DISCLAIMER: This is a non-profit work of fanfiction and is in no way a challenge to any existing copyrights.
SETTING: My Lock AU, starting with "Life on the Farm". While it started more traditional fan fic, this is the eighth in the series and most wonderfully has developed into it's own world, that just happens to be populated by characters from other series.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I tried not to write this fic. Literally, I thought having three cannons in the same universe was pushing it (I count Buffy and Angel as one for obvious reasons), but when I tried to NOT write this my muse overruled me, and since people have been finding the other things she's encouraged me to write worth their time I figured I would share this as well.
SPOILERS: While this IS it's own universe now I will freely draw upon Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, NCIS, the Executioner/Stonyman Farm and now Supernatural.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To Wyldchilde37[at]yahoo.com

Running With the Devil
By Dark Wyldchilde


Chapter 1.

Faith was tired. Not that you could tell it from looking at her. Her eyes were clear, her back was straight, even her cheeks had a normal, healthy color to them.

If it wasn't for the fact that the olive drab BDUs she was wearing were devoid of rank insignia, or even a name anyone on the military base who's hangar they had requisitioned would have thought her a picture perfect recruit.

Of course with the clearances they had, Tara and her could have been wearing fetish wear and still received full cooperation when they took over the hangar.

No, her fatigue wasn't the physical kind. Honestly, she didn't get physically fatigued anymore. Ever since they awakened the slayer line Faith had never been TRULY tired.

Sure she would have points where she knew she should rest, but with a simple exertion of will that fatigue could be pushed aside and Faith could function normally until she CHOSE to rest.

She never truly grew tired, she never got sick, her flesh would heal with only the most vicious of wounds leaving the slightest of scars, and her bones would knit in days rather then weeks.

So no, her fatigue wasn't physical, it was the soul deep weight of being "Slayer".

It wasn't the killing, not anymore. "Slayer" wasn't just her code name, it was her destiny, and between that and her first positive male role model being a man who had earned the title "The Executioner" a thousand times over had taught Faith how to handle her violent path.

It was the other side of that bloodied coin.

When it was her who was hurt she would clean and bind her wounds, let that phenomenal healing rate do it's job, and plan her next mission, but those around her didn't have that luxury.

Eleven dead, eleven funerals, eleven families who couldn't even be told what their loved ones had lost their lives standing against.

It wasn't that she hadn't lost people in the past, but one here, two there, their gear, their training, and their teamwork bringing them through battle after battle.

Even then she always sought to honor them one last time. At the funeral if possible, but in the funeral was preferable, but even on those occasions where some threat or another arose with no respect to the internment of the honored dead Faith still made sure to visit the grave site and thank them one last time for their sacrifice.

That was why she was here now, to honor one who's sacrifice kept Faith from knowing that pain the man's own family was now facing.

Galen Logan's coffin was waiting in the center of the room for the last leg of it's journey home to England.

While Faith, and Tara were the ones to accompany it on it's journey here it would be Galen's father who would have the sad duty of escorting his son home.

They would have completed the task entirely themselves, but between Galen's own SAS father, and the Lock's own connections Galen would be buried with full honors, and the two women couldn't afford to be seen, let alone likely recorded.

Though they both planned to visit his grave as soon as their current impending disaster allowed they were both happy to know Galen would receive the honors he deserved, even if the exact details would be listed classified.

The rest of the Lock had said their goodbyes as Galen was being prepared for transport.

When Witch Woman and Slayer had arrived at the medical bay they saw Galen already in his coffin, in SAS dress uniform as Nurse Cameron Baum checked the buttons one last time Ducky was pouring four drinks, one for himself and three for Jimmy, Samantha and Cameron.

Upon seeing them Ducky poured another two drinks and the six drank in memory of their fallen, Galen, and the others.

Faith had seen Tara's eyes notice something, and when she looked at the same spot she saw a book tucked inside Galen's uniform jacket.

Later Tara would explain that she knew the book was Willow's, and that made sense. The two had bonded early over their respective feelings for Tara. Though Faith knew at a earlier, darker point in her life she may have had problems with that, now she truly couldn't blame them.

That the pair had actually became friends was just one of those strange twists of fate.

The two women had been ready to push the wheeled cart out to the truck they would drive to the airstrip, but they had been greeted at the door by Scooby Squad.

The four members of the action team quickly fell in around Galen's coffin and formed an honor guard that wheeled it to the garage and loaded it into the truck, before falling back and giving a salute.

It was jarring for Faith to see the group she had once derisively called the "Super Friends", but it was a tribute to the Lock, all it had accomplished, and the family that had built up inside it's walls.

As that was happening Ducky emerged with Jimmy, and with all of Gibbs team with him. She knew they were headed to Wyoming to investigate the Devil's Gate that Lex had seen from the opposite side, but they had obviously delayed their departure slightly to honor one of their own one last time.

Gibbs and company fell in behind, their pair of black SUV's being an honor guard with Gibbs, DiNozzo, McGee and Lex in the lead car while Ziva, Abby, Ducky and Jimmy followed behind.

They had seamlessly fell into a procession that made their way to the Lock's private airstrip where Apollo was there with the cargo plane that would carry Galen on the next leg of his journey. With him was the reserve pilot who would take Gibbs people in the private jet, but also with them was Riley Finn, who wanted to be there to honor Galen as they had the rest of their fallen.

Looking from the coffin her eyes fell on Tara... Tara, her girl was mobile now. While she was out of the wheelchair she still was using a cane as to not over to do it, and was actually sitting in a rolling office chair for much the same reason while they waited.

If it hadn't been for Galen... Faith shook her head, even as she knew it was useless. A changing part of her reality was coming to accept that she couldn't lock Tara up behind thick walls with armed guards to protect her from all the horrors Faith would otherwise leap into battle against, Tara was simply too good.

Faith couldn't, and wouldn't stifle her just to keep her safe, because she had watched Tara grow. After seeing her a little bit when she was in Buffy's body to when she first approached her on the return to Sunnydale, to now...Tara was more alive then she had ever been, and while Faith would worry about her girl constantly she wouldn't take that away.

Namely because even beyond her own feelings over the blond's growth as a person she had truly grown into her role as "Witch Woman". Tara Maclay was now a woman, a warrior, a leader, and NOT utilizing that potential offended Faith strategically.

"Her" destiny wasn't just "her" destiny, it was "their" destiny. Something Haswari had seemed to be hinting at in his talks with Tara, and a concept they were now exploring. While they knew what the awakening of the slayer line had meant for Faith they were now taking a closer look at what it meant for Tara.

While physiologically Tara seemed no different she had first been called "Witch Woman" by the First Slayer in the dream where the mantle was passed to Faith.

So they were trying to measure Witch Woman's potential. "Trying" because once Tara was called on to truly push her abilities in a matter that wasn't life or death like in the Witches Powder drug house she was blowing all known scales out of the water.

Slayer had always known they were equals, but the concept was starting to take on a more literal notion.

Her pondering was cut short as her slayer hearing picked up the sounds of a plane coming in for a landing.

First Faith walked over and kissed the top of Tara's head, which was signal enough for Tara as the woman stood and slid the office chair out of the way.

Then walking over she hit the button to make the hangar door rise so the two of them could watch the British cargo plane come in out of the overcast sky for a landing. To their surprise however they also watched all staff on the airfield fall into lines on each side.

Sure, they didn't know the details, but they saw a coffin being brought in to a military air field. They were soldiers of a nation at war, and they didn't need to know the details to know that it was time to honor one of the fallen.

It was a concept that transcended counties, and even sides, with those worth of the title solider knowing to honor the sacrifice that they too may soon be called upon to make.

So all on the ground stood silently as the plane landed, and then taxied round to make it's cargo doors accessible.

As the doors were opened an older man climbed out, and while he was in a simple white sweater, blue jeans and brown boots the man's strong features made his identity utterly clear.

He returned the salute Faith and Tara gave him, and then looked to the coffin.

He then looked back to the women, and his gaze focused on Tara. When he finally spoke his voice was kind. "You're Miss Tara aren't you?"

Realizing Galen must have described her quite well to his father left Tara too emotional to speak so she simply nodded.

The sad, but kind smile then turned to Faith. "And you must be Faith."

To that she nodded, her eyebrow arched guessing he probably also knew a fact about them that shouldn't be spoken aloud on a US military base, not until DADT was struck down.

The knowing nod the older man gave confirmed his knowledge, as well as his understanding the need for discretion. Instead he posed another question.

"Were either of you with him when it happened?"

With that Tara started crying, and his response was to step closer. It was obvious he was about to ask why she was crying, but Tara spoke first.

"I... I w-was."

Faith could feel her lovers grief as if it was her own as Tara continued.

"T-the bullet..." Tara voice dropped to a whisper. "Was meant for me."

Galen's father stepped forward and put a tender hand on Tara's cheek, lifting her face to meet his eyes. "My son was very fond of you Miss, and knowing he laid down his life for yours makes your life more valuable, not less. As for the rest, I served my country and my son grew up seeing that, knowing what it meant to be a soldier, knowing what it could entail."

He stepped away. Giving a last salute to his son's comrades. "My son was never able to tell me what he had done with you, but he had told me that he was proud of the work he did and the lives he saved doing so."

In so many ways that said it all, and he turned and re-boarded the plane as his son's coffin was loaded in behind him.

Chapter 2.

While Gibbs and his team had significant lead time they also had eight people and a full selection of forensic gear to transport.

Faith and Tara had Faith and Tara to transport, and Apollo was able to be touching down the rented chopper as their people were unloading their gear at the cowboy graveyard where the Devil's Gate was located on this side of reality.

It was an imposing metal structure in the midst of the lonely old tombstones. Mausoleum-like really, with double doors that had a seal made up of a strangely scrambled pentacle with the star and circle present, not inverted as a sign of darkness, but more scrambled like a lock. The small circular opening presumably where a key might fit.

Gibbs nodded to Faith, Tara and Apollo as they disembarked the chopper. He wasn't surprised to see them, while he knew they trusted him and his people to do the same through job they always did the whole purpose of the Lock was to keep the Mouth of Hell closed. So when a gate to Hell opened it didn't surprise him to see the Lock's leading ladies putting in an appearance.

"Detton! Give me the lore."

"Right Boss! Five frontier Churches, all built by Samuel Colt, arranged to make a star, all linked with iron rails to form the biggest seal I've ever heard of, and conceivably doing a bang up job keeping the baddies out until they convinced this character to come in and open it for them."

Lex continued her narrative by walking up to the body decomposing in the tall grasses next to the Devil's Gate. An African-American male his body was riddled with numerous bullet holes. The fact that he had been left to rot making it fairly apparent he hadn't been with those who finally managed to close the gateway.

"Once inside the seal they were able to rip it apart. As evidenced by the torn train tracks we saw on our way in."

Gibbs interrupted. "McGee! The torn ends looked charred, be sure to get samples for Abby."

Abby then interrupted Gibbs, already standing under her black lace parasol in the bright Wyoming day. "And me Gibbs?"

"I want you on the Gate Abby. Everything here is literally all about that."

With the Goth's nod to Gibbs Lex continued. "That's about all we know Boss. The rest of it is why were are here."

The older man shook his head. "Did Colt make the Gate? Or at least seal it?" Since it was obvious the man wouldn't have built the anti-demon barrier if he had WANTED the gate to be used.

DiNozzo was the first to volunteer an answer. "Unlikely. I mean if he built the seal then wouldn't he have just sealed the gate?"

Tara finally spoke up. "It doesn't work that way. The worlds push on each other and seals are eroded by that pressure, gates can allow the pressure to equalize without weakening..." Tara frowned, and then nodded to herself. "It's like the difference between closing a window and trying to make your house airtight. Pressure get's too out of whack and you get the mystic equivalent of explosive decompression."

Gibbs scowled. "So you can either have it blow open naturally, or one that people can work at opening?"

His niece nodded reluctantly, none of them mentioning the much bigger lock they knew was actively being picked in the pit on Lucifer's cell door.

At this point they knew that there had originally been six hundred and sixty six locks, it had actually been the origin of the numbers sinister status, but the Betrayer Lock that had been inadvertently opened by Haswari was number seventy eight, so they knew that they were facing an impending disaster that would make all their previous "apocalypses" look like warm ups.

While the first five hundred and eighty eight had taken from Lucifer's imprisonment until now, they were dealing with immortal creatures who had been working that long, and weren't about to stop now that they were in the home stretch unless someone stopped them.

Even if the "how" of stopping them was beyond the Lock at this point.

Gibbs took command of his team, making suggestions to Faith and Tara. "Tony, Tim, on the tracks. Yes we need to know how they were broken, but I want to know where their guy crossed in, and where our unknowns came in after him. Ducky and Jimmy on the bodies. Our guy here looks like the one who opened the door, but there's another body over in the tombstones. As I said Abby on the gate, and Ziva can assist. Lex float and use your senses with the others. Tara, I think you'd be best on the gate with Abby while Faith and I survey the terrain."

The orders made sense and there were no questions as everyone went into action.

The next question came from Faith as she and Gibbs returned to the Gate after finishing their survey, and it was posed to her lover as she worked alongside Abby and Ziva on the Gate.

"So! We opening a branch office?"

Though the question was asked in semi-jest Tara answered it seriously.

"I don't think so. The Gate is actually fairly secure. I'm going to want to replace the iron rails, and I'll have our people etch additional spellwork reinforcements to the underside, set up electronic surveillance, and station some monitors near by so it should be fine."

It was obvious her uncle was a bit surprised at her cavalier attitude. "With everything we do to keep the Mouth of Hell closed you seem pretty calm about this Tara."

The blond smiled her half smile. "You have to understand Uncle Gibbs. The Hellmouth is ... it's the four lane black top right out of the AC/DC song. This... this is a doggy door, and a well secured doggy door."

Walking over to the scrambled seal she pointed to the circle opening in the center. "I used a fiber optic camera to look inside, and between that and my own mystic senses I'm certain there is literally only one key that will open that lock."

That got Gibbs nodding. "We find the key..."

Tara smiled. "The door's staying closed." She then walked over to Abby and Ziva. "And the physical structure of the Gate..."

Abby stood up, scowling at the structure as if personally offended. "Is basically indestructible. Ziva?"

The Israeli woman stood up to show she had been working on the structure with a diamond tipped drill.

Faith was the one to get concerned over that. "You're drilling into the Devil's Gate?"

Abby shook her head. "We're trying to, and failing, miserably, and not INTO the Devil's Gate. I just wanted to collect a sample to analyze back at the lab, but look."

As the scientist pointed it was obvious the structure was unmarred.

She then provided her own explanation. "I THINK that Sam Colt discovered molecular bonding back when the steam engine was the new 'big thing."

Tara shook her head. "From what I'm getting it's not so much a molecular bond as it is a molecular lock. When the gate was opened they probably could have damaged the physical structure like normal iron, but when it's closed it's LOCKED, right down to the molecular level."

That got appreciative nods from everyone, but it was Faith who said the words. "That's a neat trick."

Witch Woman smiled at her mate. "It get's neater. It's powered by the Devil's Gate itself. So they can't get to it from the other side because it's closed, and they can't get to it from this side because of the big indestructible locked doors."

That got Faith's dimpled smile. "Think we could rig up something similar on the Hell Mouth?"

"Maybe, we'd have to figure out EXACTLY how he did it, and we're not there yet, but maybe."

After that Tara, Abby and Ziva were left to continue analyzing the Devil's Gate while Gibbs and Faith walked over to where the two corpses had been put in body bags on the ground, waiting for transport, with Ducky and Jimmy still analyzing the bodies with Lex adding her own insights.

Gibbs was the one to address his people. "What do we got?"

As was to be expected, Ducky was the one to answer. "We've already managed to identify this fellow..." Ducky pointed to the African-American male. "As one Jake Talley, United States Army, listed as AWOL. It gets interesting however as he was reported in Afghanistan so recently that between that confirmed sighting and his state of decomposition he would have either have to have been shot dead on a trip here via jump jet, something disputed by the fact that all evidence shows he was slain where we found him by an attacker that shot him multiple times at point blank range, or..."

Faith interrupted. "Magick. So this guy was popped over here from Afghanistan to open the Devil's Gate for our baddies as Colt's set up would keep demons out."

Ducky nodded. "It appears so."

"Why?" Was Gibbs obvious question.

To that Ducky smiled. "Why is your department Jethro. I am only concerned with hows. An interesting note though is that Willow found notes in Mister Talley's file that included suspected drug use in his file. Apparently at one point he lifted a rolled jeep off of one of his comrades. At the time it was simply attributed to adrenaline, but when he vanished potential drug use was considered a possible cause, and just from field analysis his musculature does feel denser then what one would expect."

