Chapter 10: You Don’t Know What You’re Missing Now


“So you’re telling us that you’re Satan’s bitch now?”

Tabitha frowns at her older brother’s summation. But she’s not quite certain that his statement is altogether inaccurate.

“I fail to see what a female canine has to do with your sister’s predicament,” Castiel grumbles from his corner of the kitchen.

After a glance spared in his direction, Tabitha turns back to her brothers and Bobby gathered in a circle around the kitchen table.

They’d all still been too shocked by the events in Carthage to speak of anything when they’d returned to Bobby’s the night before. Even the old hunter had welcomed them with a grievous silence, knowing with one look enough of the events that had transpired. Together, they’d gathered around the flames of Bobby’s fireplace, silently toasting to the fallen hunters.

Bobby had held the photo he’d taken before the group left, and then cast it into the flames. The only hunter’s rights that they could afford the departed mother and daughter. And one by one, they’d slipped away to take their solace in silence and solitude.

Though Tabitha had hoped she would find her angel waiting for her upstairs, she’d trudged up to her room, only to find it painfully empty. And even after she’d curled up under the covers, Castiel had not appeared. Instead, she had been left alone to console herself, only her own arms to wrap around her body in a feeble attempt to hold it all together.

Long into the night, she’d lain awake, waiting…hoping…needing Castiel to come and just hold her tight.

Just before she was about to drift off into a weary slumber, her eyes had caught the movement of her door easing noiselessly open. And in the pale twilight of the moon, her eyes had tracked Castiel silently ghosting into her cluttered space. He’d stood at her bed, staring down at her with an inscrutable gaze. The movement of his hands caught her gaze though, twisting and knotting in his trench coat.

After a moment of silent contemplation, Tabitha had rolled onto her side, lifting the covers in unspoken invitation. Her angel silently accepted, climbing in, coat and all, and curling into her body as he clung desperately to her smaller form.

For hours, she’d longed for him to come hold her tight and tell her that everything would be all right. Yet as she’d drifted into a restless sleep early that morning, it had been her hands smoothing across the angel’s temple as he pressed his face to her chest, and it had been her voice softly whispering reassuring words as she faded into sleep.

By morning, she’d been alone in her bed once more, left wondering if she’d imagined the angel coming to her bed for comfort. With no clear answer in her mind, she’d plodded down the stairs to the kitchen, and the sight to greet her had been that of the guys gathered around the table as they waited for her.

In dull tones, she’d done her best to explain what had happened and why she hadn’t run from Lucifer like Dean had shouted at her. It was difficult to put into words the compulsion she’d felt to heed his orders though. Somewhere in her telling, Castiel had appeared in the corner of the kitchen, a silent totem listening to the story.

“You’re sayin’ that when the Devil said jump, you had to say ‘how high?'” Bobby asks, startling Tabitha from her thoughts.

“I don’t know. Something like that,” she mumbles, wishing the conversation would just end.

Sam stares at her in a kind of stupefied shock, but Dean looks thunderous.

His hand slams down on the table as he launches to his feet, and Tabitha thinks to herself that she’d been spot on about his expression.

In an angry burst, he bellows, “When the hell is this family going to catch a break?!”

He crosses the kitchen in halting steps. “There’s gotta be some way to break this thing—this mark or whatever—right, Cas?”

Castiel still stares at his feet from the corner he leans against, his arms crossed over his chest. Lowly, he answers, “I don’t know of anything that can break Lucifer’s mark. And even were I not cut off from Heaven, I would be nowhere near strong enough to attempt dampening it.”

“So he can just find her like she’s a lost set of keys, and she’s gonna stay marked by the Devil ’til when, Hell freezes over?”

“Nothing will break his mark. Nothing can mitigate it. He will always have control of her.”

Suddenly restless, Tabitha springs to her feet, pacing at the opposite end of the kitchen from Dean. “So he can control me anytime he wants?” she asks, cringing when her voice borders on a high-pitched hysteria.

Sam shoves back from the table so he can twist to face his siblings. “Does that mean he knows everything you’re doing? Like, listen in on you, too?”

Tabitha stops dead at his questions, the implications slowly sinking in.

In a hush, she whispers, “If he knows all of our plans before we try to go after him…”

“We’re screwed,” Dean fills in.

Legs suddenly feeling like Jell-O, Tabitha slides bonelessly to the floor, her back against the cabinets.

“Holy damn sonofabitch shit,” she whispers incoherently to herself.

When only grunts of assent meet her explicative stream, she finally looks up, and tells them the only option she can see.

“I’ve gotta die.”

A pin dropping in the next room could have shattered the resounding and weighty silence that hangs like a pall in the air.

“That’s just about the stupidest thing I ever—”

Tabitha cuts off Bobby’s angry rant, slamming her fist against her drawn up knee as she looks up at their surrogate father. “You think I want to die, Bobby? But what choice have we got now?” she demands.

Tears sting her eyes, but she jabs them away angrily, still staring up into Bobby’s closed off expression as she tells him, “What other choice have we got? Lucifer marked me. He could be listening in on me even as we speak or using me to find your place here and come get Sammy. It was bad enough before when it was just Azrael after me trying to get me to say ‘yes’ to her. Now I’ve got two angels on my shoulders, both trying to lay claim to me. I’m done. Worse than useless now. I’m as big a threat to you guys as anything. So there’s no other options that I can see.”

“This is ridiculous,” Sam growls with a mixture of incredulity and anger. “I’m not letting you die just to save me. There’s got to be another way to fix this than you dying, Tab.”

“Damn right there is!” Dean booms.

His boots pound heavily across the kitchen as he comes to loom over his sister where she sits on the floor. “You stop that kind of talk and thinking right now. We’ll figure this out. We’ll stop the Devil, stop the Apocalypse, and we’ll get that damn thing off you somehow.”

Head cranked back on her neck to stare up at her brother, she demands, “How? We’ve completely stalled out on how to stop or kill the Devil, and now this?!” She jerks her t-shirt away, revealing the brand on her chest as it disappears slightly into the cup of her bra. “I’d say we slice this thing off, but something tells me it won’t be that easy.”

“It won’t.”

Dean swivels to look at Castiel in the corner of the kitchen, forcing Tabitha to lean sideways, stretching an arm along the kitchen floor to peer around her brother’s legs at the angel.

Seeing all eyes on him, the angel continues. “The brand is not upon her flesh only. It is emblazoned on her very soul.”

Tabitha leans back against the cabinet again, her head thunking against the chipped paint and eyes closing against the utter hopelessness of the situation.

Defiantly, Dean replies, “We’ll find a way to scrub that damn thing off her. All the way to her soul. We’ll hunker down here and figure something out.”

With a derisive snort, Tabitha tells him, “You said it, Dean; he’s got me SatanJacked just like a damn BMW. He can find me, and control me. You’re right; I’m screwed. But there’s no reason you guys should be, too. There’s a surefire way to fix this.”

“No!” Dean yells, startling her enough to open her eyes to stare up at him.

He returns to looming over her on the floor again. “We are not killing you, and you sure as hell aren’t killing yourself, Tabitha. Just…no.”

“What’s our options?” she argues, “If this will work—”

“It won’t!” Castiel shouts, his voice booming in an angry shout to rival Dean’s previous outburst.

From his place still propped in the corner, Castiel leans forward, staring into her eyes as he tells her, “If you were to die now, your soul might very well be sent to Hell, and then simply handed over to Lucifer for him to resurrect. And even if his mark upon your soul allowed you entry into Heaven, it would be a tossup whether Michael’s followers would obliterate you to keep Azrael from her vessel, or whether her followers would find you and deliver you directly into her hands.”

Tabitha’s eyes narrow on him across the expanse of the kitchen, deciding to latch onto anger instead of the terror the slithers through her heart at his pronouncement.

In a hiss, she tells him, “And you and I both know just why it would be so bad if Azrael gets her way, don’t we, Castiel? Or at least I understand now that Lucifer told me just how she’d stop things and why that would be so bad.”

She can feel her brothers glance back and forth between them as the angel’s eyes drop guiltily to the ground, but her eyes don’t move from him as he stands in silence, no rebuttal to her angry accusation.

“Wanna fill us in?” Dean grouses. “What else are we missing?” Left unspoken was, What are we missing now?

Seeing that Castiel isn’t going to reply to her, she tears her eyes away, looking up at her older brother as she explains, “Azrael is a goddamn global nuclear warhead. That’s how she plans to stop the fighting between her brothers. By killing everyone and everything. And I mean everything. I’m talking Heaven and Hell, too. Complete annihilation of everything in existence. And I’m the key. She can’t get liftoff without me.”

Dean’s mouth falls open in a slack-jawed shock.

Pushing up to her knees, she presses, “See why we’ve got to do something to…I don’t know…neutralize me or something. If Azrael gets a hold of me now that Lucifer marked me, he’ll have control of her power. Just like we saw in the future. He can target her power and make her destroy the human population. Of course, even if he can’t control her, she wants to do worse.”

A hand that shakes passes over Dean’s head, and his voice is unsteady as he tells her, “You heard Cas. You dying isn’t going to fix any of that. It’ll only deliver you into the hands of one of those dickhead angels.”

Tabitha looks away, and then glances to the corner of the kitchen where the other angel on her shoulder had been. But the corner is empty. Her angel disappeared.

With her own shaking hand, Tabitha shoves back her loose blond hair, turning back to her brothers as she asks, “Then what else can we do?”

“We’ll hit the books,” Bobby assures her, pushing his wheelchair away from the table and heading into his living room where lore books scatter every flat surface.

“And we won’t stop looking until we find something that’s useful,” he promises.

It’s nearly dark again when the last vestiges of promise and hope seep out of Tabitha. For hours, the four of them had been pouring through every book in Bobby’s house. But so far, nothing had been helpful. Sam had long since abandoned the books in favor of looking through the more vast lore online, but not even he was finding anything that proved useful.

