was fishing for something.
“Well, yeah. I mean, he did sorta explode all over me and Chuck,” she told him, sitting on the edge of one of the beds, facing the wall away from her brother’s assessing stare.
“Never seen you freeze up like that,” he continued calmly observing. “Kinda freaked me and Sam out when we came in and saw you going all zombie-like. I mean, you’ve seen some pretty crazy deaths before, you never shut down like. You threw up that one time, but never went all vacant-stare before.”
Tabitha twisted on the bed to shoot her brother a glare. “I was fourteen and had just seen my first werewolf death. Excuse me for upchucking a little. Me and Sam had just eaten a pizza. My stomach was a little sensitive at seeing my first completely shredded body. And you rode me about that for three years.”
Dean’s mouth quirked up a little at the memory. “Yeah. But that’s my point. A little teasing from me, and you were like a machine after that. So why’d you react so strongly this time?”
She let her hands fall away from her still tangled hair as she made an exasperated noise. “He was a friend, Dean. What, did you expect me to be an impersonal machine when I was covered in the insides of a friend?”
Setting his gun aside, Dean turned towards her and propped a hip up on the table. “Didn’t realize you were that good of friends with him. Hell, you handled Pamela’s death with a few tears and kept right on going. You talked with her on the phone all the time—texted with her. I didn’t think you’d even talked with Castiel that much. Unless there’s more going on than I realized.”
A heavy, sick feeling twisted in her gut, and she felt the returning threat of tears as she stood and angrily tossed her towel on the floor. Better to attack than to give in to her tears. “What?” she angrily demanded. “Are you gonna ride me for having emotions and being a little shocked at seeing Castiel explode like that? Gonna accuse me of something? What do you think was going on? He was an angel.”
Their standoff was broken by Sam entering the room again.
“Hey,” he greeted the tense room.
“Hey,” Dean and Tabitha returned in simultaneous and stiff voices.
Sam paused, but true to Winchester fashion, chose to ignore the palpable tension, clearing his throat as he tossed something at each of his siblings, telling them, “Here. Hex bags. No way the angels will find us with those. Demons, either, for that matter.”
Dean tore his suspicious stare off Tabitha and turned it onto the bag in his hands, asking, “Where’d you get it?”
“I made it.”
“How?” Tabitha inquired, turning the hex bag over in her hands. She nearly tossed it back to her brother, knowing her charm bracelet and the sigils on her ribs hid her, but decided a little extra precaution was never a bad thing.
Both Tabitha and Dean looked up at their little brother when he paused just a little too long for their comfort.
“I…” he stuttered, trying to speak quickly to head off their suspicious looks. “I learned it from Ruby,” he finally admitted in a quiet voice.
Dean set his pistol on the table, taking a few steps towards Sam. “Speaking of… How you doing? Are you jonesing for another hit of bitch blood or what?”
Tabitha’s hand crept unconsciously up to cover the side of her neck, but when her younger brother’s eyes darted guiltily away from her, she made an effort to drop her hand.
“I—it’s weird,” Sam uncomfortably told them, shifting his weight from foot to foot like a guilty child. “Uh, tell you the truth, I’m fine. No shakes, no fever. It’s like whoever…put me on that plane cleaned me right up.”
Dean hadn’t missed the looks between his siblings, but casually commented, “Supernatural methadone.”
“Yeah, I guess,” Sam nervously agreed. “Tab, Dean—” he apologetically continued.
“Sam,” Dean broke in. “It’s okay. You don’t have to say anything.” He turned away as he spoke, trying to physically put the discussion behind him.
Sam gave a relieved chuckle. “Well, that’s good. Because what can I even say? ‘I’m sorry’? ‘I screwed up’? Doesn’t really do it justice, you know?”
Tabitha turned her attention towards her bag when she felt Sam look her way again.
“Not after what I did,” he continued with a meaningful look at her before he continued. “Look, there’s nothing I can do or say that will ever make this right—”
“So why do you keep bringing it up?!” Dean angrily broke in. He turned and stepped towards Sam again. “Look, all I’m saying is, why do we have to put this under a microscope? We made a mess. We clean it up. That’s it.”
“I’m with Dean,” Tabitha threw in. “It happened. We can’t undo it. Let’s just fix what happened and move on.”
Dean nodded in agreement. “All right, so, say this is just any other hunt. You know? What do we do first?”
Nodding his mutual agreement, Sam responded, “We’d, uh, figure out where the thing is.”
“All right. So we just got to find…” Dean heaved a sigh before finishing with, “the Devil.”
