“Can you please tell me why we are dressed like tourists?”
Akira came out dressed in jeans and a peasant blouse and replied to Dean’s question, “They have your scent. Those actually belong to some members of the order. It might throw off them off.” She picked up the Impala keys and tossed them to Dean and walked out the door to wait by the car.
Dean pocketed the keys and looked at Sam who looked like he belonged back at Stanford. “Why did we agree to this?”
Sam gave him a duh look, “Because they know what we are up against and they’re the only ones who offered a plan. Besides we’ve had worse after us.”
“Yeah right.” Dean looked at the polo shirt and jeans he was wearing. He looked like a preppy. Suddenly the kachina appeared and jumped onto his shoulder. “Oh no. I’m not walking around like a prep boy with a kachina doll hanging on me. Get off.”
Sam started laughing at Dean’s discomfort. “You’re the one that complained about not getting a girl. And now you got one. One that really likes you.”
“Shut up Sam,” Dean retorted trying to grab the kachina. “Stop it. You can’t stay there.”
“Dean just let it ride in your jacket pocket. Ask it to stay there and not move unless there’s trouble. Talk to it.”
Dean scowled at his brother, “Alright, alright.” He looked for the kachina who appeared on his shoulder. He looked at it and said, “You can come… just stay in the pocket. Don’t do anything to freak people out.”
The kachina seemed to give a reproachful look before climbing down into the jacket pocket. Sam said, “See that wasn’t hard. Besides didn’t Akira say that they are used in battle?”
“Something like that. I’m going out to the car. Tell your girlfriend to hurry up.” Dean walked out the door.
Sam said nothing else but waited for Angela to show. Ever since she laid down the plan, she now seemed be reluctant to go through with it. He waited for about five minutes before going towards her room. He knocked, “Angela? You coming?”
“Why did the princess give me this thing? I haven’t worn a dress since I was sixteen and that was ages ago.” The voice wasn’t directed at Sam per se. It was more of a self-talk. “All because Marisol is closer to my build than Shayna.”
Sam gave a slight chuckle. “It can’t be that bad.”
“Shut up Sam.”
Sam couldn’t help but laugh. She sounded so much like Dean. He laughed a bit harder when she said, “I’ll kick your ass if you keep this up.”
“You have to come out of there to do it,” Sam taunted her. He then relented, “Angela it’s okay. Look I promise not to laugh if that’s what you’re worried about.”
There was a slight pause before her voice said, “Not worried about that.”
“Then come on out. Remember we need the stuff you said we needed if this is going to work.”
That did the trick. “Alright.”
Sam backed away from the door as the click sounded. The door slowly opened and for a moment Sam didn’t see anyone until Angela stepped from behind the door. What he saw was hardly anything to laugh at.
Angela hated wearing dresses unless it was absolutely necessary and even then she put up a fight. Her plan was a good one but that was before she found out that Marisol was the only other female operative of the order her height that stayed in that house. She went to great pains to make sure no one saw what it was that Akira picked out for her but she knew that she would have to face the music some time. Now it was here.
The dress was a light summer one, perfect for the current weather situation and of all colors it was white and simple. It fit her perfectly much to her dismay. To keep it simple, she pulled her hair back into a bun at the nape of her neck and left a few locks loose. She scowled at the high heeled sandals that showed off her ankles but they were the only thing that went with it. Now she went out to embarrass herself. She stood in the doorway and didn’t move. She chewed her lower lip and asked, “So…?”
Sam said nothing but ran an appreciative eye over Angela’s person. It was easy to see that Angela had Mediterranean heritage as it showed in compliment to the white dress. Seeing that Angela was waiting and looking miserable, he said, “You look nice. Really.”
That seemed to get Angela to move. She moved with her usual deliberateness but it was softened. She picked up the shoulder bag and said, “Let’s get this show on the road. Sooner we get everything, the sooner I can get out of this monstrosity.”
Sam followed her out the door. He said, “It’s really nice.”
“Shut up Sam.”
Akira looked at the proprietor with one of her more endearing smiles. It was protocol and necessary. She gave a slight kick to Dean’s shin to keep him from saying something completely rude. She said, “Night falls quickly in summer.”