She’d done her best to concentrate on the books in front of her, but even without her brothers and Bobby worriedly looking at her every few minutes like they’d been doing most of the day, she can’t seem to fully concentrate.

Somehow, she’d hoped that Castiel would show up again with some kind of news or some miraculous idea that might help her situation out, but he’d disappeared, and hadn’t returned since.

Her phone rings in her jean’s pocket, forcing Tabitha to push the book in her lap aside as she maneuvers on the floor to pull her cellphone free. With a frown at the screen, she swipes her finger across the button designating “Ignore” and shoves the phone back into her pocket.

“What’s the deal with you sleeping with guys whose names start with ‘C’?” Sam asks.

Startled by his closeness over her shoulder, Tabitha jumps, dislodging the book from her lap as she twists to look up at Sam leaning over the back of the empty couch between them and over her shoulder.

She stutters for a moment, wondering when Ellen could have possibly told her brother about her and Castiel.

“Wh-what, I-uh, what’re you talking about?”

Sam smirks at her flustered response, gesturing towards the phone she’d replaced in her pocket.

“Cort,” he explains. “That’s about the fourth time today you’ve ignored his call. I know you and Dean think I didn’t know about the stuff you guys were up to when we were kids, but I knew you, you know, dated Cort years ago. And then you spent those months in New Orleans with him a while back. I just find it funny that you seem to have a thing for guys with names that start with ‘C.’ Cort, Collin, and wasn’t your FBI partner of yours named Casey? And from what you said, you guys were more than just partners.”

And now Castiel, she thinks to herself.

Picking up her displaced book, she plasters a forced smile on her face as she tells her younger brother, “Oh, well, I guess I just started down the alphabet looking for a good man, and just kinda got stuck at the third letter. Lots of good ones there.” A nervous laugh escapes as she turns back to her book, watching in her peripheral as her younger brother goes into Bobby’s kitchen and starts poking around for something to eat.

Good luck finding anything palatable in a kitchen owned by Bobby Singer, she laughingly thinks to herself.

She attempts immersing herself in her current book again, but finds she can’t keep her mind on it. Despite her brothers’ insistence that they’ll figure out a way to keep her away from the two angels vying for control of her, she can’t help but think that she’s screwed. As far as Lucifer is concerned anyway.

But maybe she can convince Azrael now that her plans are over. With Lucifer’s mark emblazoned on her skin—and according to Castiel, her soul—she’s been rendered virtually useless to Azrael.

If she can get one angel off her shoulder, maybe it won’t be so hard to convince Lucifer that she’s useless to him, too.

She feels the phone in her pocket vibrate again, indicating that Cort has left a message. Again.

Thoughts on him and New Orleans, several plans begin to formulate in her mind.

There are several things that need to be done, she considers to herself.

But first things first, she tells herself. No matter what my brothers say, until I figure a few things out, I’m too much of a danger to them. They’re the ones that are going to have to stop Lucifer now, and I can’t be here to keep jeopardizing any plans they might come up with.

She stands quietly, glancing around to see if anyone looks her way. And when she finds that none of the guys has their attention directed at her, she turns to silently slip from the house.

The night is quiet and still on this cold winter’s night in South Dakota, but every little sound seems amplified to Tabitha’s ears, until she’s almost certain the hooting of a nearby barn owl will surely alert her brothers and Bobby.

It somehow seems miraculous to her when she makes it out to one of Bobby’s old outbuildings, and that the sound of the creaking doors don’t alert anyone of her actions. And when no one comes, she eases around her Mustang.

She checks all the wheel-wells and finds nothing, but when she eases under the car from behind, she finds a tracking device under the trunk near the framework of the car.

Setting it aside, she chuckles, “FBI taught me well how to search a car, Bobby.”

With one last look spared in the direction of Bobby’s house, she climbs into the car and drives away, going through Bobby’s lot and out a back entrance in the hopes of keeping them from noticing her departure for a while longer.

She’s left a lot of her things behind at Bobby’s, but she’s comforted by the thought that her trunk holds a hunter’s version of her old standby FBI Go-bag. It holds everything she could possibly need. Cloths, money, a few burner phones, and plenty of firepower.

That and the open road ahead of her are all she needs to begin her plans.

“You certainly pick some interesting scenery for us to meet.”

Tabitha remains reclined on the worn duvet of her motel bed, thin and rough to her skin, but no different from every other motel she’s stayed in over the years.

With her hands still casually intertwined behind her head on the lumpy pillow, she affects a careless shrug.

“I do my best,” she tonelessly assures the angel.

Azrael wanders around the motel room for a few moments before heaving a sigh and sinking down onto the bed across from Tabitha.

You called me here,” the angel reminds her.

Sitting up, Tabitha nods slowly, trying to keep her calm.

“That I did,” she agrees. “To tell you that you can call your dogs off me and give up on trying to get a hold of me. Your plans are useless now.”

Though it’s still strange to see Azrael in the image of her friend Pamela, Tabitha has been mentally cataloging the differences between the two for some time. Her manner had seemed off the very first time Tabitha had seen Azrael in her dreams and thought it was her deceased friend, but it was hard to put her finger on for a long time. Even harder to quantify. She realizes now that the biggest difference is how quiet Azrael is. Pamela had been so animated in life. Her movements and even her facial expressions had been like an ocean tide. Ever changing and ever moving.

Azrael was still. Like the icy surface of a winter pond. Hard and unchanging on the surface, but she suspects it hides a wealth of depth and emotion as well.

“I don’t see why my plans would be useless,” Azrael finally comments, crossing one jean clad leg over her other knee.

Tabitha finally leans forward a bit, pulling her black Led Zeppelin t-shirt away to expose the brand stamped on her chest.

The angel’s eyes darken as she looks at it, and then she mutters something that Tabitha is beginning to recognize as Enochian.

“See,” Tabitha presses, releasing her t-shirt and leaning back to brace her hands behind her on the bed. “I’m no use to you now. You jump in me, and Lucifer’s gonna have us both on his leash. So you might as well give up on this crap and let my brother’s do their thing.”

After several minutes of silence, Azrael crosses her arms over her black tank top, frowning slightly at Tabitha.

“Lucifer isn’t in control of you right now.”

“He sure as hell stamped his brand on me like I was some damn cow,” Tabitha frowns in return. “Don’t know what the hell else that’s supposed to mean.”

For a moment, Azrael opens her mouth to speak, but stops, and stands to stroll around the room.

“I have trouble following you and finding you,” she suddenly comments, startling Tabitha with the rapid topic change. “I could find you before, but that angel of yours, Castiel, he did something that has made it difficult to find you now, even for me. And now, you’ve foolishly allowed yourself to be marked by my brother. Yet, here you are. Calling me from this motel room.”

After making a small circuit around the room, Azrael gestures around her and continues, “You came to this motel room before contacting me. Knowing how much easier it is to have dreams either in familiar surroundings, or in a current setting. So you chose this motel. And I’m certain that no matter how hard I look about, I won’t find any clues as to just where you are. Will I?”

Tabitha shrugs noncommittally.

“But the real question,” Azrael finally tells Tabitha, moving back to sit on the bed across form her, “is why you’re able to be in the motel room at all. Why aren’t you locked to my brother’s side, waiting with him for the time when he can catch us both in his web?”

Frown deepening, Tabitha slowly responds, “Why would he need me locked to his side? I’m probably no use to him until you nosedive into me. Which is why I’d really appreciate it if you’d leave me alone so that I have a few less things to worry about.”

“Did you ever stop to consider why my brother didn’t command you to say ‘yes’ to me?”

Mouth falling open, Tabitha sits straighter on the bed. “I figured he couldn’t. I mean, don’t I have to say ‘yes’ to you of my own free will?” she asks, using air quotes.

I cannot force your compliance,” Azrael clarifies, looking intrigued. “But one would think his control of you should be absolute enough that he could force a simple word of agreement from your lips.”

Like a fish, Tabitha opens and closes her mouth several times, but no words come out.

Finally, Azrael commands her, “Tell me everything that happened when my brother marked you.”

Seeing no harm in telling the angel what happened, Tabitha leans forward to brace her elbows on her knees, staring at her hands as she tells the angel the details.

“Wait,” Azrael stops her near the end of her story. “Lucifer bade you tell him of your attraction,” she slowly bites out, rolling her eyes at the careful wording Tabitha uses, “to Castiel, and you didn’t? What did you tell him?”

“I dunno,” Tabitha shrugs. “‘Bite me,’ or something like that. Oh! I told him to go back to Hell. Why?”

Waving her hand, Azrael tells her, “I don’t care about the exact wording you used. But you didn’t answer him. That’s what intrigues me. And then your brother shot him with the Colt, and his tenuous hold on you seemed to break. After all, he ordered you to stay, and you were able to flee with your brothers.”

“I assumed it was because he wanted me to be able to leave,” Tabitha mutters.

Smiling for the first time since Tabitha revealed the brand, Azrael sweetly tells her, “Oh, you’re just full of surprises. And an iron will.”

Baffled by the compliment, Tabitha tells her, “Whatever. I called you here to get at least one monkey off my back. I’ve told you what happened, so call your dogs off and leave me alone now.”

“Oh dear, don’t you see?” Azrael questions her, shaking her head as she stands to close the distance between them, “You need to tell me ‘yes’ now. Before my brother discovers a way to supplant your will again.”

The angel gently cups Tabitha’s cheek in her hand, prompting the irate hunter to knock the hand away as she springs to her feet.

“You forgetting something?” she grinds out between her teeth as she marches away from the angel. “Remember what you showed me on the future field trip? Because I do! You an’ me locked up inside of me, a freakin’ puppet to Satan’s will. Well, I’m not gonna be Satan’s bitch. No thanks. You can just go find someone else.”

Hearing the soft chuckle behind her, Tabitha swings to face the angel again.