Tabitha moved over to the small table where Dean’s guns and ammo were laid out, sitting in one of the chairs as she commented, “Oh, sure. Piece of cake. We’ll just look him up in the Yellow Pages. Do you think he’s listed under ‘D’ for Devil, or ‘L’ for Lucifer, maybe even ‘S’ for Satan? Or hey, maybe we should look under the listings for ‘Hell.’ Could even be under Beelzebub, or—”
“We get it,” Dean broke in. “This isn’t going to be like looking for a demon or something. But come on, this is the Devil. There’s got to be some kind of lore that can help with how to find the Devil.” He looked between his siblings. “So, research. That oughta make the two of you happy.”
Tabitha rubbed at the tension in her forehead. “Sure. Research the Devil. I’m sure there’s lots of lore on him. Matter of fact, I’m pretty sure I heard that if you go down to Georgia and play the fiddle it’ll bring him right out.”
Ignoring her sarcasm, Dean admitted, “Okay, so it’s going to be hard finding reliable lore on the Devil. But we can start as soon as Bobby gets here with the Impala. And then you can start with that old bible of Mom’s that you’ve got. It’s been useful before. I’ll give Bobby a call again, too, see if he’s bringing anything else that might be useful and when he’s gonna get here.”
Bobby quickly engulfed Dean in a hug when he came through the motel door, slapping him on the back before moving on to sweep Tabitha in another hug.
“Good to see you kids all in one piece,” he told them as he moved on to hug Sam.
“You weren’t followed, were you?” Dean pressed as the siblings gathered around the older hunter.
“You mean by angels, demons, or Sam’s new superfan?”
Sam scoffed and looked away in embarrassment. “You heard?” he laughed.
“I heard, Romeo,” Bobby answered.
“I think it’s cute,” Tabitha snickered. “I mean, maybe you should go for her, Sam. She already knows everything about you and for some reason is still crazy for you. You guys could get hitched, and make giant, crazy little babies.”
Sam bumped his elbow playfully into his sister. “Yeah right,” he laughed. “Like I’d marry her in a million years.”
“So…” Bobby interrupted, driving the conversation back on topic. “Sword of Michael, huh?”
“That’s what superfreak said,” Tabitha confirmed.
Dean looked skeptical. “You think we’re talking about the actual sword from the actual archangel?”
“You better friggin’ hope so,” Bobby confirmed.
“Then let’s hit the lore books,” Sam answered. He jerked his head towards the door. “I’ll go grab what we’ve got in the car and whatever you brought, Bobby.”
“Oh! Grab my dark gray duffle bag, too, Sam. It has some extra clothes in it. Along with the Campbell family bible,” Tabitha told him.
“What do I look like? A pack mule?” he laughed a little incredulously.
“Naw, even better, you’re bigger than a pack mule,” she laughed, batting her lashes and giving a falsely sweet smile.
Bobby snorted, stepping towards the door with Sam. “I’ll help grab what I brought.”
Once the pair had gone out the door, Dean turned to his sister. “What do you think?”
“About what?” she wondered, her expression turning serious.
He shrugged a little, glancing towards the closed door. “Sam,” he confided. “He seem okay to you?”
She shrugged as well. “He seems torn up about what happened,” she thoughtfully answered. “But it’s not really his fault. We just need to figure this whole mess out together.”
Dean snorted derisively in return. Whether it was because he did blame their brother, or because he didn’t believe they could fix things, she couldn’t say. Bobby and Sam reentered the room before she had the chance to question her brother.
An hour later, Bobby was holding an old copy of a bible open on the table in front of them. “That’s Michael—” he pointed out, “toughest sumbitch they got.”
Tabitha and Sam leaned closer on either side of him to study the paintings of the archangel, sword held aloft, as Dean paced behind them and then leaned closer to look as well.
“You kidding me?” Dean scoffed. “Tough? That guy looks like Cate Blanchett.”
Bobby was serious as he answered, “Well, I wouldn’t want to meet him in a dark alley, believe me.” He pointed to the painting again. “He commands the Heavenly Host. During the last big dust-up upstairs, he’s the one who booted Lucifer’s ass to the basement. He did it with that sword. So if we can find it…”
“We can kick the Devil’s ass all over again,” Sam finished. Dean wandered away as Sam continued. “All right. So, where do we start?”
“Divvy up and start reading—try and make sense of Chuck’s nonsense.”
Bobby turned to Tabitha. “Anything useful in that bible of your momma’s?”
She walked over to the bed where she’d left her bag after changing into her own clothes, pulling it out as she answered. “I don’t remember reading anything about Michael’s sword,” she replied, staring dubiously at the large text in her hands. “And I’ve read everything in this thing that’s in English.”
“What about what’s not in English?” he pushed.
