"Death and Life are in the power of the tongue."
‘Living out of a car and in hotels…not exactly what I expected when I asked for the job. But you know best.’ Rhomy thought. It wasn’t that uncommon for her to talk in her head. It got embarrassing when she muttered something out loud. It didn’t help her convince Dean she wasn’t some freak of nature. So far he was being very calm about their arrangement.
‘An angel of God told him to protect me. Who wouldn’t remain cool?’
Who indeed… she remembered a couple verses where it was all panic and fear- hadn’t Riel been sort of frightened by one?
Rhomy thought it would’ve been amazing to see. An angel so big he took up the entire side of Riel’s room and so tall his head and shoulders disappeared through the floor above.
‘Dumb butt panicked.’
And the angel just left, turned and sort of… faded out.
‘Wish I’d have seen it.’
“I shouldn’t have said that.” Because she saw angels all the time, she’d been able to speak to them since she was a little girl. There was Castiel and Tamryn; she could hear their true voices. “So what if Gabriel got to see an angel … just because -.”
Rhomy turned, eyes wide with shock. Questions raced through her mind, too many to even make sense but the one that stuck out was How?
How did a demon get in their hotel room? Sam had salted all the entrances, windows, doors- she saw him. But it was inside. She berated herself for not adding her own locks, for getting too comfortable with the guys and being complacent. She wasn’t looking out for herself. What good where all the things she’d been taught, what her Mother had repeatedly told her and Grandmother Sydony? She wasn’t applying any of it and instead of trying to figure out what to cook for their dinner-
Rhomy grabbed the handle of the pot on the stove. She’d just turned the flames down and the lentil soup was still boiling. She hurled the entire thing at the demon, heard it scream- pain and yelling- all rage but Rhomy dashed across the living area. She stepped onto the scarred coffee table and towards the beds. She needed the vial in the dresser.
“You're going to pay!”
Rhomy yanked out the drawer, it spilled all over the floor, between the beds but the vial, as well as Dean’s flask of holy water bounced on the shaggy carpet close to her feet. Rhomy grabbed both; the stopper on the vial was easy to flick off, easier than trying to unscrew the flask.
“In nomine Dei Patris omnipotentis, et in noimine Jesu Christi Filii ejus, Domini et Judicis nostri, et in virtute Spiritus Sancti, ut descedas ab hoc plasmate Dei!” She splashed some of the oil on the demon, it screamed again, tried to wipe it off and smacked into her. She dropped the flask but didn’t bother picking it up. The demon was angry, in pain and it had gotten inside. It got in the room. She didn’t sense it, didn’t hear it- they got inside.
They fell over, Rhomy twisting about to land on top as the dmeon flailed in vain, trying to get her off even as the black cloud burst from the poor man's mouth and dissappeared.
“Exorcizamus te, omnis immundus spiritus, omnis satanica potestas, omnis incursio infernalis adversarii, omnis legio, omnis congregatio et secta diabolica, in nomine et virtute Domini Nostri Jesu Christi, eradicare et effugare a Dei Ecclesia, ab animabus ad imaginem Dei conditis ac pretioso divini Agni sanguine redemptis. Non ultra audeas, serpens callidissime, decipere humanum genus, Dei Ecclesiam persequi, ac Dei electos excutere et cribrare sicut triticum.”
She was breathing hard, her palm pressing down on the cold lifeless forehead. The man was dead. He was beyond anything she could’ve done for him. No one in the family had been gifted with raising the dead- not since Elian but that had been before he went his own way.
‘One bad apple…’
But it wasn’t fair to think that way. She had no idea what her Grandfather had been thinking, why he’d disobeyed and she was no one to judge. Nothing was going to change what was.
“Now what?” Rhomy wondered as she got off the bed where they’d fallen in the struggle. How was she getting rid of the dead body?
Her shoulders tensed. It felt like the time when she’d gone to the chiropractor after Riel had crashed the car. They’d attached little wires to the patches on her back- electric stimulation- or something like that. Rhomy had been surprised by the foreign sensation and after a while it got comfortable, so much that she fell asleep.
‘No sleeping this time.’
Rhomy turned, barely raising a hand to deflect the fist coming at her face. It still clipped her but she fought back, thinking she’d been smart to wear the shorts in favor of the mini skirt. It was cute and all but kicking in it… the demon stumbled over the coffee table, it broke under his weight and Rhomy made a grab for the vials at the foot of the bed. She heard someone yell- like when you're surprised to find someone standing right behind you but never heard them approach, it happens. The sound echoed, somehow outside of herself.