“Yes, that was one possibility,” Azrael agrees. “But just one. Imagine my surprise when I find that you have an even stronger willpower than I had supposed. Strong enough to defy Lucifer and retain your freedom from his desire. Lucifer’s command over you—over us—when we join, could still be a possibility. But not if we strike now. While he’s not expecting it. He won’t expect you to see the truth in your inevitable place and choice so quickly. If we join now, we can do so before he’s ready to try entrapping us. We can still follow the duty our Father laid before us.”

Snapping an angry flicking gesture at the angel, Tabitha reminds her, “Your father ain’t my father.”

She steps closer as her eyes narrow on the angel, “And I have no intentions of allowing you to wipe out everything in existence.” Snorting, she adds, “You were always pretty careful not to tell me exactly just how you intended to end all the fighting between your brothers, weren’t you? But I’ll have no part in ending their squabbling by wiping out Heaven, Hell, and everything in between, just to stop them. Universal genocide really isn’t the answer to stopping them.”

With a smile that tells Tabitha Azrael views her as a child playing in grownup affairs, the angel says, “You just don’t understand, my dear. This is what my Father intended. This is how it was meant to be. There won’t be any pain after I’m done. There won’t be anything. It will be a clean slate. A blank canvas for my Father to begin again.”

Poking at the angel, Tabitha assures her, “The current canvas may be one screwed up toddler piece of abstract art, but that doesn’t mean we should tear it down and start over.”

Straightening and standing taller, Tabitha tells the angel, “I came here terrified and frightened after everything that happened, but you’ve just reminded me that nothing’s changed. I still won’t ever say ‘yes’ to you, and I’ll still do anything to help my brothers beat the Devil. Him marking me doesn’t change any of that. I don’t know what happened between you and your brothers, but I love my brothers, and I’d give anything to save them. I sure as hell ain’t looking to kill them. And no matter what it takes or what I have to do, I’m gonna help my brothers beat you and yours.”

Eyes fluttering open as she awakens in her motel room, Tabitha stiffly sits up, wishing her confidence in the waking world was as strong as it had been in her dream world.

But one thing both she and her dream-self agree on is that she won’t let the Devil stop her now. If there’s some way to negate the mark on her chest, she’ll do anything to find it. And anything to help her brothers in the battle to come.

In the next several weeks, Tabitha keeps in careful contact with her brothers, even if she won’t heed Dean’s outright orders that she return to Bobby’s place. She doesn’t mean to make them worry about her, but she’s still determined to find some kind of answers somewhere.

Problem is, she can’t find any.

She’s travelled as far as Jerusalem looking for anything that might have any promise of negating or removing the Devil’s mark. And not even a ritual involving tattooing a spell in Jerusalem salt over the mark makes a dent. Once the spell had been inked over the brand, it had merely shrunk into her skin, appearing to be swallowed by the brand until it disappeared.

New Orleans holds no answers for her either. Or, at least she can only assume it doesn’t. Etienne and a very apologetic and irate Cort meet her outside the city, saying that she has been barred access to the mystical city. Etienne gives her a strange charm with voodoo symbols on it, but even he seems unsure what exactly his mother had done to the charm or how it will help her. Still, she adds the charm to her bracelet, and feels strangely more confident for having it. Even if she doesn’t have a clue how it’s supposed to help.

Cort wants to leave with her after their meeting north of the city, but after assurances from Etienne that neither he nor his mother can actually do anything more for her now that she’s been marked, Tabitha dejectedly leaves the state. Alone.

Momma Cecile had sent only a simple message with her son for Tabitha in addition to the charm. That she is to trust her heart.

Whatever that means.

And though she hasn’t been finding the answers she was looking for, she has been gaining some confidence that Lucifer doesn’t have the control over her she’d feared, just as Azrael had told her.

The mark remains, and nightmares plague her almost nightly. But they are brought on by her own internal fears of the future. One thing is for certain in her mind, either the Devil had no interest in her at the moment, or he can’t control her as she’d initially feared. Perhaps because she’s an empty vessel that hasn’t said yes to her angel.

At the ringing of her cellphone, Tabitha nearly hesitates in picking it up from the table in her motel room, but at seeing Dean’s name on the screen, sighs and answers.

Have you seen Anna?” Dean demands across the line.

After a moment of struggling to catch up, Tabitha replies, “No. I haven’t. Should I have?”

When a sigh comes across the line, Tabitha can imagine her older brother running his hand through his hair in a frustrated manner.

I don’t know,” he confesses. “She tracked me down in my dream tonight. She wanted to meet me at some warehouse later. But it was weird. Kept telling me to make sure you and Sam were there, too.”


I don’t know,” Dean tells her. “Like I said, it just seemed weird. I wanted to make sure you were all right before I go meet her.”

Feeling a strange foreboding sensation lick across her skin, causing the small hairs on her arm to stand on end, Tabitha hesitantly tells him, “Maybe you should call Cas and ask him about this. I agree, it seems strange that she was so insistent that Sam and I be there.”

She clears her throat and cautiously asks the same question she’s only dared ask him once before. “Have you seen Cas…since I left I mean?”

Naw,” he answers. “We’ve been busy working cases. But we haven’t seen him.” It’s a less than gentle reminder that they’ve been busy working since she took off, but she doesn’t rise to the bait and the fight her brother is angling for.

At her silence, he slowly asks, “Have you seen him?

“No,” she admits. “Not once,” she continues, despite the pain that stings at her heart.

Gruffly, Dean tells her, “Well, I’ll give him a call and see what he thinks of this.”

On impulse, Tabitha asks, “Where are you guys?”

Not hesitating, Dean replies, “Crap motel in some little town just off the 65 north of Lafayette, Indiana.”

“I’m in Chicago,” she explains, shocking her brother by finally giving him a location to where she’s been. “I can be there in a little under two hours. Just text me the address of your motel.”

Sure,” he slowly agrees. “Why you finally coming back though? I thought you said you were gonna stay away until you found something that got that mark off you.” After a loaded silence, Dean asks with hope, “Did you finally find something?

“No,” she admits. “But I’m not as worried about it as I was at first. I mean, still scares the shit out of me, but I don’t think he can control me now that the connection was severed when you shot him with the Colt. Probably can’t again unless I say ‘yes’ to Azrael—which ain’t ever gonna happen—but I’ll explain more when I get there. Something tells me that Anna’s got something going on, so I’ll be there as soon as I can.”

Hopefully by returning, she’ll finally set her older brother’s mind at ease as well. She knows that a majority of his anger and worry stems from having lost Ellen and Jo only a short time ago, but Tabitha has never been one to be protected and coddled, much to her brother’s ever-lasting exasperation. And she knows that isn’t likely to change. She’s spent too much of her life trying to prove to her family and others that she can take care of herself to allow anyone to start taking care of her now. Somehow, she knows she has to find a way to fix things on her own.

Tabitha opens the motel room door and finds her older brother pacing and her younger brother sitting just inside the door with a troubled look on his face.

She barely has time to drop her bag inside the door before Dean wraps her in a hug, whispering into her ear a threat that loses most of its oomph from the way he tenderly rubs her back. “I should kick your ass for taking off like you did.”

“I know,” she agrees, smiling into his chest as the feeling that she’d made the right choice to return settles across her heart.

When Dean releases her, she is quickly pulled back into another pair of arms, those of her younger brother. Sam leans down as he hugs her to say, “We’re glad you’re back, Tab. Hasn’t been the same without you.”

Tabitha steps back to look her brother up and down, fighting a grin as she tells him, “I’m just glad you finally got your own body back from that kid, Sammy. Must have been hell to be going through puberty again in some other kid’s body.”

Sam laughs at the reminder of the last case he and Dean had worked while she’d been gone. Dean may have been mad at her for taking off, but Sam had been far more understanding of her need to find answers and had willing filled her in on their hunts when they talked on the phone.

Seeming tense, Sam returns to his seated position, watching the angel across the way as he continues to work at the small table in the room.

Tabitha finally looks in Castiel’s direction as well, noting that he continues to studiously work, not once pausing to look her way. He hadn’t even looked up when she came through the door.

“What’s he doing?” she quietly asks the room in general.

Castiel answers without looking up as he draws symbols in chalk on the table. “Trying to find Anna.”

When he doesn’t elaborate, she turns to Dean who has continued his pacing. “Why are we trying to find Anna? I thought she wanted to meet with us?”

“We don’t want her to find us, I guess,” Dean mutters, still pacing. “Cas says she’s got her own plan for stopping Lucifer. And for stopping Azrael.”

“Okay,” Tabitha drawls, “So what is it? If it’s a good plan, maybe we should give it a go.”

Halting, Dean shoots her a dark look, growling, “Her plan is to kill Sammy to keep Lucifer from his vessel. And to kill you to keep Azrael from hers.”

“Oh,” Tabitha softly whispers, dropping heavily onto the corner of one of the beds.

Across from her, Sam says in a stark voice, “Azrael wouldn’t be needed if Lucifer’s out of the game. Tabitha would be safe then. Maybe…maybe this plan to kill me—I mean, would it actually stop Satan?”

Angrily, Dean snaps, “No, Sam, come on.” He pauses long enough in his circuitous route to shoot an accusatory glare at his sister, as if her own suggestion weeks before had prompted their younger brother’s question.

Although she winces, Tabitha doesn’t respond to the glare.

Ignoring Dean, Sam focuses on the angel, asking him, “Cas, what do you think? Does Anna have a point?”

All eyes turn to Castiel as he looks up and swallows. Holding Sam’s eyes he says, “No. She’s a…’Glenn Close.'”

“What?” Tabitha demands, looking to her brothers for clarification, but the oldest Winchester waves her off, leaving her wondering about the angel’s reference to the actress.

“I don’t get it,” Dean says, his feet still carrying him in circles. “We’re looking for the chick that wants to gank my brother and sister.” Hands spread wide, he asks Castiel, “Why poke the bear?”