“Yeah, there are several parts in here that are in Latin, a few I think in Aramaic, and I’m not sure what else. Maybe some really old parts in Sumerian. I’ve been working on the Latin, but it’s all tiny, handwritten passages, and my Latin is still a bit rusty.”
“Better get on it then,” he warned her.
“I know. I know,” she answered, staring accusingly at the book in her hands and wondering if she should take a few aspirin in advance of the headache she knew would be coming her way from trying to translate the tiny print of the Latin passages.
A few hours later found Tabitha taking more aspirin to dull the pounding in her head that her first round of pills hadn’t staved off.
“You find anything yet?” Dean asked her as she pushed back from the table beside Bobby, leaning back and balancing her chair on its hind legs.
She crossed her arms over her face and forehead to shield her eyes from the glare of the cheap motel lighting as she tilted her head up towards the ceiling.
“Maybe,” she softly informed them, her words soft and reluctant. “If I had another year and 5 gallons a day of coffee to complete the translations.”
“What’s taking so long?” Dean dubiously asked. “Latin ain’t that difficult.” He lowered is voice a little as he asked, “Is it?”
Her chair dropped to the ground with a thud as she gave her older brother an annoyed look. “No. The Latin itself isn’t a problem. I managed to find a promising passage in here mentioning something about a sword killing a serpent.”
“‘Serpent’ being Lucifer?” Sam prompted as he leaned forward across the table from her.
“Yeah, I think so,” she confirmed, flipping the open text in front of her back several pages. “It talks in here something about that, but it’s kinda vague. Something about another…” She paused as she twirled her hand in the air, searching for the right words. “Verse…no…prophecy, I guess. Or at least it talks about the words of this prophet—” She flipped the pages forward again to a section with a different handwritten language in it. “—Nahara.”
“Na-who?” Dean parroted. “Whatever. What did this dude have to say?”
“Nahara,” Tabitha repeated. “And not dude—chick. Apparently there were female prophets, too, they just never seemed to get their works included in the widespread versions of the bible because they didn’t have a pair—”
“Anyway,” Dean headed her off before she could launch into her own feelings of the grossly unjust sexism of both the Old and New Testaments.
“Anyway,” she agreed. “This Nahara chick apparently wrote about the final downfall of Lucifer a long, long time ago. The Latin passage I read talks about the grave importance of her words, but doesn’t go on to translate them. It says something about not translating her words for fear of losing the ‘integrity of the deathly momentous importance of her words as given to her from God.’ Or something to that effect.”
“From God himself?” Sam asked.
“I guess,” she nodded.
“So what’s ‘her word’ have to say?” Dean impatiently pushed.
“No idea,” she huffed, pushing the book slightly away from her in frustration. “I’m doing my best to translate her words. It’s obviously been copied from what she originally wrote way back when, because this paper isn’t thousands of years old, but the language and dialect used here is. Like a thousand years or more before Jesus’s time. Ancient Aramaic is tough to translate anyway. But this…”
Dean turned towards Bobby at the table. “You’ve translated Aramaic before, right? It can’t be that hard. I mean, it was used in a lot of bibles, right?”
Bobby gave his a droll look. “More modern Aramaic isn’t that hard. It can be translated. But it is a pretty old language. Depends on how far back that prophet goes.”
Tabitha nudged the bible closer to Bobby. “Pretty far back,” she told them all. “I’m thinking like, eleventh, maybe twelfth century BC. Maybe older. Some of this stuff seems more archaic or even prehistoric compared to some of the old Biblical Aramaic I’ve seen.”
“This does seem pretty old,” Bobby confirmed. He leafed through the pages. “You’re right, this paper isn’t as old as the writing, but it’s still pretty darn old. Some of the stuff in here has been printed on a printing press and on paper only a hundred-fifty, maybe two hundred years old, but some of this stuff is considerably older.” He leaned back as he pushed the bible back her way. “What’d you say your momma told you about this thing? It almost looks like a Frankenstein work the way it’s been pieced together from so many different pieces.”
“I don’t know,” Tabitha shrugged. “I was only a couple of years old, Bobby. I just remember that she said it was her family’s bible.”
“Which we now know were hunters,” Dean pointed out. “We need to get on translating that thing. Whatever you translated from Latin makes it seem like it’s pretty darn important.”
“I know, I know,” she sighed. “I get it. Finding a way to stop the Devil is top of the to-do-list at the moment. I’m trying here.”
As they turned back to their books, Sam stood, mumbling about looking for another lore book as he stood up and walked across the motel room.
Tabitha heard her younger brother and Bobby talking to each other from across the room, but was so busily bent over the bible and another Aramaic reference piece she was using to piece together possible translations in a notebook that she didn’t pay them much heed.