"Slayer dense?" Was Faith's obvious question.

"I won't want to answer that until I get him back to the lab." Was Ducky's regretful answer.

Ducky then directed them to the other body. "This fellow is a great deal more interesting, but I will let Alexandra fill you in on the details."

Lex looked over at the three. "It's Azazel."

Ducky sighed. "Such as they are."

Gibbs scowled at his witch. "Can you give us a bit more on that?"

Lex grinned. "I mean it's Azazel. Not just the poor bastard he was possessing, but Azazel himself. Someone managed to kill him INSIDE this body. Unfortunately for the original owner it meant that he died too."

Gibbs knelt down next to the older white male shell. "What can do that?"

Lex, wearing rubber gloves pointed to the single gun shot wound in the bodies chest. "We're on a Devil's Gate that Samuel Colt put on lock down, and we have a elder demon killed by a gun shot wound..."

"The Colt." Gibbs finished the thought for Lex, contemplating what they all had been contemplating. Their research into the classic gun's maker and his supernatural background included learning of a very special Colt the man had made, one that was said to be able to kill literally ANYTHING it shot with one of it's special bullets.

Doctor Mallard saw the wheels turning in Gibbs head. "Again Jethro, I will want to get him back to the lab before I try to extract the bullet. If he WAS, killed by Samuel Colt's revolver I will want to preform a detailed autopsy so I can record exactly what that means."

No one could argue that logic, but while they all contemplated it Faith had stood up, walked back a bit and was looking back to the Devil's Gate. "The key." The other four looked at her, and she continued. "Look at the 'key hole' in that door. You tell me that doesn't look like it's built for the barrel of one of those old style Colts to slide in."

Looking at this four people Gibbs just said. "Keep working." Standing up he walked over to Faith, but she spoke first.

"TFQ. Too Fucking Quiet. Doggy door to Hell opens, clouds that looked like swarms of a possessor demons seen over SEVENTEEN cities, and now nothing. TFQ."

Gibbs nodded.

Chapter 3.

Tara leaned both her cane and herself against the wall of the elevator, rolling her shoulders to loosen the muscles. She was on the mend, not entirely mended, but close enough to work.

Groaning as the muscles loosened she looked up to see her reflection staring back at her in the metal of the elevator button panel, and she found herself speaking.

"Did you know Momma? Did you have any idea where I would end up? That the shy, stuttering, scared little girl I was would end up this warrior woman I've become? That not only would I go into battle, but that I would fight, and kill, threats both inhuman, and all too human?"

She sighed. "I don't regret it Momma. Not one bit. Even with all the blood, and the pain, I know I'm doing good here, and I can take it."

Another sigh escaped her lips, and it was more emotional. "But I know what it does to Faith. It does the same to me when she's the one who's hurt, but where she recovers in no time I'm STILL healing, and I know it hurts her."

Taking a deep breath she looked back at the reflection. "But neither one of us will stop. Neither one of us can. We won't stop trying to help, to do good, to save lives."

Feeling stronger she took hold of her cane as the elevator doors opened. Whispering quietly as she stepped out she whispered. "Thank you Momma. I know it's been awhile since we've talked."

The elevator had let her out in the armories armory, and she walked down the hallway to a certain room. A room that Faith called the "Antiques Roadshow" section of the armory.

Which of course wasn't true as they had a great many antiquities at the Lock, but they had either been deemed safe and were being circulated into use with their modern counterparts, been deemed dangerous and were either destroyed or locked away if destruction wasn't currently possible, or were in the process of being analyzed to see which category they fell into.

The sight that greeted Tara however had Faith saying a "Wild West show threw up in my armory!" when she first saw it.

Between Haswari telling them they must find the Winchesters, and the discovery that not only had Samuel Colt built a revolver that could kill anything, but that the bullet pulled out of the chest of Azazel's vessel appeared to match their description of the revolver's special rounds, the Lock had spent the last three months hunting down magickal guns.

The principal in creating an enchanted firearm was approximately the same as creating any enchanted object, lethal or otherwise, but the key principle was that it had to be hand made. The more manufactured it was the more trouble it would have holding a mystic charge, let alone holding it long enough to be called "enchanted".

It wasn't to say that they couldn't make modern technological enchanted items, but with scientific creations like dragon's breath rounds for creatures vulnerable to fire, and Abby's wooden bullets the time it would take to make magick guns was often better spent putting the scientific rounds to use.

Though some of the things she saw Willow doing to her mainframes... well Tara trusted the red head with what she was doing she knew that her ex was using her incredibly brilliant mind to blur the line between science and sorcery.

The fact that Willow was able to talk so passionately about how the line was artificially put up by humanity... Tara shook her head, the topic was guns, not Willow and her techno-wizardry.

They were out to find the Winchesters, and they were hoping to find the Colt. An idea that had her picturing Faith using the Colt... in full cowgirl dress.

Tony's voice broker her reverie. "What do you think she's smiling about?"

Ziva was the one who replied. "That smile? Faith."

Tara blushed lightly, smiling at her two agents catching her having a Wild West fantasy about her partner, but they were both part of her extended family, and they were the only three people in the room so her embarrassment passed quickly.

"What do we got?"

It was obvious DiNozzo was battling the urge to tease her some more, but he decided against it as he picked up a lever action rifle he and Ziva were logging in. "A pretty neat one actually. McGee called it a 'Morphic Rifle"

He held it up to his shoulder, sighting down the barrel as he narrated.

"Okay, you point this at a monster, work the lever." Tony illustrated by working the lever action. "And then pull the trigger and the bullet comes out whatever you need it to be to do the most damage to whatever you are shooting it. You know silver, iron, whatever."

Quite interested Tara stepped closer and Tony handed her the rifle so she could examine it personally.

Ziva interrupted. "At least it is supposed to. The effect has NOT been tested yet."

Witch Woman nodded, still focused on the rifle. "It's definitely enchanted. Set up some field tests, both on creatures we know have a metal based weakness, and those we don't... I kinda wanna see what this will shoot at say a vampire. Will it fire one of Abby's wooden bullets? Or what?"

Setting it down the table she met both of her agents eyes. "If it does work, even if it's just the metal based bullets I want this analyzed by our enchanters to attempt to reverse engineer it. Our production would be limited, but it's really a neat idea."

Tony and Ziva nodded their understanding, and agreeing that it was a good idea for a gun.

"Just one though right?"

The two armed investigators nodded.

Tara sighed. "Neat as it is it's not quite what you would expect to decide Armageddon, and Ari was very clear when he said Winchesters, as in plural."

With Tony and Ziva logging their latest acquisition downstairs Gibbs armed investigators were continuing the search from a section of rooms off of the Control Room that had been designated their new squad room.

McGee was online, and Lex had pulled up a chair next to him, figuring that his technological skills could pull up possibles that her occult knowledge could thin out for leads.

Gibbs was there as well, but taking a personal video conference with Mike Franks. Or more accurately Gibbs old mentor was yelling at him from the computer set up on the old Marine's kitchen table.

Mike's visit had unfolded approximately as Gibbs had predicted. With the problem not being considered dire enough for the intervention of one of the Lock's action teams, but rather a pack of slayers being sent down to wipe the infestation of vampires out.

They had been having trouble tracking them all down as the vampires had taken up turning jungle natives who were having a great deal of success avoiding the Lock's slayers while rebuilding any numbers they lost.

Still, they had yet to loose a single slayer, and the girls seemed in good spirits.

Gibbs prediction about Mike being willing to act as the girl's handler had also been proven accurate and the old Marine wasn't in as high of spirits.

"I have half a dozen half dressed teens romping around my beach all day and out killing, well, re-killing the undead all night. People are talking, Probie, and it ain't about blood suckers. They think I'm a pervy old man."

Considering his own status, he wasn't too sympathetic to Mike's plight. "You are a pervy... "

Mike didn't let him finish. "Do not finish that sentence."

Realizing there might actually be a serious issue he addressed it seriously. "We can relocate the team if it's an issue."

That had Franks scowling. "Ah, hell, Probie, the issue is... these teenie boppers, any one of them can kick my ass. Hell, two of them were horsin around and one of them picked up the damn sail boat. Picked it up."

That had Gibbs smiling because he had deliberately wanted to get some of the girl's the benefit of the old Marine's wisdom. "Just teach 'em to stay alive."

Then Mike's look became pained as his voice dropped. "Probie, they come through my kitchen in nothing but their britches."

Again reminded of his own circumstances Gibbs couldn't find any sympathy. "They wear less here."

Mike blinked at that. "Christ, your Charile from that old TV show."

Gibbs shook his head. "Nope. apparently, I'm Bosley."

Squinting Mike had to comment. "Well you look like crap Bosley."

Reaching to the side Gibbs took up his cup of coffee and took a long drink. "It's this current case Mike. We've been working it three months without a single damn lead."

Mike lit up a cigarette. "Tell me about it."

Shrugging Gibbs knew Mike had been cleared when he had been cleared to baby sit the slayers.

So he told him about it, right from when Ari had danced with Buffy at the club Apostate to when he burst into flames down in their interrogation room.

Franks exhaled. "Winchesters."

Gibbs nodded. "Yep."

Franks put out a cigarette into the ash tray he had in front of him. "Probie. You need to get some of my old case notes, round the end of eighty three, Lawrence Kansas."

Gibbs perked up. "What will I be looking for?"

Mike lit another cigarette and took a deep drag before replying. "House fire, case was a bit off because the Marine had actually finished his time and had returned to civilian life, but he swore it wasn't a simple house fire that killed his wife Mary."

"The locals called it an electrical fire and closed the case, but he had a few favors left over from his time in the Corps and got me sent in to give it a second look, and he sore Probie, he swore that he heard his wife scream from the direction of their baby's nursery. Running upstairs he looked in on his son Sam, and first he didn't see anything. Then a drop of blood landed next to the baby. Looking up he saw his wife, pinned to the ceiling and bleeding from her stomach."

McGee and Lex had stopped what they were doing to walk over and listen in, Gibbs giving them an acknowledging nod to do so.

After an exhale of smoke Mike continued. "He said the fire started FROM her Jethro."

Gibbs then had to ask. "And you believed him?"

Mike's response was instant. "Hell no! But that was more because I knew that kind of shit didn't happen, but damn it when I looked in that Marine's eyes I knew he damn well believed it, and now..."

"So how does this fit into my case Mike?"

Even though the two men were on different continents their eyes met as Mike spoke. "His name was Winchester, John Winchester. His wife's name was Mary and he had two boys Sam, and Dean."

Over his shoulder Lex's voice was stunned. "John Winchester?"

Realizing the connection Lex had made Gibbs nodded quickly to his old friend. "Thanks Mike! I think you just gave us the key!"

Knowing Gibbs had a lead to chase Franks just nodded. "Let me know how it works out."

The video conference was closed from both ends, and the three jumped up and ran into the Temple of the Oracle. Gibbs quickly addressing the woman herself at her console.

"Winchester, John, former Marine, wife Mary died in a house fire in 83, sons Sam and Dean."

Faith and Tara had heard them charge into the control room and had emerged from Tara's office as they did.

Tara was the one to state the obvious. "They're people?"

Willow confirmed it with a minimal amount of key strokes bringing up police files to her main screen.

Faith followed that by slapping her hand on a near by railing. "Fuck me! They're people!"

Lex just added to it. "That's the John I met in Hell! I'm certain!"

Faith followed that by slapping the rail again. "Fuck me twice!"

Tara took Faith's slapping right hand and kissed it. "Later Love, right now we have a lead to follow."

Off to the side a war wizard with pale skin, black hair, and glasses was returning with yet another enchanted rifle. "If that's the case can I have this one? It would look GREAT in my living room."

That had everyone in the room giving him a cold stare.

"Right... I'll just go log this in then."

Chapter 4.

"D.C. I can't believe I'm back in D.C." Xander looked expectantly around the cabin of the SUV Scooby Squad was in.

Angel was in the driver's seat as usual, while Buffy was in her place beside him. Xander and Giles didn't have specific seats as much as "the back", but typically Giles was behind Angel and Xander behind Buffy.

Like now, and it always left Xander free to try to fill the silences.

"Come on! No one?"

Buffy looked incredulously over her shoulder. "What?"

"The movie quote."

Angel interrupted. "There's no movie with that quote."

Xander rolled his eyes. "No, technically it was Saigon, but we're not in Saigon, we're in D.C."

Giles sighed. "If the movie quote says Saigon then you should have said Saigon."

That had Xander frowning at the former Watcher. "That would have made no sense."

To which the former Watcher came right back. "And this does?"

The banter was able to get Buffy smiling. They were back in D.C, and much for the same reason as their last visit, heck they were even in the suits and ties they had worn last time to blend in.

With Gibbs and his team deliberately cutting themselves off from their old circles they couldn't really be seen in them without bringing the Lock scrutiny that it wouldn't need even in the best of times.

With things as intense as they are now they simply couldn't afford the time and energy swatting Leon Vance in the nose if he tried to come sniffing around again.

To her side Angel spoke. "Maybe they should have just sent Lex. I'm sure Agent Krieger would have been happy to help her find Mike Franks' notes."

Buffy got a full grin at that, both at Angel deliberately poking fun at Xander's outrage over the woman Lex had been sent to seduce still seeming to have a crush on the woman, and at the fact that not only did Angel now have a pulse, but that his time with her AND all of Scooby Squad was helping him remember what it was to be human.

Mike Franks notes... the Lock was STILL stinging over the fact that they had blown three months looking for magick guns when the Winchester rifle was named AFTER a guy named Winchester in the first place!

Still, it highlighted why they had made the right decision bringing on Gibbs and crew. If they had been left figuring this out on their own they would probably still be on the rifle track. It was the investigators experience in running down leads that was giving slayers like Buffy record amounts of things to slay.

Well that, and the fact that the Devil was planning a jailbreak.

The Devil, Lucifer, the Prince of Darkness that wasn't married to Sharon Osborne. She had actually given Giles a head slap when the Watcher had reluctantly admitted that Lucifer HAD been known to the Council, but had been considered a myth.

Everything they dealt was myths, Buffy herself was a mythic being, and while Giles didn't looked pleased at the Gibbs slap his expression admitted that even he felt he deserved it.

So now the Lock was staring down the barrel of a real apocalypse. Something that would make all the world threatening events that she and the old Scooby Gang had dealt with look like warm ups.

Taking a deep breath Buffy focused, one step at a time. Luck or fate Mike Franks HAD been the then NIS investigator that John Winchester's favor had gotten sent in, and his notes would be essential in finding the Winchesters that would help them decide the apocalypse.

As someone with a dark destiny of her own Buffy could empathize with Sam and Dean. Heck, in comparison her life wasn't near as bad. She had gotten to get to her teens before the world of the supernatural had intruded into her life.

Dean Winchester was four when a demon killed his mom, his brother Sam was only six months old. After which their dad realized what was really going on and took them with him into the dark.

Maybe it was questionable whether or not he should have done that, but with the world of the supernatural taking an obvious interest in his family John Winchester's options were rather limited.

It was something Buffy had to come to terms with after her own mother passed and she was left to take care of Dawn.

Dawn, if nothing else the fact that she knew Dawn would be taken care of by the Lock if something happened to her made Buffy's decision to join the Lock all the more worthwhile.

The trade off had been that Buffy was often jetting off to one side of the world or another, but Dawn had reached the age where the freedom that offered tended to offset missing her sister, and with Willow all too ready to arrange video conferences for the two, things were going as smoothly as they had ever been for the Summers sisters.

Buffy was shaken from her reverie by the vehicle pulling to a stop. Looking over she realized they were at the warehouse that stored all the old NIS files.

With the files from a time long before the digital age had taken hold Scooby Squad was looking at a search that would make their old research parties at the Sunnydale High School's library look exhilarating in comparison.

It still had to be done, and the four of them climbed out of the black SUV in resignation.

Walking into the building the silence was the first thing to greet them. A silence broken by Scooby One, Buffy Summers.

"Sulfur." Was her one whispered word, but it had everyone reaching into their jackets for holy water.

With the opening of the Devil's Gate and the clouds of possessor demons being seen over seventeen cities everyone had been briefed on their traits, and one of them had been leaving traces of sulfur behind them. One plus being that the slayer's enhanced sense of smell had no trouble picking up the scent where a normal investigator would have to find the yellow powder physically and sniff it to confirm.

The four of them fanned out and started stepping as silently as their dress shoes and the concrete floor allowed.