Rhomy felt the jarring blow as she hit the wall, her right side went numb and she could almost swear there were stars twinkling around her head. The smell of the shaggy fluffy carpet under her cheek registered faintly. Sound was muffled or maybe she’d gone deaf- could that happen? Had she hit the wall that hard?
Rhomy grunted, brow furrowed but she pushed the stupid thoughts out of her head and started to force herself off the floor. Another sharp pain in her left side left her breathless; she hardly felt the demon push her onto her back.
“This, it’s just the start.” The demon promised. Rhomy snapped a fist but only graced its chin. She squirmed trying to get out from under him. It was difficult when the demon had a choke hold on her neck. She couldn’t even speak.
“Where is it?” The pressure eased allowing her to drag in a breath. That hurt more but she didn’t waste the breath.
“Ergo, draco maledicte-.”
Her voice cut off, no sound- not even a pained squeak got past the vice on her neck.
“I’m going to enjoy asking you questions.” It pulled her up only to slam her down again. It hurt, even with the shaggy carpet as a buffer, her head hurt and it felt light. Rhomy blamed the fuzzy vision on the lack of oxygen.
“No, no, no.” The demon pressed a hand to her cheek shaking her head from side to side. “Listen!”
She felt her face sting, a slight pain on her cheek and blinked. The demon came into focus again, too late for her to raise a hand in defense. Rhomy’s head snapped to the side but that pain was mixed with the rawness in her throat because she was gasping in air. It mixed with the copper in her mouth and she tried to spit out the blood from the cut inside her cheek and on her lip.
“There now.” The demon mocked, swiping a lock of hair out of her eyes. “Be a good little Christian.” He murmured close to her ear. “Tell me where it is.”
Rhomy coughed, wincing at the pain in her throat. The awful taste in her mouth was making her want to puke or maybe it was the pain in her side- had it kicked her? The demon slapped her again, grabbing her chin and forcing her to look at him.
“Where is it?” He glared. “Simple, to the point. Now answer me.”
Rhomy smiled, it hurt her lip but she did it. The demon shook its head sitting up once more.
“You are going to tell me.” He assured pulling out a long dagger. “Because eventually,” he placed the tip at her throat pressing gently. “You all break.”
She knew it wasn’t lying but she wasn’t going to let them have it. The ones before had suffered their own trials. Grandmother Syd had almost died…
There hadn’t been any trouble the past few weeks, especially with Rhomy safely left behind at the hotel on each hunt. She really didn’t complain- except when there wasn’t a stove but so far that had only been the one time. Dean kinda felt a little bad about handcuffing her to the old heater but it was the only way he was sure she wouldn’t get in trouble while they were gone. He hadn’t been amused to find the antique heater dismantled and Rhomy flicking through channels extremely bored.
‘At least she didn’t destroy my handcuffs.’
She did question him about them when they were on the road again, rather straight faced and serious but Dean’d had the nagging suspicion she was just messing with him. And just for a second, Sam hadn’t been able to pretend she wasn’t in the car with them and laughed at his brother’s slightly flushed cheeks.
In the weeks since the asylum haunting Sam had warmed up to Rhomy. Dean supposed it had to do with the fact she didn’t say anything to him about what he was doing. Dean had already tried having that conversation with Sam and it hadn’t ended well.
Those couple of days after she woke up to them having that conversation… Dean wouldn’t want to go through it again. The silence, that heavy, uncomfortable silence… he'd been almost certain she could tell, that she could see the guilt and shame-
“You hungry?” Dean asked tossing their gear into the trunk. “I’m hungry.” He answered without giving Sam a chance to respond. He needed something to take his mind off those thoughts. And even though he couldn’t get an aplogy out for being such a jerk, Rhomy hadn't asked him about it. She'd had that same damn, patient, calm as when he'd first talked to her in the kithcen at her apartment. “You think I’ll get some bacon today?”
That made Sam snicker because Rhomy had cut into Dean’s daily intake of bacon, she cut into his cheese burger intake as well. Sam didn’t mind so much, he was happy to have a ‘home cooked meal’ even if it was in a hotel kitchenette. He wondered if she’d make another pie sometime soon but so far she’d proven to be rather inventive with what she managed to pick up at the little markets they passed along the way. Sam had been able to relax around her, even if he'd been pretending at first. Sam hadn't thought he could pull it off, but it was the only way to get Lilith.
