Angela had been to Chicago’s China Town multiple times throughout the years. Not much had changed. She recognized the various smells of spices and herbs as well as the food and other things that were associated with the people who taught her the secrets of their land. She gave a slight smile at the memories as she walked down the street and it actually made wearing a dress less bearable.
“So where are we going?”
Angela was taken aback before she looked at her companion. She replied, “I know someone who specializes in certain kinds of weaponry and the makings for specialty items.” She looked across the street before crossing, tugging on Sam’s jacket.
“So what kind of specialty items?”
“Of the explosive variety.”
“The kind to kill vampires I take it.”
“Not really but enough to provide a really bad sun burn.”
“Oh.” Sam was quiet after that, letting Angela take the lead since she knew where they were going.
It had been Sam’s decision to accompany Angela though it was pretty evident to everyone that if she had been stuck with Dean, they would have been fighting and attract attention. Originally it would have been the two brothers and the two girls but Akira pointed out that if there were trackers, she and Angela would be able to sense them quicker so it was one Chaser with one brother. The other reason was that Sam wanted to try and break that reserve Angela had. Something about her made the idea appealing.
There had been little luck in the car even though Angela had been sitting next to him the whole time in the backseat though she did manage to make some sort of comment about Sasquatch in a toy car. That had Dean chuckling and Sam throwing a piece of wadded up paper that he found at his brother. When he looked back at Angela she looked as if she were trying to make herself as small as possible and to keep eyes from looking at her. He said, “It’s not that bad.”
“Speak for yourself, Sasquatch,” came the reply as she twisted to look out the window.
Sam would have retorted with a name but he didn’t. It seemed that his efforts to get her to relax were only making her more tense. He glanced towards the front to see Akira looking at him. She mouthed for him to keep trying and then turned around and began reading something she had tucked in her bag. Sam narrowed his eyes in suspicion at the suggestion Akira made but decided to try again. He said, “There was one fake ID that I hated using but Dean made me use it anyway. We were supposed to be with the CDC but the ID said bikini inspector on it.”
“Your finest moment Sammy.”
Angela had been watching the exchange. The idea of Sam having a bikini inspector ID was rather funny. Suddenly wearing a dress wasn’t too bad and she knew that Sam had been telling the truth. She then said, “I guess me wearing a dress pales in comparison.”
It allowed for the rest of the trip to be smooth sailing though Sam thought he was in hell when Dean cranked up the stereo for Metallica and Angela started belting out lyrics with him. What made it bearable was that Angela could actually carry a tune whereas Dean was as tone deaf as tree trunk. Akira just seemed to humor them both and continued to read. When the song was finished Dean said, “It’s nice to find a chick that knows a good classic right Angie?”
“Don’t call me that. It’s Angela.”
“Jerk,” Angela muttered. “Pull over here in the car park.”
“Fine… bitch,” Dean replied, which sent Sam trying hard not to laugh. Dean saw the look and he said, “Shut up Sam.”
Looking at her now just standing there, Sam had a pretty good idea why she hated wearing dresses. She didn’t want to appear weak and disliked using it as a means to draw an enemy close. He watched as she turned towards a sound and a little boy running towards her.
Angela hadn’t expected to see Shang again after she exorcised the demon that had taken residence nearly six months ago. She was passing through China Town and had stopped at his parent’s restaurant and things came to a head when she spotted the boy. His parents thanked her and offered her a place to stay. She didn’t accept but told them that she would keep it in mind. She never accepted things like that. Seeing the boy running at her was a bit of a surprise but her arms automatically opened to embrace the boy and to steady herself. She said, “Shang this was a surprise.”
Sam watched as the boy ran straight into Angela’s arms. Her face was more shocked but she recovered as she talked to the boy who was gibbering away in his native dialect. Angela listened and gave a slight smile and a nod. She stood up straight and said, “Seems like I’m to go pay a visit.” She smiled apologetically and was being tugged down the street by the boy with Sam being tugged by her as she tried to slow down the boy.
They arrived at a restaurant and Angela paused a moment before the boy’s pleading tones begged her to come in. She entered with Sam and stood in the foyer looking around remembering the last time she was there. Sam noticed the expression and asked, “Did a job here once?”
“The boy was possessed when I literally walked in the door for no reason. I was heading to another job,” Angela replied with a slight shrug of her shoulder. “Parents were scared stiff even though they were stoic. I saw through it though.”
“You exorcised it.”
“Yes. It was a hard one. I didn’t want to hurt the boy.”