To their advantage whoever else was in the building didn't seem so concerned, and Buffy's sense of hearing picked them up right away.

That the sounds seemed consistent with someone digging through the archived files just doubled her speed.

Getting to the source of the sound it seemed normal enough with a white haired dumpy sort of fellow standing on a step ladder as he dug through the files.

He turned around with a smile on his face and tossed a cardboard box to the floor.

Buffy's slayer senses were screaming so she didn't hesitate as she pulled the cap off the metal vial and splashed the man with the contents.

The white smoke and howls of pain told her he was possessed, and when he looked at her with eyes gone entirely black it was confirmed.

They had several powers, with even the lower level possessors able to use things like telepathy and telekinesis, but this one didn't get a chance to do anything as more holy water was splashed on him from two other directions.

The same directions that Angel and Xander came from as they tackled the man to the floor, because while the thing inside him might be evil made manifest the man himself was no more inherently evil then anyone else you might encounter on the street.

Moving to assist, Buffy was left grabbing his arms while Xander and Angel each took a leg.

Giles moved in to the side and started speaking, or at least he tried to.

The demon possessing the file clerk spoke first. "You two assholes! After hearing Jenny tell her story in Hell I figured you two would be the last to team up!"

Angel paled at the reminder, but Giles face hardened. Part of the briefing included the telepathy, and that the possessors would use it to pull put facts to use against you, and as Angel's face hardened like Giles had she knew they both were aware it was saying what it was saying to rattle them.

Though in a moment of internal honesty Buffy knew she was rattled as well, because the demon might not be lying.

Giles however was on task as he started speaking in Latin.

Exorcizamus te, omnis immundus spiritus

omnis satanica potestas, omnis incursio
infernalis adversarii, omnis legio,
omnis congregatio et secta diabolica.
Ergo draco maledicte
et omnis legio diabolica
adjuramus te.
Cessa decipere humanas creaturas,
eisque aeternae Perditionis venenum propinare.

The thing inside the poor man kicked harder, screaming it's rage, but Giles continued on.

Vade, Satana, inventor et magister
omnis fallaciae, hostis humanae salutis.
Humiliare sub potenti manu dei,
contremisce et effuge, invocato a
nobis sancto et terribili nomine,
quem inferi tremunt.

Ab insidiis diaboli, libera nos, Domine.
Ut Ecclesiam tuam secura tibi facias libertate servire
te rogamus, audi nos.
Ut inimicos sanctae Ecclesiae humiliare digneris,
te rogamus, audi nos.

Terribilis Deus de sanctuario suo.
Deus Israhel ipse truderit virtutem
et fortitudinem plebi Suae.
Benedictus deus. Gloria patri.

Buffy figured he was done as when he stopped the creatures outraged screams turned into a protracted shout that was accompanied by the man seeming to bellow black smoke that was then drawn to the floor, leaving scorch marks in it's passing.

She however still had to question. "Is it gone?"

Her Watcher nodded. "I sent it back to Hell." Giles then looked over to where Angel was checking on the man the demon had been possessing. "How is he?"

Angel looked up nodding. "He'll live."

Giles smiled as he nodded, but it was Xander who spoke next where he was analyzing the box the demon had dropped. "And the demon was nice enough to find the files for us before he left."

Chapter 5.

DiNozzo was behind the wheel of the rental car the two men had picked up at the airport. Looking to McGee in the passenger seat he spoke. "Lawrence Kansas, Winchesters, go!"

McGee had his Lock touch pad out and was opening up the files he and Willow had put together before he left. Much like the other touch pad devices on the market it allowed a much larger interface then the smartphone sized devices, but just like the Lock's smartphones the technology was cutting edge and custom made to give them as large of a technological edge as possible.

Truth be told, while McGee was happy to be a part of an operation that literally held the fate of the wold in it's hands, the technological toys he got to play with were a definite job perk.

"Mary Winchester, born Mary Campbell, her file gets interesting right away. Her parents were Samuel and Deanna Campbell."

Tony shrugged behind the wheel. "Which explains the boy's names. It's perhaps a little unusual they didn't name one after one of John's parents, but that's not really interesting."

McGee shook his head absently as he kept reading the screen. "That would be because John's parents didn't both die violently on the same night in different sections of Lawrence by wounds that the medical examiner said would take an attacker of 'extraordinary' strength."

That had Tony nodding. "Okay, now that part is significantly more interesting."

"There's more. Their deaths were the last of several deaths in and around Lawrence, but the other deaths were ruled accidental, though suspiciously so."

DiNozzo exhaled. "Maybe they found out something they shouldn't have? Mary survived something her parents didn't and it came back to find her once she had kids?"

Tim shrugged needlessly. "That will be for us to figure out. After that she married John Winchester, had their son Dean, had their son Sam, and then died in a house fire. After the house fire John Winchester emptied his bank accounts, let the mortgage on the house default, and went underground. While there are assorted records that occasionally pop up for him and his sons around the country the last records we have for the Winchesters in Lawrence is contractors fixing the fire damage, and then when their family home finally managed to get sold sixteen months ago."

The next question DiNozzo posed was the obvious one. "Who to?"

So obviously McGee already had the records open. "Jenny Richards, single mother of two, divorced, no criminal record. Moved to Lawrence those sixteen months ago, and bought the house from a bank that sold it at a price that showed they were happy to get rid of it. I have some records from contractors who did some touch up work to make it habitable... and a court case."

That had Tony looking over briefly, but keeping quiet as McGee was obviously getting the information. "A plumber had been in to look at the garbage disposal. He swore he disconnected the power, but when he reached in it still managed to turn on and take off his hand."

Now Tony spoke. "Careless workmanship, or poltergeist?"

Again McGee shrugged. "Any other house I might be willing to blame it on the plumber."

Continuing to tap away at the screen Tim continued the narrative. "Case was settled out of court, the judge ruling equal culpability since as far as he was concerned the plumber was responsible for making sure he was working safely, but the homeowner still had responsible because it happened in her home."

That got a small smile from DiNozzo. "Have to wonder if one day part of fixer uppers will included having a witch come in to cleanse the place of any bad juju left from previous inhabitants."

A third shrug from McGee. "That must be what she did as I have nothing else on record for Lawrence Kansas."

He then set the touch pad down on his lap. "How are we going to approach this Tony? We can't exactly claim were looking into a twenty year old house fire, even if that's precisely what were doing."

Tony opened his mouth to speak once, and then again, on the third time he actually managed words. "That's a very good point Probie. Let's go to the hotel, get settled in and figure something out."

Knocking on the door a smiling face McGee and DiNozzo recognized from Jenny Richards' DMV picture greeted them as the door opened.

"May I help you?"

DiNozzo was the one who replied. "Yes Miss Richards. I'm Mat Rogers and this is Nick Kepper from P&P Insurance. We're sorry, but we need to bother you one last time over your most recent claim."

That had Jenny frowning. "I thought that was all taken care of."

Tony was nodding. "It is all taken care of. It's just that due to the unusual nature of the incident we were looking to make a final check of the house to make sure nothing like that will ever happen again."

That had the single mother smiling. "Oh it won't I've already had it take care of."

That got both investigators attention, but neither showed it as Tony continued. "Of course you have, but until I can tell my boss that WE checked it out it hasn't been checked out BY us."

That got another frown, but the cover story seemed sold as she nodded as ushered them in.

Miss Richards had just brought in coffee and served it as there was a knock at her door. Excusing herself the two agents were left alone.

Leaving McGee the first to speak. "You seem..."

DiNozzo tried to finish the thought for him. "Different?"

Tim shook head. "Back to your old self."

That got DiNozzo's own patented smile, first patented back when he learned that not only were girls different, but that he really rather liked those differences. Jenny Richards was an attractive young woman for a mother of two, and Tony hadn't bothered to restrain himself as during the small talk they made leading into the living room in which they now sat.

Deciding to explain Tony took a deep breath first. "Tara and I talked a bit at Apostate before Ari popped back up, and she helped me to realize that I shouldn't feel guilty for trying to take down the world's most prolific merchant of death and destruction, and that no one is ever allowed to decide whether or not they fall in love..."

McGee interrupted him. "I never thought I'd hear you use the L word like that."

That got another grin. "Except to possibly say we are living in a sci-fi version of the show?"

Seeing McGee give a reluctant grin at that Tony kept going, but accenting his words by holding his hands out as he shrugged. "It fits, you know it as well as I do Probie, but her response was to come up with perhaps the most horrific woman scorned move that doesn't involved bladed instruments, she frames me for the murder of her father."

That had McGee's eyes open at the idea and Tony gave a more enthusiastic nod as he dropped his hands. "Yeah, I hadn't thought of it that way either, but Tara pointed out that she would rather have seen ME go to prison for her Father's murder then the actual killer... I mean Court still got away with it, but she decided that seeing me punished for the crime was more important then her father being killed."

McGee did his own opening his mouth and closing it once before finally being able to speak. "I guess that does sort of put a different spin on the relationship."

Back to grinning DiNozzo came back with "That and I figure at least one part of the male population should be giving Lex a challenge."

That got McGee's own grin. "You think you'll be able to challenge Lex? You'll be lucky to even catch up!"

Tony put on a slightly offended expression. "Well it certainly won't be you."

McGee's grin grew. "I've got no intention of challenging her. I'm taking notes and letting her set me up on dates."

Genuinely taken back DiNozzo's surprise was obvious in his voice. "Lex is setting you up on dates?"

A nod. "Yep, she doesn't do committed relationships, but she knows several of her girlfriends are looking for just that and are bi."

Once more Tony came right back. "And you're okay with them having been sexually involved with Lex?"

McGee's grin was even more pleased with himself. "Shouldn't I be?"

DiNozzo found his head bobbing in affirmation. "Okay Probie, I'll give you that." He actually had his own smile for his friend.

Then a new voice was heard as a robust black woman entered the room. "Would you two get your minds out of the gutter? There's important work to be done and unfortunately it looks like it's going to be the two of you doing it!"

Off to the side the singe mother was obviously confused. "They said they were insurance investigators."

The black woman's voice softened. "They had to sweetie. They're much like Sam and Dean are, looking for the horrors out there in the dark and stopping them, but since they didn't know if you knew the history of your house they couldn't come right out and use it as a ice breaker now could they?"

Jenny smiled nodding mostly to herself. "I suppose not."

"All right you two. The names Missouri Mosely, I am psychic, and you don't need to worry because you don't live with the gift as long as I have without knowing some places of peoples minds hold secrets you don't look at unless asked. Just rude otherwise. Now come on!"

McGee was the first to respond. "Yes Ma'am!"

Tony however wasn't far beyond "Yes Ma'am!"

Chapter 6.

Another pair of Lock investigators were in another rental car, with one in the passengers seat while the other drove.

Ziva David however was reading with much more passion as Lex drove the car.

"This is disgusting! Absolutely reprehensible!"

Lex arched her brows without taking her eyes from the road. "That bad?"

"Worse!" Was Ziva's one word reply as she continued to angrily flip through the e-file.

"So what did he do that was so gruesome? Or I mean what was he accused of at least?"

Ziva waved her hand. "Tied someone to a chair, a woman, beat her to death. I have seen worse. I did worse in my days with the Metsada."

That had Lex looking over and her mouth was slightly open. "Then what's got you so worked up?"

Ziva held the pad with her left hand and angrily gestured to it with her right. "The case! The investigation! Or should I say lack there of!"

The Israeli took a calming breath. "Okay, Dean Winchester was accused of two murders, and one attempted murder here in Saint Louis. The problem is that in both of the first two cases the original suspects were positively identified as a boy friend and husband. The only two things connecting them being the killer's MO and that they happened along the same street! Oh, and the first murder happened BEFORE they could find any sign of Dean Winchester having even arrive in Saint Louis at all!"

Lex's mouth was literally open. "Okay, new girl on the investigation front, but MO couldn't be used to confirm the identity of a killer right? I mean after all the knife training you've given me I probably handle a knife like someone trained by the Mossad, or at least the IDF. Now if they had an Israeli suspect that might be one thing, but..."

Ziva interrupted, still aggravated. "BUT it would not be enough to build a case! It would not even be enough to get a warrant! Yet it is STILL how they pinned all three crimes on Dean Winchester, even with footage of their original suspect entering the scene of the crime just before the crime took place! Though Oracle left a note here of an unusual eye flare in the footage of the original suspect. "

The witches mouth had yet to fully close. "Then why did they pin it on Winchester?"

Ziva's teeth were literally clenched before she spoke. "Because his sister swore the first suspect was with her when the murder was committed and the second original suspect was supposedly driving home."

Taking one hand off of the wheel Lex held it up in a pacifying gesture. "Okay, let's put Winchester aside for a moment. In the case of the first and third cases we have a suspect that was literally seen in two places at once. One with his sister and then on film, and the other dying on the third victims floor who they identified as Dean Winchester..."

Ziva interrupted. "At which point they must have simply figured it would be easier to blame him for all the crimes then do some ACTUAL police work! I mean if you presented casework like that to Gibbs what do you think he would do?"

Finding her friend's righteous outrage amusing Lex didn't bother trying to fight the grin that came to her face. "Give me a Gibbs slap with the but of his Colt .45. Okay, but Dean's declared dead and turned into their patsy because they couldn't come up with anything better, only to then turn up alive in Baltimore?"

Her teammate nodded, and while she seemed to be calming down Lex didn't let her get a word in. "Murders in the same area, with the same method, by killers who were seen in two places at once. I'm betting some sort of shape changer. A shape changer that was in Dean's form when he got wasted."

The former Mossad woman shrugged. "That will be for Ducky to determine. We will pick up the exhumed body, and assuming they didn't destroy it to cover up their incompetence, and our pilot will fly it back to the Lock for Ducky to examine while we speak with the witnesses..."

Looking down Ziva read from the touch pad. "Rebecca and Zachary Warren."

Leaving Rebecca Warren's house Ziva climbed behind the wheel while Lex sat in the passenger seat and picked up the touch pad. Looking at each other the two women spoke in unison.

"They knew."

Lex was the first to elaborate. "When you slid that affidavit for her to sign stating with out a doubt that her attacker had died on her living room floor she signed it without blinking."

Ziva didn't miss a beat as she replied. "And the way she met your eyes when you emphasized that by signing it she would be not only presenting evidence in Dean Winchesters' defense, but could be called to testify on his behalf? She most certainly knew."

Back to her Lex continued seamlessly. "So what are we thinking? We know the Warrens were friends of Sam Winchester back when he was attending Stanford, before his girlfriend died in a yet another house fire, and he presumably connected it to what killed his mother and quit school to hunt it. Maybe they knew what he was up to and called him for help? Maybe they just wanted the emotional support of an old friend? Either way the Winchester boys end up here and recognize something out of the ordinary. They hunt it, it hunts them, takes Dean's form and tries to kill Rebecca, but get's interrupted by a SWAT team now on alert with the two other cases in the neighborhood."

The narrative flow was picked back up by Ziva, again without interruption. "The SWAT team sees the false Dean and he's blamed for all three attacks despite their own evidence against Zachary. The False Dean tries to finish the job on Rebecca, but get's killed in her living room leaving the police free to pin all the cases on their now dead suspect, until the real Dean turns up in Baltimore, not dead."

That cause an interruption by Lex. "Ziva! You're missing the best part!"

That got a confused look from her partner. "Which is?"

"The dramatic conclusion where Sam had his gun wavering between two Deans with each one telling him they are the real Dean, leaving Sam having to make a split second decision between which was actually his brother and which one he would shoot!" Lex was grinning as she finished.

Ziva was not smiling. "It is just as likely that Dean shot his doppelganger and knew that he was the real Dean and could safely shoot the guy who looked exactly like him."

Lex shrugged. "Yeah, but my version's cooler."

Ziva put the vehicle into motion. "You are spending too much time with Tony."

That got a laugh out of Lex as Ziva continued. "What is next on Mister Dean Winchesters' list of nefarious deeds we need to investigate?"

The Witches reply was distracted as she read the file. "Baltimore, but the interesting thing is that he's already been cleared of the two homicides he was accused of. Turns out a bent badge had killed a guy who helped him sell some horse he had stolen out of lock up, and then wasted the guy's wife on the off chance he might have told her something."

She then perked up, grinning. "Okay Oracle gave us a transcript here of where Dean confesses... to their theory that a ghost did it. Interesting thing though was that danashulps was found typed over and over again at the scene of the first two crimes. Lather they would find the body of a Claire Becker, a heroin dealer and police informant that went missing soon after the smack vanished from the lock up."