They got in and started down the road, both of them covered in grass stains and dirt smeared from their trek in the woods. In the past month they hadn’t dealt with anything more important than a poltergeist, a couple of hauntings- salt and burns, really… Both of them were starting to feel more than a little anxious at the lack of information on the seals but no angel had shown up.
Somehow, neither of them took that as a good sign.
How long had it been? Wasn’t it time the guys were back? Rhomy didn’t think she’d stay conscious much longer.
“Good little Christian like you…” the demon sat back blowing out a satisfying sigh wearing a pleased smile on the stolen face. “You aren't lying are you?”
She’d tried not to scream, to give as little satisfaction from the torture but the pick in her wrist … it was like fire licking at her arm. The demon kept going out of focus-
“I’m considering… slit your throat,” it pressed something to her neck, Rhomy could hardly bring herself to worry about it, that pain wasn’t as bad- just a little sting added to all the rest.
“No… I’m going to let you bleed to death.” It chuckled, a heavy weight easing off her body replaced by another pain, sharp enough to get a noise from her.
“Couldn’t help it.” He said as more blood spread over her stomach. It wasn’t a mortal wound but the cut was deep enough to soak her tank with blood in moments. It stood for a moment watching her try and keep her eyes open, a hand feebly pressing down on her stomach to stanch the blood. The carpet under her impaled wrist was soaked with it.
“Alright.” He said very business like. “I have a key to pick up.”
It left, the sound barely audible through the roar in her ears.
Was anyone listening?
The stench of sulfur was strong, rotten eggs, and it hit both of them as soon as they opened the door.
“Rhomilly!” Dean called shoving past Sam and into the little kitchen area. Sam scanned their room, avoiding the spilled food and pot. There was a mess leading to the beds but Dean was already moving into the next area- to the bed and the man lying in it.
“Rhomy!” Dean called again. Worry and fear filled his voice. Sam turned around, noticed the stove was still on, the flame turned low. His eyes wandered over the floor, to his broken salt lines…
‘What did they do?’
Dean took in the broken drawer, his flask lying on the floor and the corpse in Rhomy’s bed.
She’d exorcised the demon; its face was covered with that oil she used. Dean kicked the man’s leg but he got no protest. Had there been more? What had they done with her? Dean snapped out of his trance and headed towards the bathroom hoping he wouldn’t find her in there. He couldn’t think straight, worrying about her, wondering if she was dead-
‘Please … Don’t let her be dead. Please…’
“Rhomy-.” He saw her from the corner of his eye. He saw her lying on the floor hidden by the bed. “Rhomilly!”
Sam hurried across the room towards Dean kneeling by the far wall.
“Don’t.” Sam warned seeing Dean reach for the pick in her wrist. Pulling it out would open the wound again, make her bleed more and then he noticed the gash on her stomach. Sam headed to the bathroom coming back with two towels which he handed to Dean. He’d cinched her wrist with his belt cutting off the blood flow and grasped the handle. He yanked it out wincing but Rhomy didn’t move. Dean quickly wrapped the second towel around her wrist worried by the stillness- she hadn’t made any sound and her skin was too pale.
“We should get her to the hospital-.” Sam moved back, out of the way as Dean slipped his arms under Rhomy and lifted her dead weight easily. Not a word but the fear was etched onto his brother’s face. He hadn’t seen Dean like that, not that afraid- not since his year had been up and the Hell Hounds dragged him down…
‘Please ...‘ Dean begged in silence, pleading with whoever was up there. ‘Don’t let her die.’ He needed someone to help, to keep her alive. He cried out in silence because for Rhomy it had to be different. HE had a plan for her, she believed that. Rhomy had faith…
The place was difficult to find, even with the information he pulled out of the little Martyr lying in a pool of blood. He'd wanted to spend more time with her but… there was a key he needed to retrieve. He had a delivery to make and Lilith wouldn’t like if he made her wait.
Without care, the door was brushed aside, it fell from its hinges and raised clouds of dust from the abandoned hovel. He glanced around once, face scrunched with distaste and then he saw it. Illuminated by a ray of moonlight streaming through the circular window set high in the far wall. The box she had described, resting on the Prie Diu, exactly as she'd said it would be.
"I was so hoping I'd get to play with her insides." The demon sighed, smile in place as he picked up the box. He tried to open it, twisting and lifting, prying at the edges… none of it worked and he grew frustrated. "Maybe I will play with her some more."
"You've done enough."
The demon turned, startled not to have heard the angel. He tucked the box into his jacket pocket, rying to be surreptitious about the whole thing even as he backed away. "I was just leaving."