The proprietor, a rather elderly Chinese woman, maintained a stoic face and said the reply, “But rises quicker.”
“Is that some form of greeting?”
“You have no manners.” The elderly woman gave a scolding look at Dean. “And don’t you cuss at me Dean Winchester.”
Dean looked at the woman, “I didn’t say anything.”
“You were thinking of it,” the woman replied before turning her attention towards Akira. She addressed her, “I assume that you require some help.”
Akira replied, “Yes. A preparation for a ritual.”
“So you’ve read the signs. The day walker will rise unless you summon the Champion.”
“Something like that,” Akira replied in a whisper. “We need someone who knows the rituals inside and out. My partner Angela is getting things for something explosive from Old Chou. Please Mistress Chen.”
Mistress Chen nodded as she looked about her store. It was one of those souvenir shops that sold junk to tourists who thought they were experiencing a bit of China. It was a good cover for the other jobs that came her way from the order and hunters. Right now there were a few customers besides the girl and her companion. She knew they were risking quite a bit since the word was out that the Winchesters were prime targets as well as her favorite Shadow Chaser. She could tell that this plan had her name written all over it. She replied, “I’ll need you two to follow me.” She then shouted, “Paul! Watch the front.” She then led Akira and Dean towards the back of the store to an iron door.
“You really trust this Mistress Chen?”
“She’s one of the sources the order uses as well as hunters. She is one of the main connections to the underground.”
Mistress Chen listened to the conversation behind her as she led them into the room. It was lined with iron along with salt. In the room were a table and a cupboard. She held out her hand expectantly.
Akira handed the portion of the anti-ritual to her without a word. She watched while Mistress Chen read the whole thing. When she was finished she asked, “You do realize that this ritual requires someone capable of handling the spirit of the Champion summoned.”
“It’s not like I’m volunteering,” Akira replied, “And it’s too powerful for regular humans.”
“Does she know?”
“You know how she is.”
Mistress Chen nodded and began grabbing what is needed. While she was doing that, Dean asked Akira, “What was that about?”
“These kinds of things require individuals who can handle the turbo charge. I’m too young by Chaser standards and humans would go on a power trip. So that leaves Angie.”
“So you mean to have your friend get a turbo charged spirit put in her. What kind of people are you?”
Akira looked at Dean who was looking at her as if she were the most evil thing ever. She replied, “We are part of an ancient order that has protected you humans for centuries. Any means necessary are used. That’s the way it has been since it was first created.”
“Friends don’t do that to each other.”
“Dean, Angela told me to use her. You may not have understood what she meant but she gave me the go ahead. She knew that to call another would take too long.”
Dean felt the urge to throw something. Instead he paced angrily trying hard not to fly into a rage. He said, “Still this is not right. You’re risking your friend’s life here. I wouldn’t do that to Sam.”
Akira hardened her expression. “I don’t like it either but it was a hard lesson to learn. Believe me I may be one of the youngest but I was damned the moment my genes went active. It’s the way of things for all Shadow Chasers.” She raised her arms as if there was nothing else. She then turned away to go help Mistress Chen who was being polite and ignoring the conversation.
Dean said nothing else as he paced around. As far as he could tell, this was a bad idea. Well she did say I may not like it.
It was nearly an hour before Mistress Chen had the bag ready and Angela and Sam still had not shown up. Dean had not spoken to Akira the entire time. He still felt this was a bad idea. He hoped that Sam would get back soon so he could convince him to talk them out of it. Mistress Chen’s voice broke him out of his thoughts with, “All you need is one thing of her so the spirit can find her.”
“Anything like a hair?”
“Yes but preferably something stronger.”
Akira gave the old woman a warning look. Mistress Chen nodded, “Of course the hair should do just fine. Even a nail clipping.”
“You must say the words exactly right. You’re the scholar and you know about such things.”
Akira rolled her eyes slightly and nodded, “Of course.”