“Anna will keep trying,” Castiel reasonably points out, hands still busily working. “She won’t give up until Sam and Tabitha are dead.”

The angel pauses long enough to look up and meet Dean’s eyes. “So we kill her first.”

Castiel then pours a few drops of a clear liquid into his brass bowl, followed by a recitation in Enochian, “Zod ah ma ra la, ee est la gi ro sa.”

With his final utterance, a brilliant red flame shoots up from the bowl, and with the swelling of power, Tabitha sucks in a deep breath. Though startled by the power, she is even more surprised by Castiel’s reaction, jumping up from her seat on one of the beds to steady him when he jerks back, his breathing labored as his eyes squint tightly closed. Still breathing heavily, Castiel grips the back of one of the chairs as Tabitha soothingly rubs his back, giving her brothers a perplexed look as they stare helplessly back at her, none of them knowing how to help an angel that almost appears to be in pain.

When the angel finally begins to look up, Tabitha leans down to meet his face, silently asking him, Are you okay, Cas?

Aloud, he answers instead, “I found her.”

“Where is she?” Dean demands.

“Not where,” Castiel tells them, looking past Tabitha to her older brother. “When.”

Castiel straightens and pulls away from Tabitha, facing them all as he supplies, “It’s 1978.”

“What?” Sam demands, hopping up from his seated position. “Why 1978?” he asks, coming closer to the others. “I wasn’t even born yet.”

“None of us were,” Tabitha adds.

Pausing to think it through, Castiel finally explains, “You won’t be…if she kills your parents.”

“What?” Sam repeats.

Castiel glances between the younger Winchester siblings before explaining, “Anna can’t get to either of you because of me. So she’s going after them.”

“Take us back right now,” Dean suddenly orders.

“And deliver you right to Anna? I should go alone.”

“They’re our parents, Cas. We’re going,” Dean insists, his voice rising. “We’re going.”

“It’s not that easy.”

Sam jumps in to angrily question, “Why not?”

Moving about restlessly, Castiel tells them, “Time travel was difficult even with the powers of Heaven at my disposal.”

Understanding sinks in as Sam surmises, “But you’re cut off.”

In an attempt to bring his own understanding to bear, Dean says, “So, what? You’re like a DeLorean without enough plutonium.”

With some annoyance, Castiel replies, “I don’t understand that reference. But I’m telling you, taking this trip, with passengers, no less…” He shakes his head and quietly explains, “…it’ll weaken me.”

“They’re our mom and dad,” Dean quickly maintains. “If we can save them, and not just from Anna—I mean, if we can set things right…we have to try.”

For a moment, it seems that Castiel is still going to fight, but then, he sighs and nods his assent.

Quietly, he tells them, “I suggest you pack for this trip.”

They all turn to their bags, Tabitha only having to step to the door to pick up her previously dropped duffle. When she turns around, she sees Castiel packing ancient looking pottery and his angel blade into a dark canvas bag that hadn’t been there moments before.

Shouldering her burden, she steps closer, softly asking the angel, “Are you sure you’re gonna be able to do this all right, Cas?”

He glances over his shoulder at her, and then gives a small shrug, whispering back, “We’ll soon find out.”

Then he turns to her brothers, gruffly asking them, “Ready?”

Sam takes the canvas bag from the angel, scoffing as he admits, “Not really.”

Dean turns slightly to advise his younger brother from the corner of his mouth, “Bend your knees.”

Remembering the trip to the future, Tabitha steps around to Dean’s other side, looking across him to add to their brother, “And keep your muscles loose. Landing’s a bitch otherwise.”

Gripping Dean’s arm with one hand, she inhales sharply as Castiel reaches towards her brother’s with his hands, her body stiffening slightly despite her advice to Sam.

Castiel presses his fingers to their foreheads, but then seems to groan in pain as he tries to send them into the past.

Removing her hand from her older brother at the obvious pain spreading across the angel’s pinched features, Tabitha reaches out to grip his arm, silently asking him once more, Are you really all right, Cas?

As her hand connects with his arm, the familiar angelic power swells, exploding across her skin with a force that leaves her breathless and shivering.

When she opens her eyes, she hears several car horns blaring over her panting breath, and fights the sudden chill by wrapping her brown leather coat tighter around her body.

“Tab?” she hears Sam calling out, and the sound of her brothers’ voices forces her to focus again, and she looks down to see herself kneeling beside Castiel on the sidewalk.

“Here!” she calls to her brothers, carefully reaching down to cup the angel’s face between her hands.

Her brothers look momentarily startled by her actions as they round the corner of the station wagon the angel is leaning against, but when she looks up helplessly at them, they finally look over her shoulder to see the angel’s labored breathing and the blood trickling down his nose.

“Hey, hey, hey,” Sam worriedly exclaims as her brothers hurry to crouch near her.

Seeming disoriented, Castiel gently grips Tabitha’s wrists, pulling them away from his face as he attempts to rise to his feet.

“Take it easy. Take it easy. You all right?” Dean asks as he tries to push the angel back down.

“I’m fine,” Castiel insists.

“You’re bleeding, Cas. That’s not fine,” Tabitha responds, fear creeping into her voice as she shakes one of his hands off to carefully wipe the blood from his nose with the sleeve of the t-shirt she pulls out from beneath her coat sleeve.

Still trying to stand, Castiel tells them, “I’m much better than I expected.”

Barely off the ground, the angel suddenly coughs, blood spurting from his mouth as he limply falls back to the cold concrete.

Tabitha twists to catch Castiel’s head, lowering it onto her lap as she softly calls his name, shivers of fear pulsing through her as the angel goes slack, not responding to her pleas.

Sam carefully places his hand in front of the angel’s nose, and then informs them, “He’s breathing…sort of.”

“He’s an angel,” Tabitha snaps. “He shouldn’t be bleeding. And he shouldn’t be unconscious.”

Sam shrugs and asks, “What do we do?”

Feeling more comfortable with taking action, Dean slides one limp arm over his shoulder, heaving Castiel up from the sidewalk as Tabitha scrambles to stand and take the unconscious angel’s other arm, helping to support his weight between her and her brother.

“First things first,” Dean advises them, “we’ve got to find a place nearby where he can lay low and recover. Assuming he can recover.”

“Of course he will,” Tabitha crossly snaps, waving her free hand at Castiel’s bloody face as she orders Sam, “Help find something to clean him up with.”

When her brother comes up with a wadded t-shirt from his own bag, she snatches it from his hands, using it to carefully mop the remaining blood from the face of the unmoving angel.

Looking around, Sam points down the covered boardwalk, “There’s a little motel down that way. We can get him a room there.”

As they approach the motel, Dean nods across the street and tells Sam, “We’ll take care of him. There’s a phone booth over there, go see if you can look up Mom and Dad’s address.”

Surprisingly, the clerk behind the desk of the motel doesn’t seem surprised when a man and woman drag another unconscious man through the lobby of the motel. Tabitha wonders to herself what that says about this particular motel, or if it says something more about the 70s in general. But she plasters a self-assured smile on her face as Dean asks the man for a room, insisting that they need a lot of privacy.

Seeing the man’s gaze skip speculatively across the three of them, Tabitha laughs and rushes to explain, “This, a-uh, y-you see…this is my husband,” she finally spits out, patting her free hand on the angel’s chest as she continues. “And he sort of celebrated a little too hard all ready at the reception, so our best man was just helping us get him somewhere where he can rest and recuperate.”

“Right on,” the man nods, a big grin spreading as he bobs his head in time to some music none of them can hear. “I get it. So the two of you can continue the wedded celebrations, man. I can totally help you out with that, little lady.”

Blushing at the dark look Dean is shooting her across the unconscious angel, she nevertheless continues, “Exactly. So w-we, u-uh, really don’t want to be disturbed you see.”

Dean stiffly slaps several bills onto the counter that they had managed to scrounge up from the 70s, stiffly telling the guy behind the tall desk, “Why don’t you book the happy couple a room for the next five nights. And don’t disturb them. No matter what.”

“Yeah. Don’t sweat it,” the clerk agrees, taking the money and casually asking, “Want to buy some dope?”

Tabitha stares in shock for a second before shaking her head and answering, “Maybe next time.”

Dean continues to grumble as they maneuver the angel up to the third floor and into the Honeymoon suite.

“I can’t believe you told him that you were…” But trails off yet again, unable to complete the thought out loud.

“I did what I had to, Dean,” she huffs, helping to turn the angel as they lower him onto the heart-shaped bed.

When she kneels on the bed and pulls on the angel’s shoulders to scoot him further onto the bed, Dean winces and looks away, muttering under his breath, “This is just wrong.”

Huffing, she orders, “Oh, grow up, Dean, and help me scoot him further onto the bed. He’s a lot of dead weight here.”

Her brother kneels momentarily on the bed to lift the angel’s legs, pushing him further to the center of the bed before dropping Castiel’s legs as though afraid of getting burned before backing away.

“Can’t believe you let that guy think the two of you were married,” he mutters again.

Checking Castiel for any signs of improvement, Tabitha irritably replies, glancing over her shoulder, “Would you have rather he’d jumped to the conclusion that the three of us were looking for a room to have some kind of freaky ménage à trois?”

Dean shudders, and pointedly doesn’t respond. Instead asking, “He any better?”

“Define ‘better,'” she mutters, feeling his face with the back of her hand and once more checking to see that he is indeed still breathing.

“There’s nothing more we can do for him, Tab. He’ll be okay in time,” Dean tells her then. “We’ve got to focus on Mom and Dad now. We can’t let Anna kill them.”

“I know,” Tabitha sighs, rocking back from her knees on the bed beside the unmoving angel. “But I hate just leaving him here like this. What if something happens to him? Or what if he doesn’t get better?”

“If he doesn’t get better, then we better start getting used to the last of the 70s. And looking forward to the 80s,” Dean grimly reminds her.