She didn’t let his smile turn to a smirk before she had him in hand. She held him in place, eyes glowing copper and gold while her grip sloly tightened. "You leave when I'm done. Once you tell us what you're after."
“She was lucky.” The doctor said while keeping his voice low as he spoke with Sam in the hallway just outside Rhomy’s room. “The ice pick went through the radius and ulna missing the palmoris longus. That’s the muscle that facilitates wrist movement.” The doctor explained. “It also missed the artery. She lost a lot of blood but…” the doctor left unsaid the obvious. Had her artery been pierced, Rhomy would be dead and no one was bringing her back from there. “The rest of her injuries are consistent with a beating; a broken rib, mild contusion- all in all I’d say she’s a lucky young woman.”
“Thank you, doctor.” Sam shook his hand and let him walk away. He looked into the room where his brother sat by her side, his head hanging, hands clenched together… Dean looked worried and the fact that he’d known Rhomy a little over three months made Sam wonder what was wrong with his brother. He drew in a breath and almost took a step towards the room. At the last moment he decided getting coffee was better than sitting there with Dean looking all tortured for something they’d had no control over.
Sam winced inwardly. His brother hadn't been in control over what happened. Dean had no idea…
'What else is it going to take?'
Dean barely heard the murmur of voices in the hallway. He knew Sam was taking care of the details with the doctor. That was usually his job but Dean wasn’t going to let her out of his sight. He wasn’t going to screw up again because he was supposed to be protecting her.
‘Bang up job, Deano. Look how great this has turned out.’
“You almost died…” he murmured raising his head and staring at her. There was a purple bruise on her cheek, more pronounced because of her pallor and that was due to all the blood she’d lost before They’d gotten to her. Her full lips were pale, a bright red gash on the bottom one from where she’d been hit. The nurse had washed her hair, cleaned all the blood off her… Dean’s jaw clenched, a muscle jumping at the thought of what had been done to her.
They’d cut her.
It wasn’t enough to beat her but they had to cut her as well. A gash on her stomach, shallow but still painful and he hadn’t been there to keep her safe.
He reached for her hand and hesitated. There was an IV taped to her hand, medicine dripping into the tube, the little beeping machine on the side keeping a soft continuous count of her heart beat. Dean’s fingers curled into his palm, not touching her at all. He didn’t dare. They shouldn’t have placed her in his care to begin with. He wasn’t good at protecting people. He knew it and they should’ve known it as well but mostly, Dean should have told them 'No' from the very start and walked.
“She will live.”
Dean turned to the door, rising in one fluid motion, all dangerous with murder burning in his green eyes.
“Where the hell have you been?” He demanded, hands clenched just itching to swing at the damn pigeon.
“Gathering information.” Castiel replied tilting his head slightly to study Dean, his reaction and the emotions flowing off him were odd to the angel.
“Information.” Dean echoed, spitting the word past clenched teeth. “That’s more important than saving one of God’s soldiers?”
Castiel stepped into the room, his eyes on Dean, still calm and unperturbed which is what had Dean fuming. Couldn’t the angels show a little concern for those that served them and the man above? Did they care about anything other than the damn seals and the apocalypse?
“Not everything can be prevented.” Castiel said. His gaze flicked to Rhomy lying very still on the bed. He studied her, the slow barely visible rise and fall of her chest as she took another breath. She was abnormally pale for someone of her complexion and that bothered Castiel though it didn’t show. He stepped past Dean, ignoring the hissed warning to leave her alone since they'd shown how good they were at that.
Dean watched Cas touch his palm to Rhomy’s chest. He wanted to drag the angel away from the bed and start punching the feathered fuck but she drew in a deep breath, her eyelids fluttering. Dean held his breath, hoping…but she didn’t open her eyes.
“Rest.” Castiel murmured removing his hand. He stared at her for a moment and by the time Dean opened his mouth to yell at the angel, he was gone.
“Dean?” Sam stood in the door, two Styrofoam cups in hand, looking at his brother with some concern. “Why are you yelling?”
“Cas was here.” Dean snapped, glaring at him.
“Cas? Did he say anything about the seals?” Sam asked advancing into the room. He knew that was the wrong thing to say when Dean’s eyes narrowed on him.
“He was checking up on Rhomy.” He replied after a moment. “Making sure she’s still breathing no thanks to them.” Dean ignored the coffee and sat down again not talking to Sam. After an hour he got up and left Dean alone, there was nothing for him to do there anyway. It was difficult to hide what he was feeling, Sam felt as though his guilty concience was yelling it was all his fault. And Dean was pretending to ignore that too.