Nothing more was said for a boy around twelve came into the room and started babbling in Chinese. Akira strained to pick out what he was saying for the boy was frightened. Mistress Chen had no problem with it. She replied back in the same dialect and the boy answered her queries. She then said something to send the boy out on her way. Once the boy was gone she turned to them, “It appears that your friends got themselves in a bit of trouble and you might be in trouble soon. A pair of them are heading this way now.”
“A pair of what? What is going on? Where’s Sam?”
“Dean, calm down,” Akira said sharply as she cocked her ear to listen to the commotion that was starting outside. “They are trackers. Demons that specialize in tracking prey for whoever hires them. We’ve got to get to the car.”
“And how are we going to do that? We left it a few blocks away and I’m not going anywhere without Sam.”
Akira was getting annoyed but she had to keep her cool. She opened the door after tucking the bag into her jacket pocket. She peered around and without so much as a warning, she grabbed Dean by his coat collar and pulled him towards the back exit. However their progress was halted by a huge burly fellow who blocked their path. Akira took a slight step back but crouched in attack position. “You picked a dangerous time to come after us.”
“I didn’t track you. They did,” and their pursuer pointed behind them.
Akira looked behind and spotted the two demons. “Dammit. Should’ve known that there would be renegade Chasers.”
“What? What do we do?” Dean had his back towards Akira facing the two demons.
“Do what you do best. Remember?” Akira gave a slight elbow to Dean’s back to remind him of what he had hidden under his jacket.
Dean knew exactly what she meant and slowly reached behind him. It was not a good idea to go shooting demons in the middle of the day but then again there wasn’t that much of a choice. His fingers closed on the grip.
The demons eyed him with malicious grins. Then their eyes flickered to show the familiar black. It was quick as the demons moved forward. Dean managed to pull out the gun but didn’t get a shot off as he was grabbed and pushed towards the wall near the door.
Meanwhile Akira moved towards the pair as the Chaser in front of her moved and she grabbed one of the demons and flung it right at the Chaser where it crashed with a loud thud. Akira then grabbed the nearest thing to act as a weapon, which turned out to be one of those hooks to reach the high windows. She swung it at the pair and sent them careening over the counter where they landed with a large crash. Akira could hear the screams of customers and thought, Great. She turned to where Dean was wrestling with the other and grabbed the demon to fling him aside while at the same time grabbing Dean and yanking him out the door. “Come on. We have to get to the car. If Sam and Angela run into trouble, she would get them there. She put a repelling ward on the car.”
“She did what to my baby?” The outrage fueled Dean to catch up with Akira as they ran down the back alleyway.
Akira didn’t miss a beat. “You can’t see it but it’s there. Just like the house.”
She would have explained further but the crash of glass sounded above them and two more tracker demons jumped down from the buildings they had been in. They landed in front of the pair and started running towards them. Dean aimed and shot at one of them but it dodged. “Damn are these things turbo charged?”
Akira would have answered but a growl came softly behind her. She turned and saw it. It charged towards Dean. Acting fast, she shoved Dean out of the way and let the hell hound hit her square in the chest. Using her upper body strength, she grabbed the hell hound by the neck and jaws. It was snapping trying to take her head off but she fought back. There was no time to be squeamish. She fed her power through her blood and she felt it course through. She grabbed the head and with brute strength, she tore the bottom jaw off. The hell hound went limp and she threw it off towards the demon that had stayed back to watch.
Dean never saw the shove until he was on the ground. He saw Akira wrestle with something invisible and recognized it as a hell hound. He then saw Akira’s eyes turn into glowing orbs as she broke the jaw and threw the beast. In the meantime one of the demons had raced towards him and he pulled his gun and shot at it where it hit it in the arm. It pissed the thing off and it started forward again until it was pushed into the wall by a blur. It turned out to be Akira whose eyes were still glowing as she pressed harder and she started saying something in Latin.
Dean recognized the Latin as part of an exorcism . Akira moved fast to counter the demon’s resistance. She continued the rite and held fast as the demon writhed while it was being exorcised. Akira finished and the black smoke was expelled leaving a corpse. The other demon stood there looking at them and was grinning. Dean said, “What are you waiting for?”