Tabitha finally stands from the bed, pulling her hair back into a ponytail as she replies, “No thank you. I never could stand the big hair of the eighties.” She glances at Dean, trying to hide the nervousness that has worked into the pit of her stomach by teasing him, “I don’t think you can pull off the long hair look of the 80s Hair Bands either.”

As they move to leave the room, Tabitha pauses to glance back at Castiel, worried that she shouldn’t leave him alone so helpless. Guilt licking at her insides even though she knows they have to help their parents, too.

Dean pats her shoulder reassuringly, telling her, “Don’t worry, Tabby. He’ll be good as new in no time. He’s a tough little nerdy dude with wings.”

Tabitha jerks a nod, hopefully telling her brother, “Maybe Anna landed hard like that, too. Buy us some time.”

“Yeah, maybe,” he agrees, but his tone isn’t as sure as she wishes it was.

As they walk down to catch up with Sam, Dean finally grabs her elbow, pulling her closer and breaching the topic she’d hoped to continue avoiding.

“Now, where the hell have you been, and what were you doing those weeks you were off running around?”

But, she sighs and answers him as best she can. Filling both him and Sam in on her endeavors and her excursions. Both remain skeptical about ever finding anything now to remove the brand from her chest, but they do both share her hopes that Azrael is right that at least for now, her willpower is strong enough to keep Lucifer from controlling her again.

None of them speaks of what the possibilities might be if she were ever to say “yes” to Azrael however.

Night falls by the time the Winchesters steal a car and find their parents’ address.

Almost before Dean has stopped the car, Sam is out and striding towards the little house where their mother and father live, the familiar Impala parked in front of the small house.

Dean hops out of the driver’s seat to hustle after their younger brother. “Sam. Sam. Wait, wait, wait, wait.”

Sam stops at Dean’s hurried words, but turns to tell him, “Dean, Anna could be here any second.”

“What exactly are we gonna march up there and tell ’em?” Dean reminds their brother.

“Uh, the truth,” Sam tries.

“Sure,” Tabitha laughs. “Their kids are back from the future to save them from an angel gone rogue?” She shakes her head and reminds him, “Kinda something most people would freak out about. Or call the cops at the very least.”

“Well, then tell her demons are after ’em,” Sam tries. “I mean, she thinks Dean’s a hunter, right?”

“Yeah, a hunter who disappeared right when her dad died,” Dean points out. “She’s gonna love me.”

Dean glances hesitantly at Tabitha, starts to tell her something, and then shakes his head, advising them both, “Just follow my lead.”

They wait nervously on the doorstep after Dean rings the doorbell, all three shifting from foot to foot as they wait for their parents.

When the door swings open, only Dean has the presence of mind to speak, softly greeting the beautiful blond woman with, “Hi, Mary.”

Sam grips Tabitha’s hand in a crushing embrace as the younger siblings stare in shock at their mother. Sam has no memories of their mother, and Tabitha’s memories are mostly spotty and cloudy. But nothing she had remembered prepared her for the sight of a younger version of those memories. Her face smooth and unlined, eyes clear and dark brown.

“You can’t be here,” Mary quietly tells Dean.

Unfazed, Dean tells her, “I’m sorry if this is a bad time.”

“You don’t understand,” Mary interrupts. “I’m not…” she pauses to glance at the silent Tabitha and Sam before continuing more vaguely, “I don’t do that anymore. I have a normal life now. You have to go.”

As she starts to shut the door, Dean reaches out to stop it, telling her, “I’m sorry, but this is important, okay?”

The siblings look over Mary’s shoulder at the sound of a throat being cleared, pausing to take in the sight of their father approaching their mother from behind.

John opens the door wider, one hand wrapping lovingly behind Mary’s back as she turns to tell him, “Sorry, sweetie, they’re just…”

“Mary’s cousins,” Dean rushes to explain. “Yeah, we couldn’t stop through town without swinging by and saying ‘Hey,’ now, could we?”

Still talking fast, Dean holds out his hand towards John, introducing himself. “Dean.”

“You look familiar,” John comments, heartily shaking his son’s hand as he darts looks at the other two siblings.

“Really?” Dean asks, laughing it off as he says, “Yeah, you do, too, actually, you know? We must have met sometime. Small towns, right? Got to love ’em.”

“I’m John,” their father laughs, introducing himself and holding his hand out to Sam next, though his gaze darts once more to Tabitha. Sam hesitates, but then grabs the proffered hand as emotion shines in his eyes.

When he’s silent—too choked up by emotion—Dean offers, “This is Sam.”

At the name, John comments, “Sam. Uh, Mary’s father was a Sam.”

Quickly, Tabitha covers, “Yeah, it’s an old family name.”

Carefully extracting his hand from Sam’s tight grip, John turns to Tabitha, his curious gaze finally settling on her. “Wow,” he chuckles, looking her up and down in amazement as he comments, “You look like you and Mary could be sisters, not cousins.” His gaze darts between mother and daughter once more, the other two men turning to give the same scrutiny as the two blond women frown, not noticing their mirrored posture as they both fold their arms over their chests. Even their frowns mirror one another, the right corner of their lips wrinkling as they tick down in an unappeased expression.

John laughs again and realizes he hasn’t reached out to Tabitha, quickly righting his mistake and politely offering his hand.

“You really do look just like my Mary,” John laughs, his hand waiting in the air between them.

Unbidden, a childhood memory swells to the surface.


John stumbles into the motel room, slamming the door harder than he’d intended to, startling his three children in the small living room of the motel suite.

Dean looks up from the TV and across the room to where Tabitha has been helping Sam with his fractions on the floor. She hates fractions—hates even more that someone thinks it’s a good idea to multiple and divide them in her own homework—but she hates the harsh silence that rings when their father comes home like this even more.

The older siblings share a silent look. A silent conversation in a matter of seconds. One they’ve had many times before.

The sounds of their father dropping his heavy bags in the kitchen jolt them both into looking his way, both noting the way he slightly weaves into the kitchenette, stooping to look into the small fridge.

Tabitha knows that if he’s looking for food, he’ll be disappointed with his find. They’d run out of cereal that morning, and she’d intended to go get a few necessities that evening after helping Sammy with his math.

When she sees their father grunt in approval and straighten back up with a bottle of beer in his hands, she bends down to her younger brother, whispering for him to put his homework away and head for bed, knowing now what kind of mood their father is in. Knowing from experience what kind of shape he’s likely to be in after a hunt that’s left him in this kind of dark and smoldering mood.

She gives her older brother one last silent nod as Dean stands to usher their younger brother towards the partially partitioned area that serves as a bedroom, quietly going about getting Sammy ready for bed. It’s their silent agreement to split the duties, each taking their charge to handle for the evening. She knows Dean will take care of Sammy. Watch him. Protect him. And it’s her turn to handle their father.

The sounds of her brothers shuffling about and Dean trying to keep Sammy quiet fill her ears as she steadies herself, pushing to stand before she cautiously makes her way into the kitchen, noting that their father has already drowned the bottle he’d retrieved from the fridge before sinking into one of the rickety wooden chairs.

He pushes the empty bottle across the table at her, throatily demanding, “Get me another, Tabby.”

Her father doesn’t look up into her face, but she knows what she’d see there if he did. Pale skin and tightened lines around haunted eyes. That their father is back means his hunt is over, but she knows from experience that those haunted eyes mean innocent people died. Just like her mother had.

Moving carefully, she picks up the empty bottle, stepping over to the fridge and grabbing another beer to replace it.

He stares hollowly at it for several moments, allowing Tabitha to see just the hint of the horror in his gaze before he drops his head and focuses on the new bottle. Tabitha can hear the sounds of her brothers gradually cease, the entire motel suite falling into silence as she watches her father suddenly swallow hard, shudder, and then snatch the bottle in front of him, draining it in several deep gulps as his eyes squeeze tightly shut.

When the bottle clanks loudly onto the top of the table, Tabitha doesn’t jump, instead, she slowly steps forward to remove it as well.

“Get me another,” he tells her, his voice still low and rough, filled with unsettled emotions.

She shakes her head in response, and instead silently moves to stand behind him, carefully peeling the leather coat from his arms, ignoring the spatters staining the smooth leather with practiced ease, thankful that none of them looks to be anything worse than what she’s worked out of the leather before.

He lets her peel the coat from his arms, and just as easily lets her slip the old Colt 1911 .45 caliber semi-automatic from where he’d tucked it at the small of his back. But as she lays it aside, he demands again, “I said to get me another, Tabby.”

“You’ve had enough, Dad,” she finally whispers to him, moving to kneel at his feet. She can smell the heavy liquor on his breath and knows that he had been well lubricated before he’d even come back to the motel.

He doesn’t look at her, instead, his eyes fixed off to the side as she patiently waits for him to gather himself. Sometimes she can handle their father more easily than Dean can. She can speak softly to him and get him to follow her and lay down to sleep instead of brooding and drinking. Sometimes he can just look at her, and be calmed.

But not always.

Lately, it’s been even harder than usual for her to quiet and ease their father.

Tabitha reaches up to take her father’s hand from his knee, lightly gripping it and squeezing it as she pleads, “Come on, Daddy. Time to stop drinking and get some rest. It won’t help whoever’s been lost.”

When she tugs on his hand and moves to stand, trying to prompt him to stand as well, their eyes fully meet, and she see a dark emotion swell in his eyes.

Before she can release his hand or pull away, his free hand raises, the back of his knuckles swinging out to connect with her cheek as he growls, “The sight of you sure as hell don’t help who’s already been lost!”

Tabitha falls back to the dirty linoleum floor, clutching her stinging cheek with both hands as she stares up at her father in shock. She’s seen her father in black moods numerous times, but never before had he struck her. Not once in her thirteen years.

The pain is faint. She’d been dealt worse blows when training with her brother and one of them had accidentally connected when someone was too slow or too clumsy while sparing. It’s shock rather than pain that causes her to clutch her cheek and stare up at her father. Wondering to herself why it has been harder and harder for her to calm their father. Why he seems to be more and more unsettled by her. Angry even.