“You’re damn right you didn’t listen.”
Tabitha looked up at the venom in Bobby’s voice, finally registering that she was alone at the table. Bobby had moved closer to stand in front of Sam. She darted a glance at Dean, quickly noticing his tense stance as he stood nearby, seeming ready to intervene if he needed to.
“You were reckless and selfish and arrogant,” Bobby angrily continued as Tabitha stared at his back between her and her younger brother.
“I’m sorry,” Sam tried to apologize.
“Oh yeah?” Bobby demanded. When the older man started to stalk even closer, Tabitha uneasily slipped to her feet, moving to stand beside Dean as she nervously waited to see what was happening. “You’re sorry you started Armageddon?” Bobby continued to growl. “This kind of thing don’t get forgiven, boy. If, by some miracle, we pull this off…I want you to lose my number.”
“Bobby!” Tabitha hissed from behind him, shocked by the continued venom Bobby was hurling at her brother. “That’s uncalled for!”
He ignored her outburst. “You understand me?” he continued to Sam.
Sam looked devastated, but nodded several times before stepping away. His voice was soft as he told them, “There’s an old church nearby. Maybe I’ll go read some of the old lore books there.”
“Yeah. You do that,” Bobby snidely told him.
Tabitha looked incredulously at her older brother for support, but he avoided her gaze, instead staring coldly forward at their younger brother as he started out of the motel room.
Twirling away, she stomped over to the table and grabbed her work, stacking them in her arms as she jogged after her brother. Dean grabbed at her arm to stop her, but she easily evaded his grip. “Don’t you dare,” she hissed.
“Where are you going?” he demanded.
“I can research just as well in an old church as I can here,” she answered.
“Just let him be by himself for a while,” Dean told her, his arms folded over his chest in his usual thou-shall-listen-to-me pose.
Tabitha paused in the doorway to glare back at the men still in the room. “God save me from testosterone-fueled, pig-headed stupidity and maliciousness. What’s done is done. Treating him this way isn’t going to change what happened. So let’s just get on with fixing things. Besides, Sam’s punishing himself just fine on his own. We don’t need to heap more on him. I’ll admit I’ve been mad, too, and said things I shouldn’t have, but he’s still our little brother. You can’t keep pushing him away without breaking him, Dean.”
Looking away, Dean whispered, “I’m not even sure he’s still our brother.”
She snorted. “And maybe that’s the difference between brothers and sisters. Sisters know that no matter what’s been done, it doesn’t change what really matters. He’s still our little brother. That’ll never change. No matter how lost he’s gotten.” She looked him up and down before adding, “Or how lost you’ve gotten for that matter.”
Sam was partway down the block when she finally caught up with him. She nearly commented on his stride being too long for hers when he slowed and shortened his stride to accommodate her, silently allowing her to fall in step beside him. She didn’t say anything to him in return, just handed him a few of her books with a grin, letting him share the load with her as she showed him in her own way that she was still with him.
He didn’t speak as they walked to the church. And she didn’t speak as they began their research in the basement of the old church together.
They again shared the burden of carrying Tabitha’s books several hours later as they made their way back to the motel.
“You find anything more?” Sam quietly asked, breaking the comfortable silence they’d held since leaving the motel together hours before.
“A little,” she admitted. “Just not sure of all my translations yet.” She jerked her thumb back the way they’d come. “That old bible that priest gave me back there might be helpful though. It’s not quite the same Aramaic as what I’m working on, but it might be enough closer to that time-period of Aramaic that I might be able to make better educated guesses at translating this. There’s something about war or fighting. And something I think about Armageddon or End Times I think.”
Sam shook his head slightly, repeating, “‘Educated guesses’ sounds kinda dangerous when we’re dealing with defeating the Devil himself. Nothing about a castle on a hill of forty-two dogs?”
Knowing he was as worried as she was, she shrugged and nonchalantly replied, “Nothing about that. But you know… We’re Winchesters. We improvise and fly by the seat of our pants, anyway. We’ll figure out what Chuck meant.”
Sam stopped so suddenly, that Tabitha overshot him by two steps before she swung back to look curiously up at her brother.
“What?” she asked. Seeing the tense lines of his jaw, she stepped closer. “What’s wrong?”
“Whatever it is you’re not telling us…I get if you don’t trust me. After what I did… But you should at least tell Dean. I think I’ve proven what a disaster secrets are.”
The sudden topic change startled her, but the way her brother’s eyes darted around and avoided her told her how upset and guilty her brother still felt about what he’d done.