It was another hour before Dean looked up at the sound of her soft sigh. He was anxious and she noticed it the moment she opened her eyes and saw him.
“Dean…?” Her voice was no louder than a whisper, sounding huskier than her usual tone.
“I’m here.” He replied trying to keep his voice from sounding too rough. “How do you feel? You ok?”
“Fine.” Rhomy answered turning her head to look around the room. “What happened?” She was a little disoriented, confused by the hospital and then she remembered why.
“You tell me.” Dean replied. “I found you bleeding-.”
Rhomy turned her head towards him again, wishing the worry he’d suffered could have been avoided. She could tell he was tired, there was a look in his eyes she couldn’t quite figure out but the guilt was there in the droop of his shoulders.
“It’s not your fault, Dean.” She whispered wishing he’d look at her but he was staring at the floor. “Did Tamryn come?” She asked instead. “I thought I felt…” it had been peaceful; no pain, no fear, nothing at all but a strong feeling of peace had enveloped her. An angel had been there-
She almost sat up at the thought. They’d done it and now, maybe, hopefully it would be easier…
“Castiel.” Dean answered frowning. “That pigeon showed up. Not that he was needed anymore.”
“Dean,” Rhomy sighed. “Don’t blame this on the angels.” Because it wasn’t exactly their fault but telling that to Dean was like actively trying to make a volcano erupt.
“You're right. It’s my fault.” Dean said. “Because I should’ve been there.”
“No, no you were not supposed to be anywhere but where you were.” Rhomy insisted frowning at him. “Will you look at me?” She demanded when he kept staring at the floor. “Don’t make me get up, guero.” Because she would, if that’s what it took to get him to see that she wasn’t blaming him for anything. She couldn’t and she wouldn’t let him blame himself either.
Dean looked up frowning but at least he was looking at her and Rhomy relaxed against the pillows.
“So when are we leaving?” She asked. Dean blinked, not sure he’d heard her correctly except that he had.
“Are you crazy?” He demanded standing up again. He couldn’t believe she was trying to make light of her near death.
“Not unless the doctor said I was. Did he? Or she?” Rhomy knew it was a mistake as soon as she said it. The teasing tone wasn’t going to put Dean in a good mood or make him forget where they were. “I’m sorry. Just- how many times can you blame your self for things that aren't your fault?” she asked him quietly. He didn’t say anything but he didn’t have to. “They wanted the key, Dean. They know that’s what I have but I wasn’t going to give it to them.” She didn’t mention anything about how the demons could know she was guarding a key.
“And you're in the hospital because of your stubborn pigheadedness.” Dean snapped glaring at her.
“They wouldn’t have believed me if I told them right away.” Rhomy protested. She’d had to make it harder so that when she did tell them where the key was located they wouldn’t doubt her.
“Rhomy,” Dean closed his eyes, drawing in a breath knowing how she must feel. She’d given up the one thing her family had been guarding for generations. “There was nothing else you could have done. We’ll find the key, get it back-.”
“What- no.” Rhomy frowned. “I didn’t give it to them.”
“But-. They…” he was confused. She’d broken, told them where the key was, she’d said as much.
“I lied.” Rhomy said simply. She could see the incredulous expression on his face and sank into the pillows just a little. “I asked forgiveness for it.” She said softly because she wasn’t supposed to be a liar, at least- well, it had been needed at the time.
“You lied.” Dean repeated unable to believe she’d suffered through a beating and still lied knowing she was likely going to die. “You … lied.” Dean sat in the chair. He felt more than tired-exhausted really, but he couldn’t get those two words out of his head.
“I sent them on a wild goose chase to Selva Beach. They’ll certainly find a surprise waiting for them.” Rhomy assured with a crooked smile.
Dean was visibly upset though silent. He was having trouble accepting the fact she’d been willing to die for the damn key. She’d lied to the demons even though they beat her, cut her… Dean felt more and more guilty. She’d been strong enough to protect the key, just a key…while he… He’d broken, gave in…
‘How can she be so strong willed?’ he wondered. He was almost certain she would have done better in his place. Hell, she’d have likely kept the bastards busy all eternity.
Not like him.
Why was he so different from John?
Had his Father known, that Dean was really weak beneath all his bluster and ‘Yes sir’, the façade of obedient first son…
Why couldn’t he have been stronger?