But her father’s eyes clear and bleed into guilt and remorse almost as soon as the blow lands, hesitantly reaching out for her and then yanking back when she recoils from his touch.

“I’m so sorry, Tabitha,” he thickly apologizes, not reaching out to her again, but covering his face with his hands as he shakes his head. “I didn’t mean to do that,” he continues, his voice coming out almost choked. “It’s just so hard looking at you and seeing your mother. I miss her so damn much. You just look so much like my Mary. It’s just not fair.”

Unnoticed, Dean crouches behind his sister, gathering her in his arms and hugging her. Then turning her to carefully inspect her face. Her watery smile and nod must be reassuring enough, because he presses a kiss to her forehead and softly tells her, “You go climb in bed, too, Tabby. I’ll take care of things out here. You’ll be safe with Sammy.”

She can only nod mutely, but glances over her shoulder at her father, now silently shuddering, before nodding once to Dean and leaving the kitchen.

Sammy is asleep on one of the beds when she enters, and instead of climbing onto the other bed, she slides across the top cover, wrapping her arm over her brother’s sleeping form, knowing that he won’t stay so much smaller than her forever, but relishing the feeling of shielding and protecting him. She knows from the look she and Dean shared in the kitchen that he was promising to take care of their father from now on, and finds herself more than happy to task herself with taking care of Sammy instead.

But as she holds her little brother and drifts off into a troubled sleep, she can’t help the weight in the pit of her stomach as she wonders about her changing appearance as she gets older. Did she really look so much like her mother? And why did that have to be such a bad thing to her father? Why did it make him so sad and so angry?


Tabitha stares at the hand hanging in the air before her, and finally grips it, shaking it while surreptitiously stealing looks at her mother. With the objective eyes of an adult, she looks the other woman over, and notes not only the remarkably similar features between mother and daughter, but even sees her mother giving her father the same little reluctant smile she’s seen on her own face in pictures. Her mother’s eyes are perhaps a darker and richer shade of brown then hers, but the hue is very reminiscent and even their hair is the same tone of sun-kissed blond.

She pumps her father’s hand a few times, smiling and drawing her gaze back to him as she tells him, “And I’m Tabitha. Guess I never really stopped to think about how much we look alike. Some cousins just don’t fall far from the family tree,” she chuckles.

As she watches her father’s adoring gaze float back to her mother, a part of her that she hadn’t even known she’d held onto slips away.

Her father had never again struck her after that night when she was thirteen, never in anger, and never in a drunken haze. They’d never spoken of it either, but there were many times she’d seen the dark guilt of it lingering in her father’s eyes.

She’d thought it long ago forgotten, and more than forgiven, but some part of her never really had. Hadn’t quite forgotten, and never totally forgiven. But the unbiased adult in her finally sees what her teenage-self never had. She’d never quite understood that he’d been striking out at the unfairness of losing her mother, the love of his life. And that she’d always been a painful reminder of just what he’d lost.

A part of the actions of that night will never completely leave her, she’s not fool enough to think otherwise—she would still castrate any man that even thinks of laying a hand of violence to her—but the last piece of her heart finally forgives her father, even if she can never forget the incident completely.

Looking at her parents now, and seeing the love her father obviously had for their mother, she’s suddenly amazed at how long he had gone on and functioned after losing her. How well he’d continued his life and raised three children, almost always on his own. She’s not certain if she would be able to have the strength to continue as her father had and not permanently take up residence in a bottle.

“That’s a beautiful name,” John compliments, bringing her back to the present. Or rather, her parents’ past. “I didn’t know my Mary had any cousins.”

John looks up then, and sees that Sam is still staring at him, an obvious swell of emotion shinning in his eyes.

“You okay, pal?” he asks as Sam looks close to breaking down. “You look a little spooked,” he observes.

Sam quickly shakes his head, trying to reassure him. “Oh. Oh, yeah,” he quickly states as he attempts to cover his staring. “Just a…long trip.”

“Yeah,” Tabitha nervously laughs, discreetly elbowing her younger brother in the side as she stretches to wrap an arm behind his back. “You’ll have to forgive him; Sammy tends to space out a bit when he’s tired.”

“Well,” Mary breaks in. “Sam, Dean, and Tabitha were just on their way out.”

“What?” John questions in obvious disappointment. “They just got here. Real happy to meet folks from Mary’s side. Please come on in for a beer.”

Dean pounces on the excuse to be invited in, despite their mother’s obvious disapproval. “Twist my arm.”

As the boys push past their parents into the small house, and then follow their father into the living room, Tabitha lingers by her mother long enough to quietly offer, “I’m sorry if you feel like we’re invading. We really don’t mean any harm.”

“Then what are you doing here? And who the hell are you?” Mary demands in a harsh whisper.

They both turn to look when they hear John call out for Mary.

Before they turn to answer the summons, Tabitha tells her, “You just need to trust us right now.”

The sit in the living room in a strange, uncomfortable silence, nobody knowing quite what to say for very different reasons.

“Are you sure you’re okay, Sam?” John finally asks, causing Dean and Tabitha to glance at their brother from their seats on the couch.

“W— oh,” Sam attempts in a flustered manner. “Yeah, yeah,” he finally assures them. “Um, I’m just, um… You are so beautiful,” he finally blurts, still openly staring at Mary.

Dean rushes to offer an explanation when their parents look uncomfortable, “He means that in a-a non-weird, wholesome, family kind of way.”

“Yeah, right,” Sam agrees, nodding furiously.

“We haven’t seen Mary in—in quite some time, and—see, she’s the spitting image of our mom and of course Tabby here. But it’s hard to remember that Tab looks so much like our mom and Mary, too, when you see her first thing in the morning looking more like Chewbacca.”

Tabitha swings her hand out to knock her older brother in the gut. “Hey,” she growls, and then mutters to herself, “Like you look like Brad Pitt first thing in the morning.”

Dean nervously laughs again, telling their parents, “The resemblance is just… it’s—”

“Eerie,” Sam supplies.

Trying to remain polite, John asks them, “So, how are you all related?”

“You know, uh, distantly,” Dean vaguely answers.

“Further down the family tree,” Tabitha adds with a plastered on smile.

“Oh,” John hums. “So you knew Mary’s parents?”

“Yeah. Yeah, yeah,” Dean agrees. “Mary’s dad was, uh…pretty much like a grandpa to us.”

“Oh. That was tragic—” John tells them. “That heart attack.” He pats Mary’s arm comfortingly as he speaks.

As Mary shares a loaded look with Dean, he agrees, “Yes, it was.”

John changes topics from the untimely death. “So, uh, what are you three doing in town, anyway?”

“Uh, business, you know?” Dean supplies.

“Oh, yeah? What line of work?”


“Scrap metal.”

At her brothers’ simultaneous strange answers, Tabitha nervously laughs and adds, “You know, a little of this and that. Whatever there’s money to be made at.”

Wanting to stop that line of inquiry, Mary pops up from her seat as she says, “Oh, gosh. It’s almost seven. I hate to be rude, but I got to get dinner ready.”

“Maybe they could stay,” John tells her.

“I’m sure they have to leave,” Mary replies, staring hard at Dean as she speaks.

The ringing of a phone interrupts, and John stands, apologizing.

“Uh, look, please stay. You know, it would mean a lot to me. I-I haven’t met much of Mary’s side of the family.”

He turns then to go answer the phone, leaving them with the death stare of their mother.

She turns to face the siblings and steps closer. “You have to leave. Now,” she orders them.

“Okay, just listen,” Dean tries to argue.

“No, you listen. Last time I saw you, a demon killed my parents. Now you waltz in here like you’re family? Whatever you want—no. Leave me alone.”

“You and John are in danger,” Sam rushes to tell her.

“What are you talking about?”

“Something’s coming for you,” Dean informs her, having to say something after Sam’s comment.


Unable to lie, Dean tells her, “Not exactly.”

“Well, what, then?”

“It’s hard to explain it all,” Tabitha tells her. “You just need to trust us.”

“Try,” Mary demands, putting more oomph in the single word.

“It’s an angel,” Sam blurts, earning annoyed looks from his siblings.

“What?” she laughs, disbelief and humor on her face. “There’s no such thing.”

“I wish,” Dean softly answers. “But they’re twice as strong as demons…and bigger dicks.”

Tabitha grimly adds under her breath, “Not all of them, but most of them.”

“Why would an angel want to kill us?”

“It’s a long story, and we’ll tell you the whole thing, but right now, you’ve got to do like Tabitha said and trust us, and we got to go.” Dean’s tone tells her there’s no room for argument. When she hesitates, he adds, “Look at my face and tell me if I’m lying to you.”

She does as he bids, and finds no deceit. Finally, she agrees, “Okay. Where do we go?”

“Out of here. We got to move now,” Dean answers.

A frightened look crosses her face as she asks, “But what do I tell John?”

“Just tell him—” Dean starts, trying to think of something on his feet.

At the mention of John, Tabitha realizes that no noises are coming from the kitchen and steps towards it as she hears Dean call their father’s name.

When no response comes, Tabitha rushes into the kitchen, finding it empty.

“He’s not here,” she calls back, and then finds a note by their corded phone on the wall.

Back in 15, J reads the note.

“This is bad,” Tabitha mumbles as Mary takes the small clipboard from the wall, staring at the note in her hands.

She turns to Mary, demanding, “Think. You know him. Where would he go at this hour? Who could have called him that he’d disappear to go see with no notice?”

“Work,” Mary says softly to herself. “He might have gone to see his boss. It’s close enough he could go there and still be back in fifteen minutes.”

They hear the sounds of a fight in the garage as they approach, and Dean rushes ahead of them to help their father.

Tabitha enters the garage to see Anna turning just in time to grab her brother by the throat, stopping him from plunging Cas’s angel blade into her back.