Ziva shrugged. "So he uses the informant to sell his stolen heroin, kills her, and then kills the man who helped him, and the wife, all three to cover his tracks."

Lex was nodding. "BUT Becker's body was found at 2911 Ashland Street..." Seeing Ziva's blank look Lex quickly continued. "Danashulps is a anagram of Ashland, and I'm guessing the S from street... when a spirit crosses over, and then crosses back things can get confused. While there was a ghost it's more likely she was trying to warn those her killer was targeting, but couldn't do it in a way they could understand."

That had Ziva nodding her understanding. "But the brothers could."

"The brothers could, and presumably did, and then both 'escaped' Detective Diana Ballard's custody while she was securing her murderous partner Detective Pete Sheridan."

Again Ziva showed her understanding. "Because at that point with Dean alive he would again be wanted for the crimes here in Saint Louis."

A shrug from Lex. "Assuming... I think we might want to skip over that. Or at most maybe call it in."

That got a surprised look from Ziva. "Excuse me?"

She made sure to meet Ziva's eyes with her own before she spoke. "Look, we've already got a pretty good handle on the situation there, and the handle is that a good cop did the right thing, but had to let a wanted fugitive go to do it."

That got a scowl from Ziva as she finished the thought. "And if we started digging we could cause trouble for Detective Ballard."

Lex nodded. "Exactly. As it is the only thing the Winchesters are guilty of there is escaping custody, and if we can put together enough admissible evidence to show them not guilty of crimes they didn't commit those charges can be made to go away easily enough."

Ziva's nodded the affirmative. "I agree... So what's after that?"

The reply was instant, and delivered with a grin. "Bank robbery." While she allowed Ziva an incredulous look she quickly continued before the woman could speak. "A bank robbery in another similar geographical area where people were stealing from their employers, then committing suicide, without the stolen valuables ever being found."

That had Ziva calming as Lex continued. "Not to mention that when the robbery first happened the guys were taken hostage with everyone, by a robber shouting about mandroids with 'laser eyes'."

That had the Israeli investigator focused. "Another shape changer?"

"They took a body out that was a twin to one of the clerks who had been stabbed through the heart, much like how our Dean double had been shot in the heart."

That had Ziva scowling once more. "And yet the local LEO's STILL blamed the bank robbery on Dean Winchester and didn't investigate further!"

Lex was offhanded with her reply. "No, this time they pinned it on both brothers, and it wasn't the locals, they were negotiating, it was the FBI who came in and hung up negotiations so they could storm the place to try to catch Dean."

That had Lex getting pressed back into her seat at the car's sudden burst of acceleration. "Ziva, Ziva come on... I know it pisses you off. It pisses me off, but Ziva..."

The closest Lex got to a reply was Ziva's white knuckled grip on the wheel and Hebrew sounding curses intermingled with the letters FBI.

Chapter 7.

As Doctor Mallard approached the zippered body bag in autopsy he addressed his assistant.

"So this is the unknown body from the bank robbery in Milwaukee?"

Jimmy nodded as he unzipped the black bag. "Yep, and for the record the teller it resembles swears she doesn't have any siblings let alone a twin."

"Now, now Mister Palmer. While it does appear this individual was guilty of several murders, and robberies that is no reason to call them an 'it."

That had Mister Palmer shaking his head. "Of course not Doctor, but from what we have gathered on these shape shifters they can take on the form of either gender."

Ducky stepped closer. "You're sure it's a shape shifter?"

In response Jimmy tossed open the body bag to expose the arms. The right one with it's skin torn partially off. "It's just like the Dean Winchester shape shifter Doctor. A secondary dermis lain over the primary which the shape shifter can grow to mimic anyone it chooses... actually if I may Doctor I'd like to put in a request for Oracle to get us the teller's finger prints, and medical files, as well as ask Riley to forward a request for Ziva and Lex to get a DNA sample from the woman, and maybe even retinal prints."

That got Ducky nodding appreciatively. "To see if mimicry is skin deep, or if the creature somehow uses the DNA of the subject to assist the process. Very good Mister Palmer!"

The two men got the body out to the exam table and began the autopsy that Ducky narrated into the recorder. "What's more interesting with this specimen is that the secondary dermis appears to have been torn in some sort of scuffle. Which would seem to indicate that the shed dermis that had been found in the bank after the shape shifter presumably altered it's appearance to this form it was slain in could be pulled off by most anything rather then just deliberately so by the shifter."

Jimmy pointed briefly. "We'll want to ask Abby to run DNA tests on the shedding and compare it to the one we have here, both to make sure there was only one shifter involved as well as see just how they match up."

Humming appreciatively Doctor Mallard nodded that he agreed, but was obviously distracted. Noticing this Jimmy went ahead and asked.

"Something wrong Doctor?"

The venerable medical examiner sighed. "It just makes one wonder Jimmy. I mean a good portion of the work we do is just hiding the evidence of the supernatural menaces we face, and yet here nothing more then a more through job by the medical examiner could have quite possibly blown the lid we've been trying to maintain. Or at least cracked it severely."

That had Mister Palmer deep in thought. "That is very, very true Doctor. The fact that the ME in Saint Louis pulled silver bullets out of the Winchester clone, while this one was stabbed with a silver letter opener should have clued them in as well."

Picking up a scalpel Ducky spoke even as he used it to begin a Y incision, the letter opener to the heart seeming to be enough for a cause of death ruling. "Ignorance is bliss Mister Palmer, especially when it rocks ones fundamental place in the universe."

Looking up it was obvious Jimmy wasn't following. "The food chain Mister Palmer. Before you started here at the Lock you knew that while the malicious acts of other humans were an understandable worry they were all you really needed to fear. The weather is only a worry in the most extreme of circumstances, and barring expeditions to the deep wilderness you had little chance of meeting a predatory animal. You were at the top of the food chain, but now you know that there are creatures that could easily knock you from the perch."

Getting it Jimmy was able to finish the thought. "And the vast majority of people would rather not know that."

That had Ducky replying with a small grin. "The vast majority of people can quite literally not handle that Mister Palmer. Something evidenced by the vast amounts of ignored evidence that we and Abigail are going over. Just think Jimmy, if this evidence had landed on Jethro's desk?"

That had a grin from his assistant. "He would have started the Lock if it hadn't already been in existence."

Ducky had a small laugh. "Quite right. Now we have had some rather fantastic cases that turned out to have more traditional scientific causes, but 'When you eliminate the impossible, whatever is left, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.' and you had better recognize that quote Mister Palmer."

Mister Palmer had a small laugh himself as he grabbed another tool for Doctor Mallard as the exam continued. "Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle."

The answer was obviously right as Ducky smiled. "Spot on. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, now there WAS a fascinating fellow..."

As Ducky and Jimmy continued to examine their evidence in autopsy Abby was doing the same in her lab.

Or at least she was trying to as Willow appeared on her vid screen. "Got a vid call for you Abs!"

Abs jumped. "Ah! What?"

Willow was seated at her console on the screen as she smiled. "A call... from Gibbs?"

Putting a hand to her chest as she caught her breath Abby nodded. "Of course you do... it's not like he wouldn't let not even being in the same state keep him from surprising me!"

That got a grin as Willow tapped on her keyboard. "Patching him through now."

The image changed and Leroy Jethro Gibbs could be seen sitting at a desk somewhere. "What do we got Abs?"

Exhaling a final injured huff Abby started breathing normally as she spoke. "Okay! The silver bullets that they pulled out of Evil Dean were as pure as you could make them without effecting the bullets actual function."

Gibbs added to that. "Professional, which would support the idea that the Winchesters took up monster hunting when they went underground after leaving Lawrence Kansas."

That got a single nod from the Goth. "Yep! As far as the shifter from the bank heist it's looking more like they just got lucky someone at the bank went for a real silver letter opener rather then plated."

"Does it matter?"

That got a more sincere nod from Abby. "With the letter opener not as pure as the bullets Ducky was able to compare the results and it absolutely mattered. When the silver hits the heart is causes rapid necrotizing of the tissue. How rapid is determined by the purity of the silver shoved in there."

He leaned forward in his office chair. "What if you missed the heart and hit a lung or something?"

Abby shrugged. "Don't know. You fight one, put a silver bullet through it's lung and see."

That got a small smirk and arched brow from Gibbs. "Anything else?"

She smiled. "Yep, Ducky had me run DNA tests to see if they were mimicking their subjects on a cellular level. They're not. The shed skin we recovered at the bank matched the shifter the Winchester brothers killed there, while the skin that physically matched a teller didn't show any biological similarities from the tests I've run so far."

Gibbs face scrunched in concentration. "That would however imply that they could mimic someone from a photograph."

Her smile turned to a frown."They might miss things that wouldn't be seen like birthmarks, but it looks like."

That had his face growing more creased with concern. "And we have no way to detect them right now without picking up eye flare on camera?"

Her frown remained. "Yep. Oh! Willow however is programming our systems to scan for that automatically. So that's something right?"

He nodded absently. "Do we know what causes it?"

Her face became mellow as she nodded. "They mimic the eyes by growing a secondary membrane along with their secondary skin. Looks like a normal eye to look at, but a camera can catch the odd reflection."

He shook his head absently. "We have any record of this sort of thing?"

Her head wavered from side to side. "Mythologically yeah, but no actual encounters... at least that we know about."

Gibbs smiled, holding up a hand to forestall Abby pondering the possibility that they'd been infiltrated by a shape changer. "We have regular physicals Abby, especially the field units that run the risk of exposure to unknown elements. Ducky or Sam would have picked up a changer then, because even if they changed between people it would have had to dispose of both originals, and even just one of our people couldn't meet an unknown fate without us knowing."

That had an obvious calming effect on Abby. "Okay, you're right, you're right. How are you doing?"

He shook his head. "It's empty Abby. The town of Rivergrove Oregon, emptied of every man, woman, and child. No signs of struggle, no damn signs at all. We picked up a transaction on a fraudulent card we're pretty sure was the Winchesters, and when we started checking the area we found a small town that was barely on the map had fallen off entirely."

"Creepy, sounds like a modern day Roanoke." Abby matched her words with a physical shiver.

Gibbs didn't help. "Abby, we found Croatoan carved into a telephone pole."

That had Abby's mouth literally hanging open in shock. "So... what are you doing now?"

That got a scowl from Gibbs. "Right now I am just sitting here in the sheriff's office keeping the town guarded until reinforcements arrive. Which just makes me all the more grateful Tara added forensics to the basic training for all field units, because I've got the biggest crime scene of my career."

Abby interrupted absently. "So far." She then cringed. "I just jinxed it didn't I? Where's Faith? I can't imagine she's too happy waiting around for back up."

His head shook. "She isn't. Someone called in an anonymous tip on Sam and Dean Winchester. We weren't able to head it off so Slayer's on her way to spring them."

Chapter 8.

Faith was on a slow burn, a slow, steady build of rage. A build that had started back when she first realized they had wasted three months looking for a bunch of fucking magickal guns while the Winchesters were actual people that Haswari had died to tell her about!

People who got farther and farther ahead of her while she had been messing around with a bunch of flintlocks, lever actions and six shooters! People who actually KNEW how to go undetected from just her kind of search, so she could find their traces, but long after the trail had gone ice cold.

It just made her angrier, but she couldn't even blame them. She knew how hard the job was, and those two guys were trying to do it without slayer powers, without official support and funding, and without any back up other then each other.

Shit, it made the package the Watcher's Council had offered look inviting.

Then you have assholes like this Agent Hendrickson who was so damn determined to find them that he couldn't be bothered to take time with things like the rules of EVIDENCE!

While it had been just over four months since Lex saw the Devil's Gate open from the Hell side, and Ari Haswari had told them they needed to find the Winchesters they had been actively looking for Sam and Dean for just over a month, and had already torn Hennrickson's case to pieces.

Which was about what Faith wanted to do to the agent in question.

Which made her think about Haswari again. He had said that she needed to stop fearing her dark side, that he had kidnapped Tara for the express purpose of waking it back up.

Being honest with herself, she knew it had never slept, never left her, she had just learned to lock it up tight somewhere deep, deep inside her.

Sometimes she felt more like a addict, like some sort of rage junkie who had to avoid the old behaviors that had set her down her self-destructive path.

Still, this felt different somehow. This wasn't like before. Then it had been her rage in control, she HAD been a junkie, it's slave, doing whatever it had told her to.

"She has conquered her demons. Now she needs to put them to work." Faith had listened to Ari's words more times then she could remember. Enough times that she heard them in her sleep, but there had been times, when she was alone with that woman staring back at her from the mirror she knew the words haunted her because she knew they were right.

This wasn't like before, there was no comparison. That fire that was burning in her veins when she was taking apart the terrorist stronghold, literally brick by brick at one point, wasn't like the hate that had twisted in her gut back in the bad old days, back when she had begged Angel to kill her just to put the fire out.

It wasn't what was driving her now. This wasn't pointless rage, but directed furry... it was still dark, but damn it she was dark, she was a slayer, THE slayer now, the Founder of the Modern Line and all.

The radio then managed to cut into her thoughts.

"I live my life like there's no tomorrow
and all I've got, I had to steal
Least I don't need to beg or borrow
Yes I'm livin' at a pace that kills "

"Oooh, yeah
(Ahh!) Runnin' with the devil (Ahh-hah! Yeah!)
(Woo-hoo-oo!) Runnin' with the devil
I'm gonna tell ya all about it "

The anger flared up further as she shut the radio off.

"Fuck you Dave! Fuck you!"

Shaking her head she couldn't help but think, she wasn't running with the devil, not anymore, she was out to outrun the bastard.

Her GPS indicated she had arrived at the police station Oracle told her Sam and Dean had been taken to. Realizing how fast her anger had her going she literally had to stomp on the breaks, but the screeching of the tires felt kinda good as the car rocked to a halt and she jumped out with a Department of Justice id at the ready.

When she saw the street in front of her already dominated by a chopper she knew she was working on tight numbers.

The receptionist was a lightly tanned young woman in white short sleeved shirt with a knit pink vest who's black hair was in a pony tail. The sign on her desk said she was the secretary Nancy Fitzgerald.

Faith actually physically tossed her id on Nancy's desk, and the young woman showed she was in a extremely nervous state as she physically jumped in her seat.

"Sorry... Nancy. Agent Angela Page, Department of Justice. I need you to call the DoJ directly and ask for Director Harold Brongola. He's expecting the call. You will get put right through and he will verify my identity because things are going to get VERY interesting VERY quick."

She gave the young woman a smile, and it was hesitantly returned. Both women however looked as a black man navy blue suit, pants, and tie, with a light blue dress shirt looked up from some paperwork he was filling out.

Giving the secretary the nod Nancy started making the call while the man Faith already recognized as Special Agent Victor Henrickson started speaking, or at least tried to, she cut him off, letting her anger start to visibly and vocally manifest.


He blinked. "What?"

She snarled. "Not what? Where? As in Winchesters."

He smiled. "Sam and Dean are safely locked up in the holding cells till their trip to Super Max."

"On what charge?"

That got an audible laugh out of Henrickson. "Try murder?"

Her snarl grew, and his eyes widened. "Which murders would that be genius? The ones in Saint Louis where my people got a affidavit where Rebecca Warren swore she saw her attacker die on her living room floor!"

He shrugged. "Winchester obviously faked his death."

The anger in her expression grew and he took a step back. "Do you have ANY physical evidence to support that? The only evidence that exists says the man who died on Rebecca Warren's floor was the one who committed the murders. Anything you can PROOVE to the contrary Henrickson?"

"Or maybe you're talking about Baltimore? Except those murders were committed by a bent badge!"

Everyone in the room was looking to Hendrickson now, even Nancy, until the phone she had to her face was picked up on the other end. For his part Henrickson tried to defend his case. "And the bank robbery?"

Faith was barely retraining the urge to break the guys jaw. "Yeah... the robbery. How much was taken?"

Hendrickson puffed up his shoulders in false bravado. "We got to them before they could."

"Really? Was there ANY signs of ANY tampering to ANY money receptacle other then the door to the safe where the hostages had been secured... you do remember the hostages? Or were you too busy gearing up to storm the place after you learned Sam and Dean were inside?"

He stepped closer. "It was justified!"

She actually invaded his personal space. "By what crime Agent Henrickson?! What could you base risking over a dozen lives to apprehend them over? Newsflash! We follow evidentiary procedure here! Hoover is dead! I hear he was buried in a tasteful taffeta number with pearls, but the days when you could arrest someone and THEN decide what they did are done! Patriot Act non-withstanding."