“He looks fine now,” Sam replied, “That’s a good thing. It’s not about the hunt. It’s about saving people.”
“Maybe.” Angela looked thoughtful at the idea. For many years she had lived the job and had detached herself from the people she saved. She just did the job and moved on to the next one. She had never thought about it before and no one in the order certainly suggested it to her. The order was polite but never friendly so it never mattered. Now, that could change.
Sam would have said more but the proprietors had come up and were greeting Angela with a mixture of bows and welcomes. With slight tugs she was ushered forward towards one of the more private dining rooms. Sam stood back before the woman, presumably the boy’s mother, took his arm and pulled him along into the room. He found the table set and was pushed into a seat next to Angela who was looking like she wanted to bolt.
Finally the one who was the boy’s father said, “When Shang saw you, we had to repay you. We also have something for you. Chou said you would need it.” He took a silk bag from his wife and held it out to Angela who took it with the utmost care.
Angela didn’t have to ask how Old Chou knew she was coming. She had long ago given up ever finding out how the psychics knew about her comings and goings. When she first met Chou, she didn’t have to say anything. He just gave her what she needed and said to watch out for wendigos in the future. She of course listened and filed it away and it came back and near literally bit her in the rear. Since then she listened to Old Chou even when out of the blue he called her. She cradled the silk bag knowing that Chou had given her several UV bombs that she taught his son to make when she met him on a vampire hunt long ago. You old fox you remembered. She slipped them gently into her bag. Looking up she met Sam’s questioning look, “Old Chou was who we were going to see. The old man knows a thing or two about surprises for any kind of thing you hunt.”
“Then why the meal? I feel like this is the last meal before the sacrifice,” Sam muttered while the boy sat across from them and his siblings joined the table along with an old woman.
“Old Chou said you would be coming. Mama and Baba decided to invite you. They wanted to thank you properly for helping me,” Shang said.
Sam glanced at the boy and back at Angela who was looking rather uncomfortable. He was puzzled since she didn’t have that look when he tried to thank her for the rescue. His thoughts were distracted when a bowl was held out to him filled with… something. He took it and not sure what to do since he didn’t see a spoon or anything he whispered, “What do I do?”
“You like tofu?”
Sam gave a slight nod and with a smooth movement, Angela took the serving chopsticks and put a couple of pieces on his plate and put the same on hers. She replaced the chopsticks and took the bowl and passed it down to the child next to her. She heard the children giggling and whispering. It became more evident when Sam attempted to use the set he had been given to eat. He was following Angela’s lead since it seemed like the polite thing to do. He managed a bite while Angela took a bite and was toying with the rest. It was unusual for her since she could eat and needed to eat. She then said, “Thank you for having us.”
“No problem. You saved our son. Now we know how to help others,” the father said.
“You help other hunters?” Sam asked the question, grateful that it took away from his rather clumsy attempts with chopsticks.
“Yes. Many pass through here. Always demons. They come and go.”
“It is easy to hide in a place where few dare to look,” Angela explained quietly.
“But it is not bad. Old Chou said that a Champion will stop the murders. We just have to give help.”
Sam thought for a moment. It wasn’t that strange to have people who knew about the supernatural and try to help those that hunt them. Heck he and Dean had appealed to them on more than one occasion. From what this guy was saying, the old man named Chou was much like that psychic Missouri that they had met when they went back to Lawrence. That could be a good thing. “What is this Champion that Mr. Chou mentioned?”
“The Champion is important and will eventually be one of the remaining forces to stand against evil,” an old raspy voice came from the door.
As it turned out, it was Old Chou who walked through the door. The father of the boy came to the old man and welcomed him in. The old man said, “Don’t fuss. Just bring this old man some tea.” He then hobbled until he was close to the table. He then asked, “Do you mind if we are alone?”
The proprietors said nothing and with a quick order, the children disappeared leaving the elderly grandmother. The proprietors left as well, leaving the remnants of the meal on the table to be cleared away later. Old Chou sat down next to the elderly grandmother and with a flick of his cane the table slid to the side.
Sam was ready to jump up but Angela grabbed his forearm and shook her head slightly. Sam eased back into his chair but he was already tense. Old Chou was looking at him with an amused expression as he lit his pipe. He then said, “Don’t be afraid, boy. There are things much scarier than I that you should be afraid of.”
Angela was doing her best not to do anything. Even though she was used to Old Chou’s ways, she was not always comfortable in front of him. Focusing on her breathing, she hardened her glance and looked at Old Chou. She said, “Is this necessary old man? We came for some specialty items, not to be subjected to your whims.”