Truthfully, she felt her own guilt, too. She’d felt justified in snapping at Sam when he’d last brought up what she wasn’t telling them about her blood, but after seeing Bobby and Dean so coldly dismiss him, she felt less than righteous now. More like she’d kicked a puppy.
Mimicking his nervous stance, she looked down and shifted her feet as she admitted, “I know. But there have been enough blows at the moment. Let’s just deal with this for now. I’ll figure out what to say. Find a way to tell Dean.”
Risking a glance up, she saw Sam staring down with a frown. “You can’t keep whatever this is secret forever.”
She saw the hurt in his eyes as he assumed she didn’t trust him enough to tell him what was going on.
“Remember when that demon grabbed me back at my place in Virginia?”
His face registered his surprise at her confiding in him before he nodded. “Yeah. Why?”
“I told you guys that she started to mark something on my arm, but Cas showed up and stopped her before she finished?” When he nodded, she continued in a rush, “I think there was demon blood in it.”
Sam’s face dropped in shock and horror. Rather than stand under his stare, Tabitha turned and began walking briskly back towards the motel.
He fell in step with her before she reached the end of the block.
“Guess we’re both freaks, huh?” she whispered in a wooden voice, trying to keep her own fear out.
“You need to tell Dean,” he repeated.
Shaking her head, she repeated, “One blow at a time, remember?”
She expected Sam to lecture her again, but he held his tongue as they entered the motel.
“I’m glad Cas kept that demon from finishing whatever she was trying to do to you,” he finally whispered to her.
Swallowing hard, she spoke through the lump suddenly lodged in her throat. “Me, too. I just wish I could have done something for him before…”
Sam looked down at her as they walked. “I can see why you became friends with him, I guess. He saved your bacon a few times, huh?” His expression tightened as they neared their room. “Or was it more than that?” he started to ask.
“A few hours,” she whispered to herself.
“What?” Sam murmured, confused by her utterance to herself.
But a few hours without thinking about the angel was all she’d gotten. And she couldn’t help but wonder if that was the best she would get. Would he always swim back to the forefront of her thoughts? Would he always be there just below the surface?
“Never mind,” she muttered.
“Are you all right, Tab?”
Before she could respond, they heard raised voices and crashes from inside their room. Sam pushed through the door first. He started forward when they saw a man attacking Dean and Bobby lying on the floor, but as Sam rushed through the doorway, he fell back as a phone connected with his face.
Grabbing his shoulders from behind, Tabitha held him upright for a moment as a brunet woman stalked closer.
“Heya, Sammy,” she greeted. “You miss me? ‘Cause I sure missed you.”
“Meg,” he whispered.
Peering around her brother, Tabitha tried to place the woman, but had never seen the shorter woman dressed in dark clothes and a black leather jacket.
“Who the hell is Meg?” she demanded.
“Oh, you never told your sister about me? I’m hurt,” the woman—Meg—clucked in falsely hurt tones.
“Demon,” Sam whispered before pushing forward and taking a swing at the woman.
His aim sailed over her head as the woman ducked under his fist, but Tabitha stepped behind her brother as Meg knocked him back with an uppercut, pushing him out of the way as she grabbed the woman by the shoulders and drove her knee up into the demon’s face.
Meg twisted and touched her fingers to her bloody nose. “Mmm, that tingles in all the right places,” she intoned with a purr.
When the demon launched forward, Tabitha twisted and sidestepped, letting her momentum carry her past as Tabitha delivered a low punch to the woman’s kidney. Unfortunately, the blow didn’t stun her the way a normal human would have been, and Meg took advantage of the proximity to drive her elbow up into Tabitha’s face.
Sam stepped in as Tabitha held her bleeding nose, yelling at her, “I’ll handle her. Check on Bobby.”
Tabitha fell to her knees beside Bobby as Dean yanked Ruby’s knife from the man’s stomach, stabbing it into the demon he’d been struggling with. Blood immediately pooled around the wound, and with shaking hands, Tabitha pressed her palms over the hauntingly familiar wound. Her eyes connected with Bobby’s pain-filled gaze, and she thought she saw a flicker of remembrance for the way she knelt near him and staunched the bleeding wound in his stomach.
A scream filled the air, and Tabitha looked over her shoulder to see Meg smoking out of the poor woman she’d been possessing.
Dean crouched beside her then, his lip cut and bloody, but otherwise whole as he assessed Bobby.
“We need to get him to a hospital,” she shakily told her brothers. “What happened? How’d he get stabbed?”
“Did it himself,” Dean grimly informed her. “He’d been possessed since he got here. But somehow Bobby took control enough to stab himself and kill the demon.”
She couldn’t wrap her head around it, but she knew one thing. “He needs help. Now.”