Then her slayer hearing picked up something. Something feint through all the steel and concrete, but unmistakable, silenced gunfire.

Suddenly her Mk.23 was in hand. "Who else is in holding?" As she charged back towards the holding cells.

Hendrickson drew his sidearm as well. "Deputy Director Groves."

Faith shouted. "Sheriff! Back me up! Henrickson... stay where I can see you!"

Hitting the cell block they saw Groves laid out on the floor cold and dead, and Sam Winchester holding a silenced pistol while his brother Dean was on the bed with a shoulder wound.

Sam... was easily pushing six feet with a styled lead of full brown hair with long bangs but short in back, while his brother Dean was a noticeably shorter with hair of a similar brown in a flat top.

Sam was in blue jeans, with green jacket and t-shirt while Dean was in also in blue jeans, a blue jacket with black and white flannel underneath and a black t-shirt, both of the brothers were in shackles for their hands and feet, that had a connector chain running from the lower set of shackles to bind the two brothers together.

Shouting to be heard above all the others she first ordered Sam to put down the pistol, which she took from him, but as Henrickson started to demand to know what Sam did to the Deputy Director Faith stepped back into his personal space.

"Are you REALLY that incompetent of an investigator? Whatever happened to Groves happened AFTER he put a bullet in Dean Winchester's shoulder! Which makes it self defense! Or are you going to try to convince me that Sam smuggled a silenced Sig in here, shot his brother in the shoulder and then killed your Deputy Director with some sort of close combat self dense move? Look at him! You see a bullet wound?"

Surely enough Deputy Director Groves didn't have a single bullet wound on him.

At that Faith got back in Henrickson's face. "The case against the Winchesters has been THE sloppiest investigation I have seen in my entire career as an investigator!" Internally she added the "year and a half" since she had added the skill set to her "Slayer" portfolio.

"It has either been incompetent or corrupt. While I have been willing to simply think you incompetent the fact that a Deputy Director tried to hit suspects, and let me remind you that they ARE suspects without a single criminal conviction between them, is making it pretty damn obvious corrupt is looking like a far bigger part of the picture. Now, by this point Nancy will have verified my id. Once you have that you will be giving me the brothers, a pilot, and the chopper. For right now however you can fuck off, because make no mistake you are one call away from spending the rest of your career doing background checks on the professional perverts of the TSA, and two calls away from being done."

Even with a gunshot wound in his shoulder Dean got a chuckle at that, at which Faith turned around. "And someone get me a first aid kit and the keys to their cell."

Hennrickson protested. "You're not going in there are you?"

All she did was point to the doors out of the holding cells. "Fuck off!"

As he left the sheriff brought her the keys while his deputy brought her a first aid kit. Once they were alone she walked over to the cell door. Instead of opening it right away she looked down at the body of Deputy Director Groves.

"He stinks like sulfur. I'm guessing he was possessed rather then a amateur chemist?"

The Winchester brothers spoke in unison. "You know?"

Faith nodded. "They know me as Agent Angela Page, Department of Justice. My real name is Faith, I'm a Vampire Slayer, and I'm here to help."

Chapter 9.

Opening the cell door she was opening the first aid kit as she stepped inside. "Can you move your arm enough to take your shirt off?"

Dean nodded, starting to remove his jacket and shirt so Faith could get to his bullet wound. "But you should know I'm not normally this forward."

Faith smiled at that. "Somehow I doubt that, but I'm much the same, I save the cages and chains for the second date."

Dean gave his own smile. "So that badge is bullshit and you gave them a friend's number to call to 'verify' your id?"

The brunette shook her head. "It's legit." She then met the bothers startled eyes. "The reason guys like Henrickson are left to deal with cases like yours is because those who either figure out the truth or have it presented to them in ways they can not deny usually end up working for me."

Sam was picking up on the conversation quickly. "So you're the Slayer, and you work for the Government basically doing what Dean and I do, but with official sanction?"

A single nod was her reply before speaking. "A slayer, there's more then one now, but that's a bigger conversation for later. Otherwise you got it in a nutshell. Now I could bust you guys out of here, but we've been picking apart the charges against you and using the questions raised by supernatural involvement to generate reasonable doubt without letting the secret out. I want to do the same here."

Now that Dean was shirtless Faith had put on rubber gloves and was examining his wound with probing fingers causing Dean to wince as he spoke. "It might not be that easy, the demon that was in the Deputy Director seemed to say the night had just begun, and it fled, we didn't exorcise it."

Reaching to the first aid kit she started gathering bandages. "Okay, it was a through and through, so you should be able to manage. Now that would mean that the demon must have ran off to get some friends so we have to come up with a way to get everyone out."

"To do that I'm going to need you two to stay put." Seeing the objections forming she held up her hands. "But I'm going to leave the cell door shut, but not locked so you can get out in an emergency. I'm also going to give you my cross and holy water so you're not defenseless."

"Also," She reached down and taking each shackle she used slayer strength to yank on them hard enough to break the locking mechanism so they could be closed, but would never lock again.

She then stood up, and spoke with a smile. "Now get dressed, I gotta go back to work."

Dean smirked. "Normally women are telling me to get undressed before they go to work."

"Easy tiger." Was her whispered reply as Henrickson reentered the cells.

"Well, while I was busy fucking off their buddies killed all the deputies outside and my partner!"

She met his eyes. "Was my id confirmed?"

The black man scowled. "Enough, they got cut off mid call when the phone were cut and cell and radios were blocked." Then the lights went out. "And now they've got the lights." Followed by an explosion. "And the chopper."

Faith's voice was calm as she replied. "Henrickson, have you EVER heard of those two having accomplices? The fact that we are dealing with people who are sophisticated enough to launch this kind of attack makes them more likely those who could turn a Deputy Director of the FBI into an assassin then whatever pipe dream you cooked up around what little evidence you did bother to look at in the Winchester case."

"Now if you were cut off mid way with my boss then that means we'll have back up on the way." The fact that she made sure to give Sam and Dean a quick glance as she said that letting them know that her back up would be aware of the real nature of the threats out there.

She then froze. "But I'm guessing you've already figured all that out." and then as Henrickson's eyes went black and he reached for his side arm from behind and to her right Faith pivoted at the hip, grabbing him at the collar and belt and hurled him bodily out the doors to the holding cells.

"I need an exorcist!" Came out of Faith's mouth as she hurried after her possessed projectile.

Sam and Dean were out of their broken shackles and opening the cell door with Dean dropping back to let his brother out first as Sam said. "Just hold him down!"

Faith's foot opened the door with enough force to break it as she came into the squad room where the demon eyed Henrickson had his gun out and was pointing it at her. Facing him her left hand grabbed his right wrist while her right grabbed his throat and picked him up to slam him down, on top of Nancy's desk.

That caused the secretary to scream as she scrambled from her seat, leaving Faith to keep his right hand pointing the gun towards the ceiling while he tried to twist it enough to point the weapon at her.

As that struggle continued Sam and Dean burst into the squad room to be greeted by the guns of the sheriff and what was now his surviving deputy since Faith didn't imagine that the possessed Henrickson had lied about his partner and the deputies being killed, he just did the dirty work himself, before planting a bomb on the chopper and killing the lights, phones and radios.

"Leave em!" Was her shouted order, and it confused the two local LEOs enough for Dean to run over and grab Henrickson's arms so Faith could wrestle the gun fully away while Sam started reciting from memory.

Exorcizamus te, omnis immundus spiritus

omnis satanica potestas, omnis incursio
infernalis adversarii, omnis legio,
omnis congregatio et secta diabolica.
Ergo draco maledicte
et omnis legio diabolica
adjuramus te.
Cessa decipere humanas creaturas,
eisque aeternae Perditionis venenum propinare.

As it kicked and screamed it then formed words in Henrickson's voice. "You're too late! I've called them! They're coming!"

Vade, Satana, inventor et magister
omnis fallaciae, hostis humanae salutis.
Humiliare sub potenti manu dei,
contremisce et effuge, invocato a
nobis sancto et terribili nomine,
quem inferi tremunt.

Ab insidiis diaboli, libera nos, Domine.
Ut Ecclesiam tuam secura tibi facias libertate servire
te rogamus, audi nos.
Ut inimicos sanctae Ecclesiae humiliare digneris,
te rogamus, audi nos.

Terribilis Deus de sanctuario suo.
Deus Israhel ipse truderit virtutem
et fortitudinem plebi Suae.
Benedictus deus. Gloria patri.

With that the possessed FBI Agent bellowed black smoke that was drawn towards the floor where it left scorch marks in it's passing.

Henrickson was reeling. "I... I killed your deputies, slit their throats, I killed my partner..."

Sam looked at the still reeling Special Agent Henrickson. "You were possessed."

The Special Agent met Sam's eyes. "Possessed like... possessed?"

The younger Winchester brother nodded. "That's what it feels like. Now you know."

The older brother Dean then met the man's eyes. "I owe you the biggest 'I told you so.' ever."

Faith shook her head at Dean, and then spoke softly. "Scariest thing is that situations like this have happened enough that I have a speech ready."

Raising her voice Faith addressed the room. "Okay, you're freaking out, you're entitled. The world you woke up to isn't the one you'll go to bed to. I just want you to think of this... for thousands upon thousands of years everyone knew you should be afraid of the dark, that things like what you just saw were a real and present danger. Then about a thousand years ago we started to question all those millennia worth of wisdom, and now we've reached a point that anything over a century old is considered bullshit from barbarians... does that make sense to you?"

Dean couldn't help but comment quietly. "Nice speech."

She shrugged. "Like I said, practice."

As the Sheriff, his Deputy, Nancy, and Victor Henrickson contemplated those words Faith, Dean and Sam had to contemplate that the world of the supernatural was coming to assert it's presence in force.

Chapter 10.

They were still left to prepare for a siege, but the nature of their enemy left them making different preparations.

Dean's request for salt had gotten some raised eyebrows for those who were just new to the supernatural game, but Sam and Faith both knew that as a ancient symbol of purity it repelled impure things.

It was the source of the idea to throw salt over your shoulder to keep the devil from sneaking up on you.

Nancy had thought of the road salt they kept at the small sheriff's station for winter ice and snow typical to Colorado. They used it to make salt lines at all doors and windows to keep the demons from being able to enter. The lines being reinforced by devil's trap pentagrams to hold anything that got past.

It had been the Winchester brothers turn to be surprised when Faith had asked for any sort of epoxy to put under the lines to prevent their being accidentally broken. Unfortunately none was available so they settled for water in hopes that the dissolved crystals would dry to a consistent line under the large, but easier to disturb, salt mass.

Now it was Faith's turn to be impressed as after Dean had finished a run to his car in the impound lot out back for supplies as she made a similar run to her car out front for the same. In both of their cases getting back inside just heartbeats ahead of a billowing black cloud accented with purple lightening, a cloud of dozens of possessor demons.

A cloud that had dispersed to possess every able bodied adult in the surrounding area. Adults that now stood menacingly outside the building in a black-eyed horde.

He had first started to hand out charms to keep everyone from being possessed, but Faith had turned him down, revealing that slayer's were immune to possession. Possession, being turned into vampires, even overt attempts to control their will. While things could modify a slayer's mood the force that imbued their abilities made sure that only the slayer themselves could control those powers.

Faith however was focused on the shotgun shell now in her hand. "Rock salt, simple, but brilliant."

Dean smiled. "Won't kill the bastards, but will make them wish it did. You got a shot gun?"

For his part Dean was holding a double barrel that had been sawed down to maybe a foot all in length while his brother Sam was loading a pump action that had been cut down to maybe eighteen inches over all.

She nodded and reached into her own duffel bag to pull out a massive SPAS-15, at which Sam bit down a small laugh.

That had his older brother looking over. "Something funny?"

Sam was battling a rather pronounced grin. "Well... her's is bigger."

That had Dean looking defensive as he looked down to the tiny firearm in his hands, but before he could speak Faith did.

"Now Sam, it's not the size of the gun, but the skill of the shooter."

At first Dean nodded, but then paused. "Thanks, I think..."

Before he could say more though Faith interrupted. "That said I'm still the better shot so the point is moot."

That got a full scowl from Dean. "You are not the better shot!"

Looking straight at him she responded. "I am SO the better shot."

Obviously getting frustrated Dean replied. "You just met me. You've never seen me shoot. How can you know you are the better shot?"

Her reply was off-handed. "I've seen me shoot, and that's enough."

Sam was audibly laughing at this point and his brother didn't like it. "What now?"

Continuing to laugh Sam gestured helplessly with his free hand. "It's just... she's like a female version of you."

When Faith laughed at that Dean retreated saying "I'm going to go check on the others."

Checking that had Dean the first person when a possessed woman in blue jeans, gray t-shirt brown leather boots and jacket crashed through a window past a faltered salt line.

As Faith headed there however she heard Sam calling them off. "She's here to help us."

To which the woman replied. "You going to help me out?" Which was followed by "And they say chivalry is dead." as Sam used his knife to scrape a line breaking the devil's trap that was holding her.

Entering the room the blond haired woman's human looking blue eyes went immediately to Faith and she sounded amused as she looked to Sam. "Well I see we're moving up in the world."

Both brothers spoke in unison. "You know her?"

The demoness smiled. "Everyone knows Faith. The founder of the modern slayer line? Nothing? Jeeze boys her name's practically a swear word in Hell."

Faith's reply was deadpanned. "Stop, you'll make me blush. Expanding the short version I gave you earlier, there's more then one slayer now, and I am why. Now, short version of why Sammy here's not whispering sweet Latin nothings in her ear?"

Sam frowned as the demoness walked into the main area and everyone followed, speaking mostly to himself as he repaired the salt line on the window. "It's Sam."

In the squad room the demoness was speaking. "It's Ruby, and the short version is that Hell wasn't able to strip away ALL of my humanity. So much to my own self-loathing I feel compelled to help these two with the numerous messes they get themselves into."

Dean was all business. "How many are out there?"

Ruby came back with "Thirty at least and that's so far."

To which Dean replied. "Oh Good, thirty. Thirty hit men all gunning for us. Who sent them?"

Which lead to learning that not only were the demons here at the behest of the demoness Lilith, another big name, but that she apparently saw Sam as competition, which would require explaining from the brothers if they all survived this.

Knowing that often the best thing to do was simply remain quiet Faith did so. She was able to do so as Ruby was the one who told the brothers to worry about Sam not telling Dean that he had known Lilith was gunning for him later.

Ruby then confirmed that the brothers HAD the Colt as she said they would be needing it, but the next second Faith learned that the emphasis was on HAD as the Colt had been stolen.

The demoness then made a suggestion that stunned Faith as she revealed she had a spell that would save them by vaporizing every demon in a one mile radius. All it required was cutting the heart out of a virgin.

That the secretary Nancy was still a virgin actually made the spell possible which made the argument possible.

Ironically Nancy and Ruby were two of those arguing loudest for the spell even though it would cost them their lives. Which was a profound boost to Ruby's case that she had a definite desire to help Sam and Dean.

For Nancy it was the simple desire to save all the townspeople outside, Ruby confirming that the spell would blow the demons out of their bodies, and if their bodies were okay then the person would be okay.

Which made sense since Faith knew that a possessing demon could keep it's host together and moving in spite of tremendous damage, but as soon as the demon left the body, willingly or otherwise, the damage would still be there and have to be dealt with.

Dean and Henrickson were unsurprisingly the most opposed while Sam seemed on the fence.

Since Faith seemed on the fence Dean turned to her after his brother still seemed to be wavering. "What about you? Can you support this?"

Faith stepped towards Sam, taking out her knife. "Sure, as long as Sam does it."

Everyone looked at Faith in shock, even Ruby, as Faith continued, her voice soft, yet cold, her Slayer persona coming to the fore. "I've led people in battle Sam, and while I may not have the capacity to do everything they do I've kept one simple rule, I've never given an order I haven't been willing to carry out myself. So, can YOU cut Nancy's heart out?" She emphasized her words by holding her knife handle out to Sam even though he had his own.

It was obvious Sam might have been willing to give the order, but he wasn't as ready to carry it out. So when Dean proposed an alternative Sam was open to it.

Faith, Ruby and the brothers discussed it as Sam just returned from the station's radio room. With Ruby sitting Indian style on a desk as Faith and Dean stood.

Dean was the first to speak. "Get the equipment to work?"

Sam said "Yeah." and then said. "This is insane."

Ruby agreed as she said. "You win understatement of the year."

Dean tried to counter. "Look I get you think..."

Ruby didn't let him finish. "I know..."

