Dean glared at his baby brother; all six-feet-four inches of him tensed for a fight. Crap, what do I think I'm gonna to do? Sam was too big to lock in a closet and would probably kick his butt if he tried it. Dean dropped his chin to his chest and took a step back.
"Yeah, okay. I get it,” he said. “Sit down, Sam." They locked eyes again; defiance still burning in Sam's. "Come on, man," Dean said gently. "We're not finished yet." He watched Sam's muscles uncoil; saw him exhale the breath he'd been holding as he dropped his gaze.
Sheesh, Abby thought. I'm not used to having this much testosterone floating around in my house. It'll probably max out the wards so that the next slightly grumpy person who steps into my yard gets zapped. So, you're both ready to get back to work?" She got a sheepish nod from Sam and a duh-look from Dean as if nothing had happened.
"Okay. It'd really help if we knew the demon's name. I haven’t been able to nail it down.”
"Wait a second," Sam said. "Dad's journal's with my stuff. There were three names in it. I'll be right back." Sam left the chair he'd just sat down in and headed up the stairs at a trot.
"Damn," Dean hissed under his breath when Sam was out of ear shot. "I'd like to tie him to a chair, or knock him out, or tie him to a chair and knock him out."
"I know how you feel. But he's right. After everything he’s been through, he’s got to be in on this. We're just going to have to watch his back."
"We? Abby, Sam's my brother. I've been watching out for him since I was four. You've just met him; both of us. How could you possibly…how can I trust that you'd…"
"That I'd die for him like you would?"
His eyes were hard on hers; his mouth set in a grim line.
"You and Sam have been part of my life since I was little, whether you knew it or not" One side of her mouth quirked up. "Granted, neither of you is exactly what I'd pictured. But, finally having you here feels right, like it should have happened a long time ago."
Abby itched to wipe that cynical look off Dean's face. "Know this, and trust it, whether you two were here or not, I would give my life to stop this coven and this demon from making anybody a victim again."
He looked at her levelly for several heartbeats then let out a slow breath. "Nobody's going to give their life. But, we will stop this damned thing."
Sam came back in leafing through the journal. He laid it open on the coffee table. Abby and Dean joined him on the couch. "Here are the names; Nysrogh, Vetis, Ornias. Any of them on your short list?"
Abby tapped the page with a finger. "I know this one, Vetis. Your dad and I were on the same track there. That's a start. Most demons have more than one name. I've got a shield spell I've been working on. Even plugging just one name into the spell might give it an extra edge."
She looked up at them. "That friend I mentioned we’ll go see tomorrow runs the university library. She'll know where to look for his other names."
Sam and Dean looked at each other then back at Abby. Dean's eyes were wide. "This friend knows you’re a hunter?"
"Sure, you don't think I could do this alone do you?" Abby asked.
"Well, yeah." Sam said. "Dad's cardinal rule is tell no one what we do, ever." Sam had lied to Jessica for a year and half about his family's obsession. It had been one of the hardest things he'd ever had to do.
"Yes, I know about John’s rule," Abby said. "But Grams and Poppa worked differently."
"What, it's just that simple?” Dean asked. “It's a choice you make?"
"Basically."Abby frowned at the decidedly hostile tone in Dean's voice and struggled not to get defensive. "You stay in one place long enough and you learn who you can trust. You build relationships; become part of a community. You guys are always on the road; you have to be a lot more cautious. It's different."
The Winchesters still looked skeptical. "Look, I'm not listed in the phone book or anything,” Abby said. “Although, I have a wizard friend in Chicago who is, so that's a perfectly legitimate choice too." They looked at her like she was insane. "Ugh! Only three people in Colorado Springs know what I do. No, its four people…well five actually, only five!"
"Five, civilians?" Dean still couldn't get his brain around it.
"Civilians?” Abby stood and started flicking lamps on around the room. “You make it sound like we're some Special Forces unit or something.”
One more thing to take on faith, Dean thought, blinking a little as his eyes adjusted to the lamp light. But the bottom line was this wasn't their turf. Abby ran things the way she saw fit. "Now all we have to do is figure out where the coven is holed up."
Sam had laid his drawing face down on the coffee table when he'd finished it that afternoon, not wanting to have his nightmare starring up at him every time he passed through the room. He reached it and turned it over. "Here's the building from my dream."
Abby took it from him and moved a tall, old fashioned floor lamp with a fringed shade closer to the table.
"It looks like the ruin up near Seven Lakes Reservoir. I've heard it was the monastery of some obscure order of monks. Could be the perfect coven den. It's pretty inaccessible this time of year. We'll find out more about it at the library too."
Dean nodded, stifling a yawn. "Tomorrow's Halloween, we'll have till dark to consult your experts." And not let Sam out of our sight. "Do you put on your ranger hat tomorrow, Abby?"
"No, I always take Halloween off. Always have a lot to do one way or another."
"Good." He looked at Sam speculatively. "Do you think we need to do the whole circle conjuring thing again tonight before we tuck Sammy in?" He smirked at his brother’s scowl. “I mean, the circles were beautiful and all, but yesterday you said you thought the house would be enough."
"Wait a minute." Sam's eyebrows shot up. "You saw the circles? The magic circles?"
"Don't get excited. I probably just hallucinated them."
"I don't think so," Abby corrected him with a grin. "You got all the elemental colors right. Did you See Sam's aura too?"
Dean glanced self-consciously over at Sam. "I guess I might have noticed it," he mumbled.
"Wow, Dean, that's amazing!" Sam laughed.
"Oh come on."
"You come on, Dean. You've got abilities.”
"It was just a fluke," Dean said through clenched teeth.
Abby doubted that was true. Once you consciously found an ability, your subconscious started using it on its own. Dean couldn't keep his eyes closed forever.
"Can we all just get some sleep?" Dean said standing abruptly.
"Okay, fine." Sam stood too and looked at his brother still a bit amazed, but smart enough to know the subject was closed for tonight. "And I say no circle. Let's let the house do its thing. I'm willing to take the chance."
Abby smiled, letting the certainty in her eyes lend weight to the words. "I know you'll be safe, Sam."
Pain flowed through his veins like molten lead! The one beside him collapsed retching.
The master raged!
The lure was lost, hidden from the master's sight and there was little time left.
He went rigid again with another lash of his master's anger. Every inch of his body trembled; rivulets of sweat ran between muscles bulging with the urgent need to run or fight, but frozen in place by his master's will.
They'd chanted, searching for hours, days? They poured their souls into the chant. But they hadn't reached the lure. It disappeared, escaped. Without the lure, the master's vessel would be lost. That possibility was beyond imagining.
As suddenly as the burst of rage had begun, it ended. He dropped gasping to the stone. Drained nearly to lifelessness, his body curled into a ball. Spasms racked limbs. The automatic drag and release of the diaphragm was his only movement. Time hung suspended in the frigid, inky blackness.
Then slowly his lips formed words; small twitches barely shaping the air that left his lungs. The chant. Rough hands dragged his face around, pressed a cup to his lips spilling cold, stale water down his throat. He choked and sputtered, but found voice.
The master was merciful; he must not fail.
Fingers scrabbled for purchase; knees drew in. He heaved his torso up to kneeling and pressed his forehead into the rough stone. The chant grew stronger. The one next to him joined; he felt the power hum through his body again.
They would not fail; they would find the lure again and bring it to heel.