Nodding, Dean ordered their brother, “Get over here, Sam. Help me get him up.”
Bobby was still conscious as they stumbled through the doors of the nearest ER, but Tabitha knew it was by stubborn will alone that the man was still on his feet.
“What happened?” a nurse demanded as her brothers helped Bobby in.
“He was stabbed!” Dean shouted.
The middle-aged nurse took charge of the situation, quickly ordering, “Can we get a gurney?”
As Bobby was wheeled away from the siblings, the nurse barred their path from following him.
“Just wait here,” she ordered them used to being obeyed.
“No, no, we—we can’t just leave him!” Sam frantically answered.
The nurse looked at them with suspicious eyes. “Just don’t move. I’ve got questions.”
As the nurse walked away, Dean told them, “Sammy, Tab, we got to go.”
“No. No way, Dean,” Sam argued.
“The demons heard where the sword is. We got to get to it before they do. If we’re not too late already.”
Tabitha suddenly felt her shoulder jostle as she stared through the doorway where they’d taken Bobby.
“Come on!” Dean yelled at her, trying to jar her attention away. She finally looked back at them.
“You guys go. I’ll stay with him. I can’t leave him,” she replied in an unsteady voice, staring down now at her hands once more covered in the man’s blood. “This can’t happen again,” she whispered to herself as she struggled to stop her shaking hands. “He can’t die.” But Castiel was no longer around to save the old man she loved like a father.
“There will be a lot of questions,” Dean warned her, seeming torn but wavering on letting her stay and forcing her to go with so he knew where she was.
She wiped at her nose, covering her hand in more blood. “I’ll think of something. I just can’t leave him here alone if…” she answered in a dull tone.
“Come on, Sam,” Dean ordered again. “We’ve got to find the sword before they do. Tab will watch out for Bobby.”
Tabitha finally looked up. “You know where it is?”
“One of dad’s storage units in Upstate New York. Castle Storage. 42 Rover Hill.”
She snorted when Chuck’s message finally made sense. “Hill of 42 dogs,” she bitterly laughed to herself. She turned back to Dean. “Go,” she ordered. “Find the sword and stop this mess before anyone else dies.”
Dean kissed her forehead, whispering, “Be safe.” He pulled away and looked at her again with a slight frown. “Get that nose checked. Looks broken.”
“You guys be safe, too,” she called after their retreating forms.
Her brothers were gone when the suspicious nurse stopped in front of her again. Tabitha quickly calculated how to best lower the woman’s suspicions, and though she hated to play the card, she knew crying and distraught victim would get to anyone.
With the ease of a sister that had played that card when outmatched by bigger and stronger brothers, Tabitha let her face crumple and the waterworks begin. It had been a long time since she’d cried on cue—a ploy her father had actually taught her since there was no better trick for distracting people than a crying little girl—but she had no trouble bringing her tears to the surface. All it took was releasing the tenuous hold she’d held on her tears for too long anyway. As Tabitha broke down in front of the woman, the older nurse predictably wrapped her arm around the younger and vulnerable woman. The protective instinct overtaking her suspicious one as she shushed Tabitha and tried to soothe her.
As the nurse led her to a curtained bay in the ER and set her on bed to begin cleaning at her still bloody nose, Tabitha continued to allow the woman to comfort her. She shed every tear she’d been holding in, and accepted the woman’s comfort for things the woman knew nothing about. Allowing her fear for Bobby to wash over her, and letting her mournful tears for Castiel’s death to finally fall.
But as the woman squatted in front of her and probed Tabitha’s nose to check it’s alignment, she finally began to ask her questions.
“Now, what happened, dear?” she kindly asked.
“Is he gonna be all right?” Tabitha asked instead, her voice nasally from the gauze around her nose.
The nurse stared at her for a moment, but finally relented. “The man you came in with was being taken straight to surgery. I don’t know anything yet.” And then she waited for Tabitha to answer her questions.
For another moment, Tabitha let her face fall into her hands, struggling to close the dam she’d opened in an effort to gain the sympathies of the nurse, but once she’d stuffed her feeling down again, she began relating to the nurse, “I was mugged. This guy in a ski mask came out of nowhere. And…and he hit me when I tried to hold onto my purse.” She gestured to her nose where the nurse had packed gauze to stem the bleeding. “My dad tried to stop him…but…but that man stabbed him!” she tearfully related. She cast about for how to finish the story, knowing she couldn’t say her brothers were really her brothers since they’d now disappeared. “Those two men heard me shouting and helped me get my father here. I should have just let him have my stupid purse.” She wiped at her eyes, quickly demanding, “Is he going to be okay? Can I see him?”