Faith didn't let her finish. her voice now in it's full "Slayer" glacial register. "You including me in the mix?" That brought Ruby up short as Faith continued. "You telling me you don't think that I could do this myself and win? You three, Henrickson, even the Sheriff and his Deputy will be extras babe... we both know better then anyone else here I CAN make this work."

She stepped right next to desk Ruby was sitting on. "So here's what's going to happen. We're going to open those doors, we're going to let them in. Then Sam, Dean, Henrickson, and myself are going to fight them while the Sheriff and his Deputy, and Nancy seal them in with us with salt before we play Sam's recorded exorcism over the loud speaker. The only difference will be if I will have to be sure to hurl you out the last door to be sealed before it's shut back up."

Then looking and pointing up Slayer looked to the brothers. "But since they are after you two I want you two falling back to here where we will paint a devil's trap on the ceiling to keep them here once they chase you to this point.. It won't help you two, but will keep them in."

Looking back at Ruby, Slayer spoke one word. "So?"

Keeping her eyes human Ruby made eye contact. "You'll have me out before the exorcism starts?"

Faith rolled her head on her shoulders. "I'll have you out within the first three lines. I've never heard of one exorcised out that fast."

Ruby nodded, as much to herself as to Faith."Right, okay, not wanting deal with what was happening is what got me started in the first place so, okay."

Chapter 11.

Dean had a small scowl as he looked over at Ruby. "Not sure why she lent you the SPAS."

Ruby didn't bother looking at him as she replied. "Probably figured you were enough of a spaz already."

That got a larger scowl from Dean. "I mean, why won't she need a gun?"

The sigh of exasperation Ruby let out was obviously one she found herself using regularly with the elder Winchester brother. "Have you ever seen a slayer fight?"

As Dean shook his head Ruby got a smile on her face, her voice sounding excited. "Dean, they're naturals. While most martial artists train all their lives to make their moves a part of them for a slayer that is the case right off the bat. I mean jungle cats wish they could move so smooth."

As she kept speaking Ruby's eyes got a little glazed. "And this isn't just ANY slayer Dean. This is the woman who EARNED the right to use 'Slayer' as her code name. It isn't just that she managed to awaken the entire slayer line..."

The demoness took a deep breath and let it out. "Which between you and me is really REALLY amazing, but she managed to revolutionize hunting itself. Before her hunters either were organized, but stuck in the middle ages, or using modern tools, but going more for the small groups of psychopaths business model."

Realizing he, his father, his brother, and all their friends had just been insulted her protested with a "Hey."

Since both of them knew he didn't really have anything more to protest with she shrugged it off. "Faith brought together the modern tools and ancient ways, and while she does have the best toys..." The SPAS 15 was held up for emphasis. "They just make her that much better. She's already got the goods."

Blinking several times Dean took a closer look at the demoness. "Are you turned on?"

Ruby's jaw dropped, but no words came out, and the body she was possessing blushed.

Which caused Dean's jaw to drop. "You are! You're totally hot for her!"

She was finally able to get her jaw closed. "Can you blame me! Hot bod, forceful personality, and a propensity for violence, what isn't there for a woman to like?"

Dean's posture relaxed. "You know after seeing the way you were talking to that demoness Tami I shouldn't be surprised, but that doesn't mean Faith is..."

The responding smile Ruby got as Dean tried to protest brought him up short. "Gay? No, but her girlfriend is."

His first response was several blinks, before finally managing another single word reply. "Really?"

Her grin grew. "So sorry Dean, she can't be your girlfriend. She's already got one, a blond" She emphasized her words this time by running her left hand through her own blond hair while her right was holding the handle of the assault shot gun.

A few moments later Faith joined them. "All right Sam and I just finished painting devil's traps on the ceiling in the side rooms we discussed. Obviously shove them in if you can, but just as obviously you'll need to be careful Ruby. You're probably better off staying away from the side rooms entirely."

The demoness had bright eyes and a wide smile. "Ma'am yes Ma'am."

Slayer then looked over to Dean. "It was a good idea."

While his eyes had been a bit wide as he digested the information Ruby had just gave him he blinked and focused back on the situation at hand. "It's just play off of your idea to put up a giant devil's trap over the squad room. Then after you said you wouldn't need a gun and handed it to Ruby I thought it might help."

That got a smile from Faith. "It will."

He still looked unsure. "Are you sure you won't be needing a gun? I mean I'm sure Ruby would be able to handle hand to hand better then you. The damage part at least."

It was obvious Dean was just referring to the fact that he would rather see the demoness hurt then Faith, but it was Faith who shook her head. "Actually she wouldn't. Close quarters like this against opponents who won't be using guns I'm better off with my bare hands. So you two ready?" At their nods she gestured with a sideways nod of her head. "Then come on."

Ruby was the one to speak as Faith turned and led them to their positions. "Right behind you." This time emphasizing her words for Dean by obviously scoping out the slayer's ass.

Everyone took their positions, with Sam, Dean, and Henrickson manning the doors and scraping a line in the paint of the outer circle of the devil's trap to open them, and wiping a break in the salt lines.

The demon horde outside made no delay in charging the entries, and engaging the three men.

The sounds of their shotguns were quickly replaced by the sounds of close combat.

Ruby looked over to Faith. "Looks like it's going bad already."

Slayer shook her head, her voice now fully in the cool register it fell into in these situations. "The sounds of fighting means their still up and fighting. We knew most of this would be close combat. That said..."

That got a nod before she finished. "My knife only in emergencies or on those whose bodies are obviously dead already." A perfect example presented itself as a obviously dead body of a black former sheriff's deputy grabbed Sam Winchester from behind.

Her knife was up and siding into the wound cut by a possessed Henrickson when he had slain the human deputy.

Sam turned around to see the obviously dead body flash the orange light that showed the skeleton of the possessed body, which he knew was the demon possessing the host being killed.

"Thanks." Was his reply before his shotgun was up and shooting a possessed townsperson over Ruby's shoulder.

"Don't mention it." Was her reply as she shoved him aside to use the rapid firing of the SPAS 15 to take down three charging demons.

Faith was engaging her own attackers as she grabbed one by the throat and side armed him through the door of the sheriff's office.

An obviously dead deputy had the kneecap of his vessel shattered as Faith did a sideways stomp that sent him to the floor on a leg that now bent sideways rather then back and forth.

By the time the demon in the sheriff's office had stood and discovered itself in a devil's trap she sent another sailing into a glass divider between the squad room and the entry way where the creature found itself in another devil's trap.

Two attacked her at once, leaving Faith to block one with one hand and the other with the other. Her solution was to grab each one by their throats and slam them together. Part of her winced at the impact, they were both living people possessed by demons, but if she was going to save them she would have to hurt them enough to keep them still long enough to be exorcised.

Her two attackers were hurled right into the one in the entryway, leaving all three locked in a devil's trap.

Over her shoulder she saw Henrickson dropped to the floor under another obviously dead demonic host, this one the body of his former partner Calvin Reidy.

Guessing the sight threw Henrickson off Faith didn't have such an attachment as she pulled the dead body off of him and shouted. "Ruby!"

The demoness obviously heard, and understood as Faith hurled the body at her, and it was caught on the woman's demon killing knife.

Another orange flash and another demon dropped to the floor dead as Demon Winchester was pushed back to the squad room.

His response was to break out a canteen filled with holy water and start splashing it in every direction.

Ruby shouted her own "Hey!" as some obviously landed on her, but for Slayer it was the sign that it was time for the demoness to leave.

Stepping to Ruby she grabbed the demoness at the collar and the crotch. "Bye Ruby."

That got a nod of understanding. "Bye Faith."

They had worked the plan out in detail, and she knew where the Sheriff, his Deputy as well as the Secretary Nancy would start salting doors to trap the demons inside, and where they would finish.

Turning to face what Faith knew would be the last door she hurled Ruby at it full force, and it came partially off it's hinges as she crashed through it.

No time was wasted by Ruby as she was already on her feet shouting to the Deputy. "Hurry up! Finish the line!"

Seeing it finished Faith looked back to the brothers where the combat had stalled temporarily as the canteens of holy water had been spent.

A red headed woman in flannels with the black eyes of the demonically possessed stepped forward and held out her hand, obviously expecting her powers to manifest.

The brothers however were aware of the circumference of the devil's trap and were outside it while the possessed woman was inside, so the demon's expectations were not met.

Faith shouted. "Henrickson now!"

The FBI agent ran to the dispatch office and hit play on a tape recorder plugged into the system.

The recorded voice of Sam Winchester came over the PA system.

Exorcizamus te, omnis immundus spiritus

omnis satanica potestas, omnis incursio
infernalis adversarii, omnis legio,
omnis congregatio et secta diabolica.
Ergo draco maledicte
et omnis legio diabolica
adjuramus te.
Cessa decipere humanas creaturas,
eisque aeternae Perditionis venenum propinare.

The demons that had been so focused on attack were suddenly focused on flight. At least those who thought they could flee ran for the doors only to pound on them futilely, unable to cross the salt lines on the outside of the door.

Vade, Satana, inventor et magister
omnis fallaciae, hostis humanae salutis.
Humiliare sub potenti manu dei,
contremisce et effuge, invocato a
nobis sancto et terribili nomine,
quem inferi tremunt.

Their struggles became wailing, flailing in ways that the human hosts didn't normally move. Not enough to hurt the, bodies, but enough to make it obvious the demons inside where being damaged.

Ab insidiis diaboli, libera nos, Domine.
Ut Ecclesiam tuam secura tibi facias libertate servire
te rogamus, audi nos.
Ut inimicos sanctae Ecclesiae humiliare digneris,
te rogamus, audi nos.

Terribilis Deus de sanctuario suo.
Deus Israhel ipse truderit virtutem
et fortitudinem plebi Suae.
Benedictus deus. Gloria patri.

Then in unison the demons bellowed black smoke, which reformed into the demonic cloud that had chased Dean and Faith back into the station when the siege had first started, but with no where to go the cloud circled the ceiling.

Before exploding into flame and then vanishing to nothing.

Chapter 12.

To her credit the secretary Nancy was the first to look through the remnants of the door Ruby had ruined with her passing.

"Is it over?"

Henrickson was the closest to them, and he was the one who nodded and led in Nancy, the Sheriff, and his Deputy.

At the squad room Nancy spoke again. "Did we win?"

Faith didn't hide her grin as she nodded. As Nancy smiled Faith had a question of her own. "Ruby?"

The Sheriff was the one to answer. "Gone."

Dean followed that with. "She does that."

There was no surprise on Faith's tired features. "I figured."

Then she walked over and picked up a land line phone. Checking it for a dial tone she entered a lone string of numbers, and then a couple or shorter strings before she started speaking. "Slayer, I'm all right, and I have the Winchesters, they are all right as well. I'm going to need a several score of cleaners here as I have a good thirty possessed townspeople and half a dozen casualties. One was FBI's Deputy Director Groves, but it's looking like he was dead and a demon was riding him around for a while before coming here so we'll want to check their records for his actions over at least the past six months."

"Okay, I'll be waiting for him. Once he's here I want to have a video conference debrief with us and the Winchesters. All right." With a last nod Faith hung up and turned back to the rest.

"I have back up on the way. We already had people at Rivergrove Oregon..."

Sam interrupted. "Rivergrove?"

Her first reply was a long exhale before Faith looked at the two brothers and spoke quietly. "We found a credit card transaction we thought was yours. When we were fanning out to search the area we found Rivergrove utterly devoid of people."

Henrickson finally had to comment. "What do you mean 'devoid' of people?"

She met the FBI agent's eyes. "I mean exactly what I said. 'Devoid of people.' No people, no bodies, no signs of a struggle, and no signs of where they went or what had happened to them. Just the word Croatoan carved into a street post."

Dean jumped in at that. "There's no way. We were there, we put up a struggle."

She didn't contradict him. "I'm sure you did, but by the time we got there any signs you may have left had been replaced... actually if you two can go over your actions step by step as best as you can remember we might be able to use it to get a better picture of who did the clean up."

It was obvious Henrickson made the connection. "Croatoan?"

Slayer nodded. "We've started calling it Roanoke 2.0."

The look on the black man's face showed he didn't like the name. "A little blase don't you think?"

Faith shrugged. "Humor is our typical defense mechanism against the horrific, and doing what we do we've gotten down right hilarious."

Sam was shaking his head. "That's impossible. We left three survivors, the town Doctor, a retired Marine, and a guy named Duane Tanner"

Faith's voice was kind as she replied. "We found no one Sam, no trace. I'm sorry to say, but odds are whoever did the clean up made them part of that process."

When the brothers lapsed into silence at that Faith turned to the rest. "As I said, I have back up en route, but right now we need to contain this situation, and yes that does mean cover up. The world can barely deal with the idea of people on the other side of the world wanting to kill them over religious differences and/or oil deposits, and the disposition there of. People are not wired to handle the knowledge that Hell tried to bubble up and consume the Monument Colorado sheriff's station."

Henrickson moved to support her. "She's absolutely right. Looking back I can see a hundred different ways I should have figured out SOMETHING was up with these two, but didn't believe it for a minute until one of those clouds of black smoke showed up and shoved itself down my throat. The world isn't ready, and it's up to us to protect them from what they aren't ready to know."

That got the local LEO's and even the secretary off to coral their friends and neighbors while Faith stepped close to Henrickson, and spoke to him quietly. "Not bad."

He didn't agree as he shook his head. "I SHOULD have realized something was up. I get it now why you were so ready to kick my ass when you got here."

She showed him her dimpled smile as she spoke. "I was frustrated, partially because those two ARE damn hard to track, but also because when we first got the tip to find the Winchesters we spent three months looking for magick guns."

For a brief second Henrickson was confused, but then laughed softly, making a lever action rifle motion with his hands as Faith nodded. "So don't feel TOO bad. You had your mind focused on the world you knew."

This time it was Henrickson bringing his eyes to Faith's. "Emphasis on the past tense. You do what you do at least semi-officially, and I want in."

At first Faith pursed her lips, but then she smiled. "We always need good people. Right now help with the cover up. When my back up get's here you will be working with Boss Man."

That got a half smile out of the fed. "Boss Man?"

Slayer shrugged. "It's his handle. Like how 'Slayer' is mine. If you do want to sign on with us eventually you'll need one too."

Walking up Dean had a smirk. "I could suggest a few..." As both smiled at him he extended his hand to Faith. "Thanks for the help Faith, but me and my brother figure we better be getting out of here."

Faith stared at his hand. "You're not going anywhere Dean. I meant what I said on the phone with my people. We NEED a sit down. You help us. We'll help you."

Dean had a silent conference by meeting his eyes with his brother's, who nodded, before Dean then nodded. "Okay, we'll have a sit down and see where it goes."

Henrickson then spoke. "That will make it a little harder for me to kill you, but I think I can manage." When Faith and the brothers looked at him curiously he smiled. "Sam and Dean Winchester were in the helicopter when it exploded, can't even identify them via dental records. RIP fellas."

Sam and Dean were smiling at what Henrickson was offering, as Faith nodded her appreciation. "That's a good idea. I'll also have my people alter their official finger print and dental records to John Does we already know are dead."

The FBI Agent smiled ruefully. "I'm assuming you'll want me to help you tamper with the evidence?"

She shrugged. "If you want. We already had plans to do that in place." That got her giving him a full grin.

He was able to laugh, but then had another question. "So what IS a slayer exactly?"

Faith rolled her neck. "Hunters, hunter, predators, predator. I can say more later, but we need to plan for our back up to arrive."

Gibbs arrived no long after, and from the knocking and pinging of his vehicles engine she guessed that the man had floored it there as soon as the call to Brongola had cut out. Almost diving out of the car he settled when he saw Faith alive and well. Though she knew he would have been called after she reported in she knew just as well he wasn't happy until he saw her with his own eyes.

When she made sure to address him by his code name of "Boss Man" he realized that was what he should only go by at this juncture.

So Boss Man quickly dispatched the people he had brought with him from Rivergrove to contain the scene while back up arrived from the Lock to clean up the aftermath in both towns.

He actually stuck with that, knowing that he would be filled in on the results of their sit down at a time when they didn't have to worry about the aftermath of a mass possession. Henrickson stayed with him, and Slayer found herself thinking the man would soon be joining the armed investigators of the Lock as Gibbs seemed to be already taking the man under his wing... at least if the African American's harried expression was any indication.

It had Faith smiling at her position at the head of the table in the conference room in the sheriff's office.

Chapter 13. (This chapter is primarily for those coming into the series from Supernatural fandom.)