“I wish I could say it’s good to see you, Anna,” Dean chokes out past her fingers clutching his windpipe.

“You too, Dean,” she greets, seeming unconcerned about the blade he holds, now immobilized by her other hand.

With ease, she tosses him towards the nearest wall and through the window, the angel blade falling to the ground.

Mary rushes forward before Tabitha can stop her, snatching the angel blade and twirling it expertly to hold in an overhand grip as she circles the angel.

Tabitha waits and watches the pair, admiring the ease in which her mother circles, noting the predatory anticipation as she assesses the angel.

When she darts forward, the blade sweeping out and barely missing the angel, Mary shouts at Tabitha, “Get John out of here!”

Her blade misses Anna several times before finding purchase as Mary slices Anna’s hand.

Tabitha finally looks away, darting over to where John is struggling to his feet, gripping his elbow to yank him up and steady him.

“No!” John softly cries in disbelief, and Tabitha looks up to see Anna gripping Mary and throwing her at the windshield of a car.

Tabitha pushes John towards the exit, telling him, “Get the hell out of here.”

Then she runs towards the car, getting between her mother and the angel, sweeping to pick up the dropped angel blade.

Anna hesitates as she faces Tabitha, almost remorsefully telling her, “I’m really sorry to have to do this. But it has to be done. No matter how much your death will hurt him.”

Tabitha eye’s narrow, guessing to herself what Anna’s words mean.

“Guess that means I’ll just have to do my best to make sure I stay alive,” she tells the angel, and then rushes her.

Anna anticipates her rush, so Tabitha faints a stab with the blade in her right hand, and follows through with a left hook to the angel’s jaw, knocking Anna sideways. Tabitha keeps her feet moving with the momentum of her punch, twisting to her left and swinging the blade in her right hand in an arcing circle to swing around at Anna’s back.

Moving faster than humanly possible, Anna sidesteps just enough so that the blade only grazes her shoulder, but lifts her arms to trap and immobilize Tabitha’s arm between her forearms. With a sharp chop from the side of her hand, Anna sends Tabitha careening to the side and almost falling.

Not allowing her thrown balance to stop her, Tabitha whips her hand towards the angel, throwing the blade with all her might at Anna.

The thrown blade startles her, and she hesitates before twisting to move from it, the blade slicing through her other shoulder even as she catches it in her hand.

When Tabitha rushes the angel, she hopes the unexpected will continue to keep Anna off balance, but instead, she finds herself encountering the unexpected. Anna widens her stance as Tabitha hits her instead of twisting to avoid her rush. And as Tabitha impacts with the angel, she feels an explosion of pain across her hip and side.

Both human and angel glance down at the angel blade stuck protruding from Tabitha’s side, a strange blue light spilling out from around the blade amidst the dripping blood.

Though Tabitha is as shocked as Anna, she clutches the blade with her left hand, and uses the right to drive her knuckles into Anna’s nose.

As the angel wipes the blood from her nose and Tabitha stumbles backwards, Mary surges forwards again, a crowbar in her hands that she drives downwards into Anna’s chest.

For a moment, the angel leans forward to cough blood, but then, she pulls the crowbar easily from her chest, dropping it as she sympathetically tells Mary, “Sorry. It’s not that easy to kill an angel.”

“No,” Sam suddenly calls out. “But you can distract ’em.”

Anna turns to look as Sam slams his bloody palm into the viscous sigil on the wall. In the resulting burst of light, Anna is expelled from the area.

“Is she gone?” Mary softly asks, turning to look at Tabitha beside her.

“Yeah,” Tabitha shakily answers, just as her legs give out from beneath her and she falls back onto the hood of the car behind her.

“Oh my god,” Mary exclaims, rushing forward to help when she sees the blade Tabitha still clutches just above her hip bone. She starts to reach out to touch it, but stops when she notices the blueish light escaping around the blade.

Dean and Sam reach their sister at the same time, both crowding around Mary as they too stop to stare in shock.

But when Tabitha moves her shaky hands to pull the blade out, Dean rushes forward to stop her.

“Leave it in,” he argues, worry making his words come out in a rush. “You don’t know what that might have hit.”

Teeth chattering at the coldness she suddenly feels, Tabitha shakes her head and argues, “Don’t think so. Too low for kidney and too wide for any major arteries.”

Dean moves to press his hands around the blade, staring in horror and wonder at the strange light that now leaks out around his fingers. “I don’t know what the hell this blade is doing to you, but I don’t think we should move it. They always say to leave it in.”

Energy waning, Tabitha lets her head fall against her brother’s shoulder as she asks, “Which of us has actual emergency first aid training? I think it’s nicked the abdominal wall is all.” And before he can see what she’s doing, she yanks the blade free. Numb fingers drop the blade as it clatters to the cement.

Dean’s fingers slip with the blood that oozes out, but quickly covers the resulting hole as he twists and orders his brother to find rags to stop the bleeding.

John hesitantly steps forward then, eyes wide in shock as he stares at them all, but he holds something out towards Dean even as Tabitha slumps back to lie against the hood of the car beneath her.

Dean glances down and sighs in relief at the sight of the first aid kit held towards him. The brothers help her peel out of her leather coat and set to work on her wound. Between the two, they manage to stuff bandaging around Tabitha’s wound, slowing the blood oozing from the wound, and seeming to hold the blueish light in from escaping.

“What the hell is that light?” Dean whispers when he’s finished wrapping gauze around her midsection, finally glancing up to meet his sister’s eyes.

She removes the bloody hand she’d covered her eyes with, meeting her brother’s bewildered gaze as she shrugs and tugs her blood-soaked t-shirt back over the bandages.

“I have no idea,” she admits. “But I could almost feel…whatever it was…slipping through your fingers.”

“What the hell is going on?” John demands then. “Why was that woman trying to kill me, and what was she?”

Dean starts to answer him, but then turns to Mary, telling her, “We need to get out of here now. Before Anna comes back here.”

“Where?” Mary asks. “You said she could find us.”

“Then we’ve got to hide you guys somewhere and put up spells to hide you.”

Dean holds his hand out to his sister, helping her gingerly sit up as he carefully looks her over.

She sees the worry and hesitance in his eyes and tells him, “You’re right. I’ll only slow you down right now. And you absolutely have to get them out of here. Get them somewhere safe.”

Sam puffs up, not liking the sound of her words. “What?! We’re not leaving you here, Tab. We’ll get you out of here, too.”

She holds Dean’s eyes as he frowns and then looks away, unable to hold her eyes though he knows the truth.

“I don’t like splitting up,” Dean mutters as he stares at the cement. “Especially not with you hurt.”

But they both know by his words that he’s not arguing with her that it needs to be done. And they both know the wound isn’t likely to be life-threatening. Though it could be if she’s forced to fight Anna again in her current shape. Though he’s loath to admit it, Dean knows as well as she does that she’s more of a hindrance to them than she could possibly be of any help to them now.

“I’ll slow you down,” Tabitha explains as she turns to her younger brother. “The two of you can get them out of here and keep them safe. That’ll be hard enough with you guys trying to keep just two people safe. You can’t take on looking after a third person, too. And I can look after myself as long as I’m not heading into the fray.”

“Where will you go?” Dean quietly asks, looking back to her as Mary steps over to softly speak with John.

Tabitha immediately sees the suggestion in Dean’s eyes and agrees. “I’ll go find Cas. If Anna’s up and running, maybe Cas will be, too. I’ll head back there and see if he can patch me up.”

She turns to head Sam’s argument off. “You know this is the way it has to be, Sammy. And I can look after myself. You guys just look after them and watch your own backs. Besides,” she holds her wrist up to display the blood spattered charms on her wrist, “she can’t find me anyway. It’s them we need to worry about right now.”

Dean watches as she slides to her feet and painstakingly pulls her leather coat back on. She stands without shaking by sheer determination to prove to her brothers that she’s truly fine. Only then does Dean step forward, kissing her forehead and pressing his favorite Colt 1911 .45 caliber into her hands as he tells her, “Be careful and call—” He stops when he realizes where they are and that she can’t call his cell if something goes wrong.

Before he can change his mind, she takes the nickel-plated pistol and slides it into the waistband at her back, telling him, “I’ll be fine. Just make sure you take care of them.”

She turns to pull herself into an undamaged pickup in the garage, wincing as she pulls the panel under the steering wheel off to hot-wire the ignition. As she starts the engine and looks up, she sees that Sam has opened the overhead door for her, and she nods to both of her brothers before she begins pulling away.

Her last sight of her parents is the image of Mary’s hands moving fast as she speaks to John, her father’s hand tangling in his hair as he shakes his head in disbelief at whatever his wife’s words are.

Tabitha is running on fumes as she fumbles with her lock picks trying to open the door to the honeymoon suite. She hadn’t thought to grab the key from Dean before they split up and curses the oversight now.

By the time she finally stumbles into the darkened room, she has a momentary panic that Castiel really is up and gone already. But when she flicks the lights on, sighs in both relief and fear when she sees the angel still lying in the middle of the heart-shaped bed. Exactly where she and Dean had left him hours before.

Weaving and unbalanced, she makes her way to the bed, slumping down beside him as she reaches out to roughly shake the angel.

“Cas,” she calls to him, lowering her head towards his ear as she shoves his shoulder. “Cas, please wake up. I need your help.”

The angel doesn’t stir, and Tabitha finds that she doesn’t have the strength to attempt rousing him again. Thinking to rest her eyes, she lets her head fall the last few inches to lie on the pillow next to the angel, her body painfully collapsing in a heap next to the still body in the cold trench coat.

Through the troubled sleep and nightmares that flit across her half-consciousness, Tabitha realizes that someone is shaking her shoulder and then pushing it to roll her onto her back.

The resulting pain from her body being roughly reoriented is enough to bring Tabitha fully awake, staring up into the unfocused eyes of Castiel as he struggles to prop himself up on his elbow and look down at her.