The nurse patted her shoulder as she stood. “I’ll go check on him. But it’s probably going to be a while before you can see him.”
Tabitha stood as well. “I want to come with.”
The nurse hesitated. “You should really be checked out by one of the ER doctors.”
“No. I’ll wait for my father to come out of surgery.”
Seeing her resolve, the nurse finally relented and gestured for Tabitha to follow her to another part of the hospital.
“You can wait here, but you should probably get some sleep. You look like you could use it, dear.”
Tabitha sat in the empty waiting room the nurse had brought her to, but vowed to herself that she wouldn’t sleep until she knew whether or not Bobby was all right. But fatigue soon overtook her, and as she closed her eyes, she knew he might not be. Castiel had been there to save the day last time, and she still couldn’t get used to the fact that he was truly gone. And Bobby might soon be joining him.
As she drifted off, she prayed again. For some kind of miracle. For her and her brothers to find a way to stop Lucifer. For Bobby to be all right. For Castiel…
“You need to accept that he’s really gone.”
Tabitha turned on her lounge chair to look at the woman beside her.
“I know, Pam,” she sullenly answered. “I know. But it’s still hard for my heart to accept that I’ll never see him again. Things were left so…unresolved between us. My heart wants to tear open and bleed just to get the mourning over with, but I’m afraid if I really truly let myself go now, I’ll never be able to stop it.”
Pamela turned onto her side, her eyes once more whole and beautiful as she propped her head up with her elbow on the wooden lounge chair, ignoring the gorgeous view of the ocean laid out in front of them.
“But he is gone now, sweetie,” Pamela answered. “And things are only gonna get tougher from here on out.”
She gave a small nod of agreement, but asked Pamela something else she’d been wondering about for some time. “Is this what Heaven’s like? It’s not so bad if it is.”
The former psychic seemed to hesitate, but finally said, “For some. Heaven is whatever makes you happiest. Maybe this could be yours. Every human has a place in Heaven.”
“What about angels?”
She hesitated again, but admitted, “Heaven is for humans. At least it becomes their final home. Angels were meant to watch over Heaven for them—to be caretakers, I suppose. But it’s not truly theirs.”
Tabitha turned on her side to mimic her friend’s pose. “What happens to angels that die?”
“I don’t know,” came her friend’s answer. “But I’m sure God must have something in store.”
But there was the slightest hesitation and uncertainty in her friend’s eyes.
Still, it was nice to see her friend again.
“I’ve missed you, Pam.”
“Things are pretty bad down there, huh?” Pamela sympathized, sitting up in her lounge chair and looking across the ocean again.
Tabitha followed her into a sitting position, absently tugging on her white bikini strap as she admitted, “Things have gotten pretty confusing down there.”
“It doesn’t have to be,” Pamela suddenly told her.
Both women turned to sit sideways on their chairs facing each other. Tabitha knew she had many fond memories of swimming and sun tanning at the beach, but she’d never seen her friend in a swimsuit before. But in the strange way of dreams, it seemed perfectly normal that he friend was lounging at the beach in faded jeans and a black tank top.
“I don’t understand what you’re saying,” Tabitha told her.
“You will,” Pamela smiled in an almost matronly way. “All you have to do, is protect your brothers for now. You’ll understand more when the time comes.” She reached out to pull Tabitha’s hands into her own. Telling her, “I’ll never lie to you. And I’ll help you where I can. I know your greatest wish now is to protect your brothers. I understand that. And I’ll help you do that if you help me.”
“Help you what?” Tabitha asked, confused by what her friend was saying. She seemed so different from the woman she’d known. Had Heaven changed her so much that she suddenly seemed like someone else?
“Sisters have to make hard choices sometimes to protect their brothers, but that’s why God gave those boys sisters. Because in the end, sisters are the only ones strong enough to make the hard choices for the betterment of everyone. Because we love them enough to do anything for them.”
“What? I don’t understand,” Tabitha replied, feeling uneasy as she tried to slide back and slip her hands away.
Pamela held her grip though, leaning forward to tell her, “They won’t really hurt your brothers—not permanently—but you need to understand. The sword isn’t a thing. It’s a who. Dean is the sword. He’s Michael’s vessel. And you need to keep Michael from taking Dean. Don’t let him say yes to Michael. Lucifer will find a vessel; he’s almost there. But you can’t let the battle between Lucifer and Michael get launched. Too much suffering will begin. When the time comes—when you’re finally ready—we’ll fix it all. We’ll stop all the suffering. We’ll stop it all.”
“Miss?” Tabitha jerked awake as a doctor in a white coat and green scrubs crouched in front of her. She wiped at her eyes and the vestiges of her strange dream as she sat up from where she’d curled sideways on the plastic waiting room chairs to demand, “Is he all right?”