Faith's laptop was wired into the large screen TV at the front of the room, that had miraculously survived the siege, and it soon held the image of Willow Rosenberg sitting at her terminal, but Faith addressed her as Oracle.

"All right Oracle, we ready?"

Willow smiled. "Yep, I'm all you get right now. Beef Stick is heading to Rivergrove Oregon to take over there while Witch Woman is putting together your clean up teams so I'm supposed to take REALLY good notes, and provide all the info you need. So Hi Sam, Hi Dean! My name is Oracle, and no it's not the mane my parents gave me, but it will do till we get to know each other."

Dean was smiling quite widely. "I'll be looking forward to it."

Sam rolled his eyes at his brother, but smiled as the behavior was hardly unexpected.

Faith started speaking in earnest. "Okay guys, we want to start a good working relationship here so I'm going to start putting our cards on the table first, and I'm counting on you guys to fill in as we go along okay?"

That got a pair of reluctant nods from the two men.

"Five months ago a terrorist mastermind named Ari Haswari was brought back from the dead. He had a history with one of my action teams before they were brought in as one of my action teams. He had actually been their most fearsome enemy, and now that they were facing those who COULD bring people back from the dead..."

Dean cut in. "They did."

She nodded. "He first taunted us to draw us out, and it worked. He got us to split up where he then launched attacks against NCIS here in the states and the Mossad in Israel while we were there."

Sam was the one to interrupt next. "I read about that. The name the 'Returned Martyr' sounded like it might have been a case, but with the international ramifications it seemed a bit big for us."

Her nod was delivered with a smile. "It was, it covered two continents and squads of hunters with military armaments as well as goodies like air support at one point. Now if you really did your homework around the same time there was a terrorist attack at a small National Guard armory in California. Which was us."

That caught Dean by surprise. "You sure you want to tell us the location of your home base?"

A shrug was his first answer, but Faith quickly explained. "First, we were already attacked. So the bad guys already know where we are. Second, you guys have kept the secret of the supernatural all your lives so I can't see you deciding to spoil it now, but the third is that Henrickson has just stuck his neck out to have you two declared dead. I'm HOPING you aren't even capable of the kind of dick move it would take to not even make it twenty four hours before you gave him reason to regret it."

He couldn't help but nod at all of her points as she added. "And I'm really hoping we can work together, but that will be explained as the story continues. In his attack on our base he managed to kidnap my partner, our head administrator."

That had Dean interrupting again, his gaze very curious. "Partner' as in..."

Faith had her full dimpled smile as she replied, but it was lit by her bright eyes. "As in life partner, in all the rainbow flag waving ways you can think of."

Dean's reply was instant. "I can think of a lot."

As was hers. "Not as many as we have."

Oracle then interrupted. "Okay! Can we at least TRY to keep this PG-13? I don't want to have to check id's when I share this briefing with the others."

That got Faith's throaty laugh before she continued. "We knew he had been dead because one of our people killed him the first time around, and we assumed he had went to Hell because he had been such a bastard. So one of our action team magicians was able to make an entreaty to the Goddess Isis."

That had Sam making another interruption. "They were able to make an entreaty of the Egyptian Goddess of Magick?"

A quick nod. "Short version, yep! Long version is just that, and is not PG-13 so we'll skip it for now and say that she got Isis to guide her soul to Hell and back, but when she was there she met someone special in the Circle of Wrath... a damned soul named John that impressed her with being amongst the damned, but still keeping his humanity."

The two brothers looked at each other, and Faith confirmed their suspicions with a nod. "She confirmed he was John Winchester when she saw his picture. He confirmed she had to travel further, and she helped him to the start of the circle so he could travel upward."

Sam made a confirmation, as much to himself as anything. "That would have been around the time the Devil's Gate opened in Wyoming."

Faith gave her own nod. "We figured you guys might have been there, but we're getting ahead of ourselves."

She traveled lower, all the way to to the lowest circle, to Judecca in Cocytus."

Which had Sam interrupting again. "So Dante had it right?"

The shrug was uncertain as Faith gave it. "From the way it was explained the mind of the observer plays a big part in determining how they perceive it, but in Cocytus she was confronted by a yellow eyed demon she identified as Azael.

That had the two brothers sitting forward in their seats. "She fled, but the demon chased her until it was distracted by a wave of souls making for an open doorway, yeah the Devil's Gate. Suddenly it had better places to be. I'm guessing an urgent appointment to get scragged by..."

Dean held up his hand, and Faith nodded. "Good shot."

His voice was solemn. "There was a lot behind it. He killed our Mom."

Her soft brown eyes looked sympathetically to Sam, and he answered the question before she could ask it. "And my girlfriend Jess."

Her voice was soft, sympathetic. "We knew she died in the same fashion right before you dropped out of Stanford and started traveling with your brother."

Bitterness crept into Sam's voice. "He wanted me hunting again, honing my skills, Jess was an obstacle so he removed her."

Her voice was still soft as she continued. "Now able to leave normally she still flew over the wave of souls fighting their way to the door. She picked your Dad up, and cut him to the head of the line, and he told her the doorway was in Wyoming."

Both brothers had again perked up at mention of their deceased father, but it was the eldest who spoke. "She helped out Dad get out?" Faith nodded, and he continued. "Thank her for us please."

She smiled softly. "Play ball guys and you'll be able to thank her yourself."

Something passed between the brothers, but they seemed ready to let Faith finish.

"Before we could take care of the Devil's Gate we had to get my girl back and take care of the Ari issue. The short version is we got both her and him alive. When we interrogated him we learned that he had taken Tara to MAKE us catch him. That he couldn't have just surrendered to us, even though he wanted to."

"You see he was what is called a Penitent. Most souls in Hell aren't sorry they did what they did to get there. They are just sorry they are being punished for it. Some souls, like his apparently, can find it within themselves to truly regret what they've done."

Dean's voice had a note of desperation to it. "Does it help?"

Faith shook her head gently. "We don't know. We only know of the one, and have had rumors of a second, but he died passing us a vital piece of information. Information that he knew would kill him to reveal. Azazel had apparently been ready for a betrayal so he had wired Ari to burn from the inside out if he betrayed him."

"Ari did it anyway, he died to tell us that we needed to 'Find the Winchester's. That we would decided it with the Winchesters.' And THAT is why we are willing to be as upfront as we are, because not only did he give his life to tell us to find you, but he consigned himself back to Hell to do so."

As the stunned Winchester brothers took that in Faith kept right on going. "Upon further research we also believe we have figured out Azazel's big game plan, or at least part of it. His resurrection of Haswari fulfilled the conditions to unlock number seventy eight of the six hundred and sixty six locks on Lucifer's Cage."

Sam said it first. "Lucifer."

Dean followed with. "The Devil."

Faith however picked right back up. "Which could also match up with something I heard you two talking about with Ruby. Lilith, we've been studying up on Lucifer, and we know that when he rebelled against God he had first tried to use her as an object lesson on why he shouldn't have to bow to humanity... if they could be so thoroughly corrupted.... blah, blah blah."

Oracle cut in then. "Wait. You have a confirmed sighting of Lilith?"

Slayer shook her head. "We have intel that says Lilith sent the wave of demons that attacked the station trying to get the brothers."

That had the red head nodding as she typed while Faith continued.

"Investigating in Wyoming we found the Devil's Gate, a body of an AWOL solder named Jake Talley, and the body of a janitor from the hospital where your Dad was pronounced dead. Which we confirmed held the essence of Azazel when he was killed, we had already assumed it was done with the Colt, and we figured that the Colt is the key to the Devil's Gate as well?"

The brothers nodded in unison as Faith finally finished.

"After that it was all about finding the Winchesters and now here I am. So now boys, I showed you mine. Now it's time to show me yours."

Chapter 14. (And this is for those who have followed my series and need background on Supernatural.)

The brothers didn't seem to need to have a conference, verbal or otherwise, with the former law student Sam Winchester taking up the narrative of their story, though he had to work up to speaking.

"You already know about our Mom, but the reason Azazel killed her is because she came across him when he was feeding demon blood to me when I six months old."

It was Oracle's turn to interrupt. "Our autopsies on Talley and Azazel's host found some blood borne similarities. It was like Talley's blood had demonic traces without a demon possessing him."

Dean looked like he wanted to interrupt earlier, but allowed Oracle to interrupt first. "How do you know that?"

Sam looked sickened. "When I fell asleep in Cold Oak, Azazel entered my dream and showed me."

It was obvious Dean wanted to comment further, but Sam then focused on Faith. "Jake and I were both his 'special' kids. I can give you a full list of names, but as far as I know I'm the only one still alive. Azazel's blood gave us powers. I had visions, Jake was super strong, there were others, things like mind control and telekinesis."

Oracle cut in again. "Jake's autopsy showed some structural enhancements to his bones and muscles, presumably to withstand the strain his super strength would put on them. It wasn't enough to come up on a physical if you didn't know what to look for... which must have been how Jake passed his enlistment physical, but I'm guessing our people would probably like to give Sam a physical."

It was obvious Sam was skeptical about being a lab rat, and Faith's voice was understanding. "I know it's probably not the funnest of ideas Sam, but if we're going to figure out what exactly Azazel was working on and how his 'special kids' fit in with freeing Lucifer we'll need all the intel we can get."

He reluctantly agreed by nodding his head, even though he still had a slightly slick expression as he continued. "Azazel said we were going to lead his army, but now I'm guessing that might have been a slight lie."

Dean then added. "I met a demon named Casey... or at least the poor girl she possessed was named Casey, but she talked about Lucifer like a god, the demon's god, and Azazel was putting the army together for him."

Sam's discomfort was obvious as he started the narrative back up. "We were hunting him, but in the process Dad, Dean and I were hurt pretty bad, with Dean almost dead. Dad made a deal, probably with Azazel himself since you said the body he died in was a janitor from the hospital Dad died in, and that's how Dad wound up in Hell. The Colt, and the one bullet we had left for it turned out to be part of the deal."

"We kept hunting him until he kidnapped me, taking me and the other kids to Cold Oak South Dakota."

Oracle interrupted again. "The Hauntedest Place on Earth."

He sighed. "That's the one. Until this point we had been hearing that we were supposed to be soldiers in an army. It was there we learned he was looking for a leader, and he would pick it by picking the survivor."

Seeing the looks over everyone's faces Sam first looked to Dean. "And no, I wasn't the winner, Jake was. Which is why we're willing to play ball with you guys. Dean has a problem."

Faith frowned. "And I'm guessing it's not the kind that can be fixed by having our medics prep a couple shots of penicillin?"

Dean gave a partial answer. "If only."

It was Sam who gave the full answer. "Jake killed me, and Dean sold his soul to bring me back."

Oracle interrupted another time, but now her voice was gentler, kinder. "What terms did you get?"

"A year." Was Dean's answer. "Of which I am about six months into."

Oracle didn't need Faith to give the order. "I'll pass it on to our researchers right now, and once we're done I'll hit the library myself."

Faith nodded, but didn't bother to speak as Sam was obviously again ready to.

"We were hunting both Azazel and Jake. We found Jake first where Azazel had given him the Colt to open the Devil's Gate. I killed Jake, our friends shut the Gate, Dean killed Azazel with our Dad's help. Ever since then we've been trying to find a way to save Dean from his deal."

Another nod from Faith. "Roanoke 2.0?"

Dean answered that. "A virus, we figured it was a sort of demonic germ warfare as it manifests as extreme violence towards the uninfected where they either seek to infect them with blood contact or simply kill em. Once they've turned you can find sulfur in the blood, but once all the infected people had vanished the blood samples that had been showing sulfur no longer did... and Sam was exposed, but turned out immune"

Oracle was again the one to speak. "Probably a blood based pathogen that only goes active with a mystic energy field... I'll add it to the field notes for our teams in Rivergrove."

Faith followed that. with "And I want our water and food supplies getting blessings. I don't know if drinking holy water will help, but I'm thinking it won't hurt."

As Oracle nodded Faith had another question. "The Colt?"

Both brothers looked embarrassed, but Sam said the words. "It's like we told Ruby, it was stolen."

Dean added details. "English chick, Bella Talbot, a thief who focuses on stealing occult objects and sells them to the highest bidder. Hey! You guys really want to help, get us a lead on her."

Even over the digital connection Faith and Willow's eyes met in silent communication that Faith then voiced. "She hot?"

Sam's reply was instant. "Yeah!"

The older brother squinted at the younger before nodding reluctantly. "Hot enough I guess."

Oracle was typing. "Black Magick Woman is back from investigating the Winchester history so I can hail her if you want."

Faith was grinning. "Might as well, but Oracle?" Oracle looked up. "Voice only." Oracle grinned and nodded as she typed and they could tell a voice channel had been added to the video conference.

"Yeah?" Was the sleepy reply.

A grin was on Faith's face. "Sorry to wake you Black Magick Woman."

Black Magick Woman's voice was still sleepy as she replied. "Well I'm not the only one you should apologize to."

Now Faith had graduated to chuckling while Sam's eyes had gotten wide and Dean's smile was rapidly approaching painful as Faith spoke. "Two... three... four?"

The sleepy voiced woman came right back. "You know I try to keep it under three, over four becomes a logistical nightmare and I'll just break it down to smaller groups at that point."

Running her fingers through her hair Faith continued. "Okay, do they have high clearance levels?"

Black Magick Woman took a moment to contemplate that. "Well one is the more fem of the twins... Ow! Hey! Biting me will not change that fact. You are still plenty tough, but your sister IS more butch! The other got her clearance because you needed a nurse who could have you and other high rankers under anesthetic without worrying what you might say when out."

Slayer was able to translate that to Candi Hansen, one of Tara's new personal escorts after Galen's passing. While both accompanied her off base, only one was considered necessary when on, and neither if Faith was there to watch over her.

Which left the other to be Doctor Samantha Finn's assistant Nurse Cameron Baum, so Faith new they were both good and spoke freely. "So I'm guessing I shouldn't have Oracle open a video link."

Dean tried to answer that question, but his voice cracked because his throat seemed mysteriously dry. "I... I mean it's okay. We're all adults here."

Faith knew Lex would tease with her answer so she didn't bother letting the woman actually reply. "Okay, we are looking for one Bella Talbot. You know her?"

Black Magick Woman's reply was instant and showed she truly knew Bella. "What she steal?"

Faith leaned back in her chair as she replied. "The Colt."

Black Magick Woman came back with. "The Colt, Samuel Colt's Colt?" At Faith's muttered umm humm Lex added. "That's high ticket, but we had a thing a while back and I'm pretty sure I can get her to let me bid as long as it hasn't already been sold."

Sam interrupted. "A thing? What kind of thing?"

The woman's reply was nonchalant. "A fling, about six months, maybe five years ago. She tried to steal from my family and failed. So she was given the option of dying right then and there or undertaking three suicide missions at my families behest. Me being the only non-rabid member of my family we spent time together."

Dean coughed out the word. "Time?"

To which the reply was laughed out. "Time."

Seeing the boys were getting a little culture shock between their world and the world she and Tara had built at the Lock she figured it was time to let them calm down. "Get on her!"

To which Black Magick Woman continued to laugh out a reply. "Ma'am yes Ma'am!"

She closed the voice channel and then told Oracle she would be flying the brothers in.

Dean's protest was instant. "What? Fly? No way? We'll meet you there. We'll drive."

She shook her head. "No can do Dean. I'm glad you two are willing to play ball, but... if you're going to drive I'm going to come with you."

That got a shrug out of Dean. "Okay."

A few more words were spoken to Oracle before Faith followed the brothers to the impound lot out back.

Faith's voice was awed. "Oh Dean, I understand completely. She's beautiful."

That had Dean beaming with pride. "Ain't she though?"

Reaching out Faith ran a hand over the back left side of the black 1967 Chevrolet Impala. "Absolutely gorgeous."

Sam was rolling his eyes as he looked to his brother. "See? A female version of you!"

Dean just looked uncomfortable as just how much Faith liked his car.

Unnoticed by Dean, Faith saw his reaction and decided to tease him a bit so she started speaking to the car. Looking disparagingly at the mud on the bumpers and tires Faith shook her head. "Oh you poor thing! Isn't he taking care of you?"

That had Dean giving Sam another look of confusion and discomfort at Faith's interest in his car.

The look got worse as Faith's next line and even Sam had to blink as she said "What? You've never had a woman behind your wheel, but you're curious?"

The brothers were saved by the arrival of Boss Man. "You sure I should be seeing this Slayer?"

That got him a grin from the woman in question. "What? I'd be married to your niece if the law allowed it."

Gibbs nodded. "Exactly. What would she say if she saw you making eyes at another woman like that?"