His question was answered by a growl. Akira narrowed her eyes at the demon. She said, “You want to risk it?”
“Do you want to risk him?”
Akira kept her gaze on the hell hound. Humans couldn’t see them but Shadow Chasers and certain demons could. She watched it and saw that it had the killing lust in its eyes. “Dean… Run.”
Dean was reluctant but he started to run. Akira was ready for it. She grabbed a nearby pole and swung with all her might. She heard bone crunching as she swung a home run on the hell hound. As soon as she swung, she took off running after Dean. She heard the growl of the hound as it got back up and started chasing after them.
Dean turned several corners feeling like an idiot for running but if it was as bad as Akira made it out to be, then they had to get out. He ran into a busy street and started walking at a fast pace trying to blend in. He glanced around casually trying to see if there were any other demons out there. He caught sight of one coming out of an alleyway. Dean quickly ducked into a store and pretended to browse the shelves while trying to get to a side exit. He wasn’t that far from the Impala. If that Angela chick did what Akira said, then he had a chance. He padded his inside jacket pocket to make sure his gun was still there.
Suddenly he spotted the tracker coming into the store. Dean moved staying low putting as much distance as he could between him and the demon. Somehow he managed to get to the back door and get out. He walked through another store and backtracked to where he had parked the Impala. It looked relatively okay but there was no sign of Akira, Angela or Sam. Trying to look normal, he lounged near the trunk and looked around. Suddenly he was thrown back into the alley wall. He grunted and tried to move but he couldn’t. He felt himself slide upwards. Then the demon came into view. He was clapping his hands in a mocking gesture. “Nice work Winchester. Running was a sure fire way to get you caught.”
Dean grunted trying to move. “Bastards. Where’s Sam?”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” the demon replied. “Probably one of my brother trackers has him. It was pretty risky coming after you two during the day but considering the company you’re keeping now…”
The demon started pacing as if thinking. He looked at Dean, “Now I could use you to get the other or you could be exactly what the boss needs.”
The demon walked up towards Dean and gave him a punch to the face. It was hard enough to draw blood but not enough to cause any damage. “What a mouth you have. Maybe it would be better if you didn’t speak.”
Dean tried to say something only to find his throat constrict. He glared at the demon who was looking at him bemused. The demon said, “Keep it up and I’ll be forced to hand over a drooling idiot but you’ll still be alive.” The demon held out his hand.
Dean felt something constrict in his chest but he was powerless to make a sound. It was painful and he couldn’t move. Yet something was moving in his jacket pocket. The kachina managed to get out of the pocket and leapt at the demon with a war cry. If Dean had the voice, he would have laughed at the sight of the little kachina pissing off the demon.
It provided enough of a distraction though as the demon was send flying through the air and into the wall. Dean glanced over and saw Sam and Angela running through the alley. Looking the other way he saw Akira, her eyes glowing as she brought down her hand. She looked at Dean and suddenly he dropped to the ground.
The demon got up and looked at Akira, “That was a bad thing you did.”
“No,” Akira said, “This is a bad thing,” and she moved quickly and pinned it and said the exorcism rite.
Dean tried to speak and managed to get a raspy sound out. He looked to find Angela taking on two more demons trying to put herself between them and Sam. They were still too far down the way for him to make a difference. A peep distracted him and he saw the kachina in front of his face. It reached over and said something. He then felt the raspiness recede and said, “Thanks.” He got up to help only to be grabbed by on his coat by Akira and dragged towards the car. He took a look and managed to see more heading towards them.
“Sam. Run! Don’t look back!”
Dean turned to see Sam starting to back into a run leaving Angela to take on the oncoming horde. He watched as she threw something and started running. There was a flash of blinding light forcing Dean to close his eyes. When he opened them he found himself held against the car trying to open the driver’s door. He looked for Sam and saw him fighting with the demons and Angela lying on the ground writhing in pain. More were heading towards them.
“Dean! Get in the car now!”
Dean looked back. “Sam!”
“Dean!” Akira was shouting at him.
Dean looked again and they were gone. He got into the car and started driving. He glared at Akira, “I hope you’re happy.”