His eyes squint at her as if he can’t quite see her, almost as though they’re hazy and feverish. His hand skims up her side in an uncoordinated manner, stopping at the thick wet bandages around her midsection.

“You’re hurt,” he slurs in a slow tone. He starts to become more agitated as Tabitha reaches to pull his hand away from her painful side. The angel grips her arm then, unnerving her with the way he looks almost through her, as though stuck in a dream he can’t quite wake from as he frantically speaks to her.

“You can’t be here while you’re hurt. Anna might find you. I have to send you back. I have to send you back to your time with your brothers so they can protect you until I’m able to.”

She starts to correct his frantic words to tell him that her brothers are still here, but his hand glows as he shoves her away, light blinding her as pain bursts in her side even as she feels every cell in her body being yanked through time and space.

Sam and Dean move silently around their room, an air of desolation and hopelessness hanging heavily off them both.

They’d done their best to save their parents—and they had, at least partially. Their parents had survived, but they’d failed to change anything about the past. Their mother had still walked into that nursery when Sam was six months old. She’d still died. Thanks in part to Michael jumping into their father. He’d killed Anna to save their parents, but then, he’d wiped their memories so that nothing had changed. They’d accomplished nothing.

And then the arrogant dick had given Dean a long speech about the inevitability of him saying yes to him in the end. That both he and Sam would say ‘yes’ and that they had to do it before Tabitha eventually said ‘yes’ to Azrael. That was before he’d finally healed Sam and sent them both back to the future.

Both brothers had hoped to see their sister when they were returned to their own present time period. But she and Castiel were nowhere to be seen. And neither brother wanted to talk about the possibilities of where she might be or if she was really okay. They both feared actually talking about what might have happened to her. Especially with the strange wound she’d been sporting when they parted. Neither of the brothers knew what the hell the blue light had been, and both feared that it might mean she really wasn’t okay.

Instead of brooding and worrying, Dean had gone to the nearest liquor store for a bottle of whiskey to help pass the time while they waited for her, not knowing what else they could possibly do.

Still in heavy silence, Sam unwraps two of the disposable plastic cups from their motel room so that Dean can pour them a drink from the whiskey bottle he unwraps.

As Sam finishes unwrapping the cups, he glances up into the mirror hanging on the wall, gasping when he sees the familiar angel standing behind him with blood once more trickling down his nose.

“Castiel,” he exclaims, spinning around towards the angel when he weaves on his feet and grabbing him to steady him. “Hey. Hey, hey. Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.”

“Cas!” Dean shouts as he too turns to help steady the angel.

“We got you,” Sam assures the angel.

Dean sighs a little in relief at seeing the little nerd, telling him, “You son of a bitch. You made it.”

“I…” Castiel looks down at his hand in surprise, roughly asking, “I did?”

Then he looks up between the brothers, telling them in an awed voice, “I’m very surprised.”

Dean looks around the room then, expecting to see their sister as well, but can’t find her anywhere, and doesn’t hear her familiar sarcastic rejoinders.

“Where’s Tab?” he demands then of the angel. “Where’s our sister?”

But even as he asks the questions, the angel goes slack, his body falling limply between the brothers as they struggle to hold him upright.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa!” Dean exclaims, struggling to help support the unmoving angel.

“Whoa! You’re okay,” Sam shouts, helping to lift the angel.

“Bed?” Dean asks his brother, seeing that the angel isn’t likely to be able to stand on his own two feet anytime soon.

“Yeah, yeah,” Sam agrees as they drag the angel over to it.

Dean hesitates over the angel’s prone body, shaking him a few times while asking, “Cas? Cas! Where’s Tab? Where’s our sister.”

Seeing that he won’t get an answer, he stands to stare down at the unconscious angel, snapping at him, “Do not tell me you left our sister in the 70s, Cas!”

“Do you think she’s okay?” Sam asks as they stand at the foot of the bed, staring down at the angel. “I mean, maybe he sent her back to the future but not here,” he tries to explain.

Having already considered that, Dean yanks his cellphone from his pocket, waving it in the air as he grits through his teeth, “Don’t you think she would have at least called then?”

“Unless she couldn’t,” Sam whispers.

His older brother’s eyes narrow on him as Dean growls, “Don’t even say that, Sam. Don’t think it. Tab’s tough as nails. She’s fine. Wherever she is.”

“Yeah, but where?”

With a withering sigh, Dean continues to stare down at Castiel. “We’re just gonna have to wait until Cas wakes up and can tell us. Or until she shows up. Maybe his aim was off and he sent her further into the future. You know, like tonight or something. We’ll just wait here until we know what’s what.”

After another moment of silence, Dean tells his younger brother, “Well, I could use that drink now.”

“Yeah,” Sam agrees, definitely feeling the need to imbibe in something to numb his racing emotions.

Dean pours them both a stout class of whiskey, his hand shaking a bit as he tells his brother, “Well…this is it.”

“This is what?” Sam asks, bewildered by the comment.

“Team free will,” Dean answers, but then adds, “Or will be, once Tab gets her ass back here.”

Dean pauses again before turning to face Sam as he explains, “One ex-blood junkie, one dropout with 6 bucks to his name, a former federal agent that keeps disappearing or taking off, and Mr. Comatose over there. It’s awesome.”

Frowning, Sam points out, “It’s not funny.”

Dean takes another drink before responding darkly, “I’m not laughing.”

Sam sighs at his drink, still staring down at the angel sprawled on the bed. “They all say we’ll say ‘yes,'” he tells his older brother. “Even Tab from what they say.”

“I know,” Dean responds in a tight voice. “It’s getting annoying.”

“What if they’re right?” Sam dares to wonder.

Dean pauses in taking another drink to say with assurance, “They’re not.”

“I mean, w-why—why would we, either of us?” Sam continues to ask, despite his brother’s assured tone. “Or Tab either? But…I’ve been weak before.”

Dean starts to interrupt his brother. “Sam…”

“Michael got Dad to say ‘yes,'” Sam reminds him.

“That was different. Anna was about to kill Mom.”

“And if you could save Mom… What would you say?” He swallows thickly and continues, “Or if we could save Tab from the angels? Or if she could save us from the angels? Don’t you think she’d say ‘yes’ to save us?”

A little smile ticks up the corner of Dean’s mouth then, surprising Sam as Dean explains, “Do you really think our sister would say ‘yes’ to those angels? Because they tell her to? You know our Tabby better than that. When has she ever made things easy for anyone? She can’t even make things easy on us and just get her ass back here on time.”

Sam laughs a little at that, admitting, “Yeah. I guess you’re right about that. But what if we really cansave her? I mean, save her from Lucifer and Azrael. What if we can really protect her?”

“What would any of us do?” Dean mutters into his glass before downing the last drop. Despite his reassurances to his little brother, he does wonder what any of them might do, even Tabitha. Wonders to himself just what lengths any of them might really go to to protect each other.

Only time will tell.

Tabitha blinks against the blinding sunlight the warms her face, raising one hand to shield her eyes from the offending light. She sits up slowly and painfully from the dew-wet pavement she’d been laying on. As she finally pushes to a seated position, she realizes that she’s sitting on the cold pavement of a parking lot next to the Impala.

Though her brothers are nowhere to be seen, she can only assume that they are nearby, likely in the motel room the car is parked in front of.

By the time she pulls herself to her feet and makes her way to the door, she feels a little more stable, finally shaking off some of the lingering effects of being hurled through time and space. But she still cusses in exhaustion when there’s no answer at her brothers’ motel room door, having to fish her lock picks out for a second time to break into a motel room she doesn’t have a key for.

Her brothers’ clothes are thrown haphazardly around the room, but she can’t find anything of her own. Deciding that one of Dean’s blue flannel shirts will have to do to replace her own bloody clothes, she snags it and his field medical kit and makes her way to the bathroom.

An hour later, she hears her brothers’ voices entering the motel room just as she finishes stitching the wound in her side. Tossing down the bloody needle and scissors, she pulls the purloined shirt over her bra and begins buttoning it as she steps out of the bathroom. She still feels like hell, but the simple act of finally stitching the wound closed makes her feel a bit stronger.

“Glad to know you guys weren’t so worried about me that you couldn’t go out for dinner,” she teases as she fumbles with the first of the buttons at the tail of the shirt, cursing that men’s shirts button from the other direction.

Silence meets her, causing Tabitha to stop her attempts at threading the button into the proper hole as she glances up.

Two handguns greet her at eye level, Dean staring hard down the barrel of his Colt 1911 as he demands, “Who the hell are you and what are you doing in our room?”

A/N: Dun dun dun. 🙂

So sorry again for the delays. Holidays are always a killer for free time, and then there’s been a bunch of end-of-the-year inventorying and bookwork that’s had to take precedence for the company me and my family own. (I absolutely hate the accounting crap, too. That is SO not what I went to college for! And I hate numbers! UGH!)

Anyway, excuses aside, I finally managed to steal some time to knock this chapter out. (But if anyone asks you, I was doing inventory the WHOLE time. 😉 I’m just a slow counter, had to use my fingers and toes.)

This isn’t my favorite chapter, and I think that’s part of what took so long to get it done. But I needed to just bite the bullet and do it so I could get to the next one, which should be a lot more fun. 😀

Any guesses as to what’s going on? Hmm, what’s up with her brothers?


And thanks so much to all the loyal reviewers who stick with me even when I take an unexpected absence! I love you all! And I hope the holidays treated everyone well. 🙂

And be sure to continue leaving review love! That’s what kicks my butt in gear when I’m getting bogged down.

Also, I wanted to get this chapter up so I didn’t take the time to add pics like I usually do, but you guys will have to let me know if you really liked the extras and would like me to continue adding them, or if you prefer just the story itself.



Chapter 11: Just Follow the Yellow Brick Road


2 responses to “Chapter 10: You Don’t Know What You’re Missing Now

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