Old Chou chuckled as well as the elderly grandmother. He replied, “Old Chou knows you would rather not be here yet here you are.”
Angela forced a grin. She wanted to be gone now and she got the distinct feeling that something was not right. She glanced around before reverting her gaze back to the old man. She asked, “What are you up to old man?”
By this time, the elderly grandmother managed to stand up and had walked over to where Sam was. She began poking and prodding over him while muttering. She gave a smack to his hand when he tried to put a stop to it. “Hey!” Sam tried to hold his temper. This was as bad as being in a hospital.
“Tall and strong. Has visions. Bad memories.”
“What?” Sam was feeling anxious. Did they know something about him?
Old Chou was observing Sam as well and said, “Has a brother. The bond runs deep underneath all.”
“How do you know about Dean?”
Angela saw the panic and tried to calm Sam down, “Old Chou reads auras and when you are in front of him, he can see into your soul.”
“Yes,” Old Chou replied, “And many things you know as well. Time will allow all things to be revealed. Right now the main concern is stopping this ritual. You have a good start but this can only end with his death.”
Angela gave a slight eye roll at the obvious, “Yes I know. I failed the last two times so bite me.”
Old Chou laughed at her. When she first came into his store, he could sense the pain and anguish that she kept buried. There was also guilt and a desire to seek forgiveness. From whom, the old man was never sure and he suspected that she hardly knew herself. “A formidable enemy he is but you must understand, a Champion cannot rise if one already exists.”
“I know because the energies could actually cause destruction or something like that,” Angela replied.
Old Chou gave a tolerant smile and then spoke in Chinese, “Why summon a Champion when you already have one?”
Angela scowled slightly and replied in the same dialect, “Don’t you dare. There is always someone better.”
Old Chou chuckled while Sam wondered what they were talking about. Suddenly his head started to pound from the smell of the pipe smoke. He realized that the old man was smoking some type of herb but for what he didn’t know. He glanced at Angela who was looking rather disturbed by something. She was eyeing the old man who was looking at her. She then asked, “Why?”
“The past must meet the present and future.”
Sam had no clue what was meant by that but glancing at Angela, he could see that the answer bothered her quite a bit. Before he could ask what was wrong, the boy from earlier came running in and whispered something to the old man. Sam looked up and thought he saw someone come through the front door. He stood up to get a better look when the person spotted him. Sam recognized the familiar black eyes of a demon. “Angela. I think we have company.”
Angela stood up and looked and saw the demon heading towards them. “Trackers.”
Old Chou and the old woman stood up to leave taking the boy with them. Old Chou paused by them and said, “You already have what you need. Dig deep.” It was said more to Angela and she nodded that she acknowledged the hint. She reached into her bag and pulled out a gun and tossed it to Sam. It left her with no weapon but she could take hits better than a normal human.
The demons came in and started towards the pair. One of them actually laughed when they saw Angela. She gave a slight movement with her head to indicate her annoyance while Sam pointed the gun at them. The leader said, “Why fight? It was only a matter of time before we found you. The others already found your friends.”
Angela narrowed her eyes but it was Sam who spoke, “What did you do with Dean?”
“Nothing that I’m going to do to you.”
Suddenly one of the demons launched at Angela and she promptly caught the thing. Using the momentum, she was able to fling it to the side and into the wall. She was ready when it pulled a knife and started swinging at her. She jumped and avoided it as best as she could. She leapt onto a side table to avoid a swipe to her torso and gave a kick with her foot.
Sam fired the gun and it had little effect except to make the demon pissed. It knocked his hand away and grabbing his jacket to fling him aside. Sam was up quick and managed to deflect a few punches but got a hard one across the jaw. He was on the ground and felt a hard kick to his chest as he tried to scramble to his feet. He flopped to the ground from the pain and tried again while reaching blindly for something as a weapon. He felt his fingers close around a familiar object and gripped it hard. When he was grabbed from behind and flipped over, he whipped the object up and watched as the salt sprayed onto the face of the demon.
The demon let go screaming in pain from the salt. Sam could see smoke rising from where the salt hit as he got to his feet. He found Angela’s bag and checked to see if she put anything else besides a gun in there. He found a vial of what looked like holy water and pulled it out. He held it ready to spray the demon with it if it came closer. It did and he flung it at the demon. The screams were more agonizing than anything as it backed away. It tried to launch itself at Sam again but it couldn’t move. Puzzled, Sam looked around until his gaze went up to the ceiling. There on the ceiling in bold black lines was a devil’s trap.