“He’ll be waking up soon. But you should come with me so I can explain a few things,” the doctor kindly told her.
She cursed his kindness. Doctors never had anything good to say when they pulled out the overly kind eyes.
Tabitha stepped out into the hallway as she paced and nervously attempted to block out Bobby’s angry shouting at the doctors and hospital staff in his room. The doctors and staff fled his angry shouts and denials about his prognosis, but she wasn’t surprised. Bobby was gruff on his best day. But most people weren’t accustomed to it. And this was not a good day.
“Is that Bobby doing all the hollering and scaring people off?”
Tabitha whirled around at Dean’s voice, pulling both of her brothers tightly into her arms before they could react. Sam had to bend down to accommodate her, but she was never more relieved to know they were both safe and well.
“They’re saying he won’t ever walk again,” she confided in a hushed voice.
Her brothers jerked back with twin looks of horror, knowing that to a man like Bobby, death might have been preferable.
“He’s tough,” Sam hastened to assure her. “He’ll get through this.”
Dean shared their sister’s dubious look.
Tabitha swiped nervous hands across her cheeks in an effort to wipe away the threat of tears, asking them instead, “What happened? You guys were vague on the details when you called. You said it was a trap. How’d you get away from the angels?”
Her brothers pulled back more as Dean suspiciously told her, “I didn’t say it was angels that set the trap.”
She looked around the hallway and gestured them off to the side as she told them in hushed tones, “I just assumed it was. Look, I had this strange…dream…I guess.”
“Dream?” Sam repeated.
“Yeah. Pamela was in it. She said that Dean was the sword, and she warned me that we couldn’t let you become Michael’s vessel. So I just assumed it was angels looking to trap you since that message first came from our prophet, Chuck.”
“Pamela told you that? In a dream?” Dean slowly repeated.
“I’m not crazy, so don’t look at me that way,” she snapped.
Dean glanced around the hallway before he told her, “Well, whatever crazy reason you were having dreams about Pamela, it wasn’t a warning I needed to be told. I’m not letting that dick wear me like a condom for anything they can give me. Michael and Lucifer go at it, and they’ll tear this planet to shreds. Still, we were lucky Cas showed up when he did. Zachariah about tore us to shreds trying to force a ‘yes’ out of me.”
Her breath left her lungs in a rush as she felt her stomach plummet. Certain she’d heard wrong, she blindly reached out to steady herself against the wall with one hand as she asked, “What did you say?”
“Cas. He saved our asses. I guess God brought him back to life…or so he says. Not sure what I believe.”
She felt her legs shake beneath her as Sam reached out to steady her.
“Jesus, Tab,” Sam cursed as he held her up by her elbow. “Are you okay? We thought you’d be happy to know Cas was okay.”
Dean bent down and tilted his head to peer up into her face as she began to double over. “Christ,” he swore. “Are you crying? You never cry unless me or Sam have done something. What’s going on? This is a good thing. Right?”
She dumbly touched her cheeks to find that she was indeed crying. Though she tried to assure them she was fine, her mouth only hung open in a strangled silence.
“I can’t believe him,” she finally whispered. “He didn’t…” —bother to tell me, she finished silently. But why had she expected differently? Why had she let herself hope for something more? He was still an angel after all. He’d said he would have had feelings for her if he could. Maybe she’d fooled herself in thinking that meant he did have some kind of feelings. Maybe he was incapable of feelings for her.
Dean glanced between his siblings before he cautiously told her, “I know you’ve been on and off with hating the angels, but you were damn near catatonic at Cas’s death. Why are you so upset now that he’s alive?”
“I need some air,” she told them as she shook out of their grips. “It’s fantastic that he’s fine,” she tried to assure them. Their dubious looks said she wasn’t successful in trying to seem fine.
“Then why are you still crying?” Sam demanded.
She blotted at her cheeks. “I’m just overwhelmed with everything,” she tried to explain. “Go see Bobby. I’m gonna get some air.”
Overwhelmed didn’t begin to cover her emotions. She was elated at the news that Castiel was alive, truly she was, but she couldn’t seem to shake the burning hurt that pierced her heart at the same time.
She’d prayed for this kind of miracle. So why did it now feel like she’d had another hole ripped into her heart?
A/N: Sorry for the delay! Summer is hectic for me.
But we’re finally into season 5. There’s been a lot of angst so far (and there will be more) but I do have some fun stuff planned for this part, too.
And some mysteries to unravel. Like, what was that dream all about? And what did Nahara write about a few thousand years ago? Hmmmm…
We’ll find out!
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