At that moment the second demon went flying across the room where it landed within the confines of another devil’s trap. It was followed by Angela walking towards it holding one of her shoes and looking like she had just been winded. More of her locks had fallen loose and it was somewhat of a miracle that her dress hadn’t been torn. She indicated with shoe, “That’s right… bitch.”
Sam couldn’t help but laugh. He wasn’t even put off when she gave a mock glare and told him to shut up. He said, “See, wearing a dress worked out.”
“Then you wear one the next time,” Angela retorted as she reached down and with perfect balance removed the other shoe from her foot. She looked at both shoes aware that she was going to have to pay back Marisol for ruining them and that would cost a pretty penny. She looked at the two demons in the devil’s traps and then at the proprietors poking out of the kitchen where they hid ready with weapons. She said, “Nice move with the traps.”
“After you showed us the first time, we placed them everywhere.”
Sam bent over to retrieve the gun he lost and put it in the inner pocket of his jacket. He held fast to the holy water just in case the demons tried something. Looking at the door, he noticed more coming in. He said, “Angela, I think we better go.”
The father of the boy looked and said, “Hurry. Go through kitchen. We’ll take care of them.”
Angela looked at the man with a worried expression. She said, “They could…”
“We have traps everywhere. Now go.” He walked up to greet the demons that just entered, asking if they wanted a booth or a table.
Angela watched and took a couple of backwards steps before she felt a hand grab her upper arm. She nearly jumped but realized that it was Sam. He was tugging her towards the kitchen while trying to hand her the shoulder bag. She took it without another word and slung it over her shoulder and followed him barefoot while holding the shoes.
They found themselves in the service alley and looking down the way. Sam looked up and down, “Should we try to find Dean and your friend?”
Angela looked around while trying to place a call. She kept an eye out as well as listened for any signs of trouble. She didn’t get an answer so she said, “No. They’ll be heading to the car. We should go.” When Sam started heading towards the street they had entered the restaurant, Angela grabbed his arm and shook her head and led him in the opposite direction. “Let’s lead them on and back track.”
Sam followed her amazed that she could stand walking in bare feet in the dirty street. He figured that it must be one of those Shadow Chaser abilities. He tried to take note of the turns they took through the streets. They were heading down one alley when a demon jumped in front of them. Two more were coming up from behind. Sam immediately pulled out the bottle of holy water that he had pocketed. There wasn’t a whole lot but probably enough to get through the demon in front of them. He felt Angela’s back brush against his in a back to back defensive posture. “You have something in mind?”
Angela gave a slight roll of her eyes as her back brushed against Sam’s. It was an instinctual thing but for some reason it felt uncomfortable. She was already tense by having to be in the same vicinity and working with the Winchester brothers. Now in a fight and actually touching… it was a trip further down the road she didn’t want to take. Why do I bother? Because he trusted you like Mary did. Out loud, she said, “Do what you do best. Fight. And then…”
The response was never finished for the demons moved in for the kill. Sam flung the holy water at the demon in front of him burning it. He followed through with a few punches that knocked the demon aside a bit before it countered with a punch to his face. These guys are tough. The demon came towards him only to be flung away. Sam turned to see Angela running towards him and her eyes were glowing. She grabbed Sam by the wrist and yanked him to his feet with surprising force. “Run,” she said.
Sam didn’t say anything but he heard the barking of a hell hound. He started to run and was pushed by Angela towards the street. He spared a look and saw her with the gun that had been in his pocket. She fired three shots and there was a whimper and the hell hound was dead. The two demons she had taken on had the heels of her shoes stuck in them. She ran towards him urging him to run. The whole thing made Sam wonder if the demons after Dean were using extreme measures like hell hounds. It was hard to think with Angela giving a push every now and then. It was as if she was trying to get him to leave her behind.
They managed to make it near where the Impala was and looked as if they were free and in the clear. Suddenly they were ambushed by more demons. Angela shouted at Sam, “Sam. Run! Don’t look back!” She then pulled one of her little bombs out of the bag.
Sam looked as she pulled it out and then started running towards the Impala. He spotted Dean and Akira and ran faster. He then saw the shadow of the light from her little explosion. Then he was on his back from a clothesline by another demon who was badly burned. Several others grabbed him and he struggled. He called for Dean but was given a hard punch to the gut. Grunting he saw Angela running towards him only to get a hit to the face by a pipe. She flipped over and landed on her back and was immediately grabbed. The last thing he saw was a fist coming at his face and he heard Dean call his name.