Faith shrugged. "Hopefully she'd be open to my suggestion of sex in the back seat."

Dean's upset expression of upset confusion turned to simple confusion as he seemed not to know if he really had a problem with Faith's last idea.

Boss Man was focused on business. "So I'm guessing you'll be driving this home with the boys?" She nodded, and he replied. "I'll see you there once we have these messes cleaned up."

She nodded. "Good." She ran a caressing hand over the hood. "We want to be alone."

Behind them the sound of Sam punching Dean in the shoulder and telling him to "Shut up!" was heard.

Chapter 15.

"So it was a REAL working rabbit's foot?" Was said with a laugh by Faith.

She had actually jumped in the back seat of her own volition. She knew that the Winchester brothers were effectively a unit of two, and while she may be traveling with them to make sure they make it to the Lock intact she was still effectively the FNG... Fucking New Girl.

So she let Dean drive, and Sam ride passenger seat, while she stretched out in back, making sure to make the notion sound as obscene as possible to mess with Dean.

Ever since then they had been sharing war stories as they drove. At this point they were retelling the tale of when the guys had first met Bella Talbot.

Sam was laughing as well, time seeming to have healed his wounds. "And it was awesome to start. Dean had me scratching off lotto tickets, and we were up several thousand."

Faith couldn't help but comment. "Makes sense. You guys are one hundred percent out of pocket. Might as well take advantage."

Dean was smiling in the drivers seat. "Thank you! See? We should have hit the nearest casino while we were at it."

Sam shrugged off his brothers idea. "I found a gold watch, and we won free lifetime meals... which was where we first met Bella, and it started to go wrong."

As he continued all three were able to laugh at Sam's misfortune. Bella had posed as a waitress, and spilled coffee on Sam to distract him as she stole the rabbits foot. The reason things went wrong was because as long as you had the foot in your possession you had phenomenal luck, but as soon as you lost it your luck became fatally bad, and it was enchanted to make sure that sooner or later you lost it.

After loosing it personally Sam could barely take three steps before falling on his face, stepping in gum, or loosing his shoe down a drain when trying to use it to scrape off the gum.

Dean then took over the telling of the story. "So after we learned where to find Bella I parked Sammy at a hotel to sit tight while I got the rabbit's foot back. Of course I end up picking the hotel where a pair of assholes sent by an even bigger asshole named Gordon Walker... we'll tell you about him next HAPPEN to decide to stay while hunting us. Tell her what happened next Sam."

Sam was obviously embarrassed, but had no trouble telling how Dean had sat him on a chair in the middle of the room, ordering him not to touch anything or even move a muscle, and Sam was doing just that as the AC turned itself on... and burst into flames.

Which Sam was able to put out, but not without tearing down the drapes right as hunters tracking them passed by the window, as he knocked himself unconscious.

It had worked out as they figured out how to destroy it, and while Bella had nearly stopped them from Dean had the bright idea to toss it to her and trust her reflexes to catch it with her hand, leaving her in possession of the rabbit's foot (it needed skin contact) and needing to destroy it as much as they did.

The three were still laughing as they decided to stop for the night at a motel.

Reaching the desk Dean had a smirk as he questioned Faith. "What do you think? We could probably fit a double as long as we slept boy, girl, boy."

Faith looked at him and he shrugged. "What? I don't bite?"

She continued to look at him. "And that's why it would never work between us Dean, I do."

Turning to the clerk she didn't need to see Dean's continuing grin. "Two rooms, adjoining if possible, I want a double, I'm going to GUESS they'll want two singles, and I'm a fairly light sleeper, so if you could put us on the far end I'd appreciate it."

They had offered to pay, but Faith had one of the company cards, which she could use without fear of being arrested for credit card fraud, so she took care of the rooms herself.

As they left the office Dean had to ask. "What was with the putting us on the end deal?"

"Less traffic means anyone approaching the rooms is that much more noticeable. One of my first lessons for field work was to always assume I'm being hunted." She had taken keys for both rooms, and the brothers were left to follow her as she scanned them both.

It was Sam's turn to question. ""Now what are you doing?"

That got him a smile from Faith. "Looking for bugs, hex bags, cameras, whatever."

Dean interrupted. "Why? There's no way anyone looking for us would have had any idea we would have stopped, or that we would have gotten these rooms."

She met his eyes. "They could have seen our route out of town and stationed people at motels along the way. If they did so the guy could have prepped all the rooms, or just only given us keys to rooms that had been prepped. Not to mention we are talking enemies where magick is a factor, but even if none of that happened it's all worth it. Even if only one time out of a thousand actually turns up something being able to survive that thousandth time makes it all worth while. Still, we're good. G'night guys." With that she tossed them their keys and left.

In her own room her guns had been cleaned first because she could function dirty better then they could. She made sure to pay extra special attention to the SPAS as anyone who had spent any time in Northern climates in winter could tell you about the effects of salt on metal.

Once they were clean she was next, then padding naked from the shower she put in her ear piece and called Tara's personal number.

"Hey Babe."

Faith smiled at Tara's voice as the blonde spoke. "Hi Sweetie. How's it going? Everyone's been dispatched to where they need to be, and I'm finally getting a chance to get some sleep."

That made a wicked grin appear on Faith's face. "So you're in our quarters?"

Tara knew Faith better then anyone and heard something in the tone. "Yes? Why?"

Quickly changing the topic Faith continued. "No reason."

The change however didn't convince Tara. "Okay... so how are the boys?"

"Fine. I secured the rooms before getting myself cleaned up, hopping out of the shower, and calling my girl to wish her a good night."

Now Tara was realizing what Faith's tone had meant and her face twisted to it's half smile. "Right out of the shower?"

Her darling slayer tried to make her reply sound casual. "Well I put my hands free ear piece in."

That made Tara's pulse pick up as she mirrored Faith's words. "Hands free?" To which Faith gave a sly sounding umm hummm. Tara then said. "So you're sitting there talking to me wearing nothing but your hand's free ear piece?"

Faith corrected. "Laying. Laying here, on the bed."

Tara bit her bottom lip as she sat down on the edge of their bed, her thighs pressing together at the feeling of warmth pooling there.

Another wave of heat rushed through her at Faith's next words. "So, what are you wearing?"

Her voice was shaky with passion as she replied. "A dress, bra, and panties... hold on." Tara HAD been on her phone's hand set, but she quickly yanked her dress off while grabbing her own hands free ear piece. "Now, bra, panties, and my hands free ear piece."

Faith's sexy purr came back. "That's my girl." Tara didn't try to hide the whimper the tone coaxed out of her, and Faith gave a responding groan. "So tell me Tar... are those panties wet?"

Tara's reply was breathless. "Getting there."

While Faith still had her sexy purr Tara could hear the aroused tremble to it. "And that bra... are those hard nipples poking against the fabric?"

That had Tara softly moaning out her reply of "Yes".

"Oh fuck." Was more in Faith's normal tone of voice.

Which had Tara saying more clearly. "Nah uh Darling. You can only do it if I am, we'll do it together."

"Okay Baby." Was Faith's reply, but it was followed by the sounds that Tara knew was Faith licking her fingers clean after they had been in what Tara had no doubt was a dripping wet pussy.

Faith's voice then came back. "Take off the bra Gorgeous, then play with those nipples. Pinch them and pull on them like I am."

Her eyes closed of their own accord, and there in her minds eye she could see it, Faith, naked, her hands on those firm, perky, breasts, cupping them, massaging them, squeezing the firm mounds before pulling at the hard, pebbled nipples.

Causing the breathy gasps and soft moans that were coming to Tara over her earpiece.

It had her doing much the same after reaching to unfasten her bra and toss it away. Then laying back she cupped her own generous bust feeling the warm flesh in her soft palms. She first played with the entirety of her breasts, even as her nipples were practically screaming for attention, but Faith had taught her to enjoy the tease, "enjoy the ride".

Once her hands found her nipples Tara let out a more audible whimper, and Faith recognized it. "You're playing with your nipples now aren't you?"

"Yes!" Was Tara's moaned reply. Which was soon followed by "I need to take my panties off now Love, I need to touch myself."

At first Faith could only reply with a loud moan, but soon words followed. "Do it Babe! I'm going to too. I need to do it too."

With that Tara arched her hips up off the bed as her mind's eye provided the image of her darling Faith, already naked, legs spread wide, her left hand reaching to her clit where her fingers would be make firm, fast circles while Faith would have the first two fingers of her right moving to slide in and out of her pussy.

The image was locked in Tara's head as her own fingers found their way to the liquid warmth pooled between her thighs.

First she dipped the first two fingers of her own right hand deep before bringing them to her own mouth and licking them clean. She would prefer to be tasting Faith on her lips, but she wanted to have the taste of a woman's arousal in her mouth as she pleasured herself.

Faith recognized that sound too. "Oh fuck Babe! You just tasted yourself didn't you!" Faith grunted and Tara could hear Faith deliberately licking her own juices off her own fingers.

"Yes Love. I would prefer to have your taste in my mouth, but I wanted to be tasting pussy while I make myself cum." That got a loud groan from Faith, she loved it when Tara talked dirty.

It was obvious both women were now masturbating in earnest. The tease was done, and they were both past the point of no return, but they were still talking to each other.

"Damn Baby! Miss you!" Came from Faith.

"Miss you!" Was panted by Tara. Her fingers of her right hand pressing down hard on her clit as her hand slid down over her hairless mound so she could penetrate herself with her fingers all the way in, before pulling back all the way out. Moving from her fingers rubbing her clit to her palm, and then back again.

At this point Tara didn't need slayer hearing to pick up the wet sounds of her darling's fingering over the line.

"Love you!" Was then mixed in the pants and moans coming from Faith's lips. In Tara's minds eye Faith had found her rhythm, those left fingers circling on her slayer's clit while the right would now be driving in and out of Faith's pussy.

It was the rhythm Faith had found when Tara had accidentally walked in on her taking care of herself when she thought Tara was busy, and it was the rhythm that Faith used to finish when Tara had told her to "Keep going."

It was the rhythm that Faith had preferred when they would watch each other pleasure themselves, and it was what Tara's mind was picturing for Tara now.

"Love you too!" Was Tara's whimpered reply.

Her darling recognized something in Tara's voice. "You're close baby aren't you?"

Tara managed a unh huh as she bit her lip, her eyes closed tight enough to bring stars to her vision.

"Do it Tara, do it, just tell me when and we'll do it together, but come for me!"

That did it, and Tara moaned a long, drawn out sound as she heard Faith make a strangled noise, and Tara heard was she guessed was Faith arching up off the bed.

"Fuck, fuck, fuck!" Was all Faith could manage. Tara could only pant and moan, and shake, and tremble.

For a seeming eternity Tara felt like she was floating and light, her whole body tingling in the after effects of the orgasm she may have given herself, but she shared with Faith. From the sounds of her slayer's breathing Faith was in a similar state.

"Love you!" Was the next thing Faith said.

Tara giggled back. "Love you too."

Then over Faith's earpiece Tara could hear another voice, muffled as if through a wall. "Damn it Dean! I would like to use the bathroom too before going to bed!"

While her heart HAD been slowing back to normal it suddenly stopped. For security reasons Faith would have wanted their rooms adjoining if possible.

After the muttered "Son of a bitch." from Faith she didn't have to guess what room in Sam and Dean's room shared a wall with Faith's.

But there was still part of her that was hoping she was wrong. "Faith?"

"I love you?" Was Faith reply, and while she never tired of hearing the words they didn't help on this occasion.


Chapter 16.

As she joined the brothers for breakfast in the small cafe attached to the motel she matched Dean's smirk with her own as the man spoke. "Sleep well?"

"Like a Baby." She then circled her face with her right index finger as she sat down in the booth by Sam and across from Dean. "See this face Dean? This is not my embarrassed face. I'm a woman in love with another woman. The kind of love that is OFTEN expressed in physical ways, I call her every night I can, and I had been in the field tracking down you two for too damn long."

Dean's smile seemed to say he was fully supportive of their love, if perhaps for selfish reasons.

Sam however was busy again proving himself the brains of the operation as he put last nights events together. His jaw was open in shock as he looked to his brother. "You listened?"

That just made Dean's face grow serious as he pointed at his brother. "You would have too!"

All Faith did was shrug. She had never been big on shame, and she had Tara laughing about it before they hung up. The boys were going to need SOME acclimation before they got to the Lock, otherwise Dean might break his neck trying to climb to the roof when the women of the Lock had one of their "Naked Lady Parties" up there.

So while she wasn't mad Dean still seemed to feel the need to change the subject. "So it's February 27th 2008, and I'm thinking Morton House."

Faith was clueless and her expression showed it. "Morton House?"

That had Dean scowling. "Morton House! The leap year ghost! The most haunted place in America?"

She still wasn't following. "I thought that was Cold Oak South Dakota?"

Sam tried to explain. "No, that was the most haunted town. This is said to be the most haunted house."

Again Faith wasn't following. "Who the Hell picks?"

Dean interrupted. "No idea, but how can you not know Morton House? I mean isn't a slayer just a hunter with super powers?"

Sighing at Dean, Faith explained. "Guys, I don't normally get out of bed for less then a double digit body count. I take on cases that cross continents, and risk hundreds of lives. Haunted houses are like lakes with 'No Swimming' signs. Sure you feel bad for those who are stupid enough to ignore the signs, but the predatory things take priority."

Dean leaned forward. "Okay, that's fair, but this thing HAS made people disappear, it IS less then a day away, the ghost only appears every four years on February 29th, and it'll be fun. It will be like the hunter Grand Canyon."

Sam didn't agree. "Faith's right Dean we have BIGGER concerns."

His brother didn't agree. "What? We've got a good six months! Faith's already got her brain trust on it, and I don't think you'll find something in those two extra days this will cost us. Come on! It'll be fun!"

While Sam tried to look to Faith for support she was starting to waver. "I don't normally hunt ghosts. It might be fun."

Dean grinned as he nodded. "It's settled then, two against one."

It appeared Sam was used to loosing those arguments as he only had a small scowl as he settled back in their booth and they all ordered breakfast...though there was a small bump when Dean had to have it explained to him that while he MIGHT be able to eat as much as Faith could he didn't have the metabolism to burn it, so it would just make him sick.

A quick call to Oracle had her using her mainframes to gather intel for them on the site. It also had Witch Woman saying that Slayer had the time as the sites at Rivergrove and Monument were still being processed for intel, and with Sam and Dean located they were looking for new avenues of investigation on the Lucifer front, and no other concerns had made themselves apparent.

It had both Winchesters realizing Slayer really was usually working on a more global scale. Not because of any prima donna tendencies, but rather just like Sam and Dean were operating behind the scenes to save lives she was operating behind the scenes to save cities, states, continents, and if this Lucifer thing panned out like it was looking, the whole damn world.

Still, it just had Dean that much more determined to show her a good time with a little recreational ghost hunt.

The first problem turned up when the most likely ghost, the original owner Freeman Daggett had been cremated. So while he COULD still be the ghost haunting the place it meant that something else was holding his spirit to there, and the key to any ghost hunt was finding whatever tied to spirit to the living world and destroying it.

Sometimes that was literal like salting and burning a ghost's mortal remains, other times it might be like delivering a message to a loved one to "destroy" the need by fulfilling it.

It wasn't that the Lock didn't understand ghosts, and their local units were often set to resolving hauntings, but it was like Faith had said, a matter of scale.

With the dates so close they drove in shifts to make sure they got there with time to prepare, but it worked and they were able to be getting out of the Impala at Morton House at 11:00pm on February 28th, one hour before Morton House would go hot at midnight, the start of February 29th.

So Faith was equipped as they arrived on site, perhaps a little too equipped as Dean smirked at her salt loaded SPAS 15.

"That won't be necessary." Was said as Dean shook his head.

Faith looked down at the SPAS and then back up at Dean as he stepped up close, his smile dropping and his voice getting sincere. "Look, I get it, when you have to fight we're talking hordes of monsters. I'm guessing situations like the sheriff's station are more rule then exception."

She nodded, and he nodded along with her. "This, one ghost, MAYBE two. Carry that cold iron collapsible baton of yours, and let Sammy and me do the heavy lifting. Relax."

That last word was said with a smile, and Faith couldn't help but smile back. "Relax? In the most haunted house in America?"

His smile was reassuring, and despite herself Faith nodded and put the SPAS back in it's aluminum weapons case.

Sam joined them and Dean stepped into the lead. "Everyone ready?" Not waiting for an answer he stepped in. "All right!"

The other two shared a head shake as they followed Dean into the house.

As soon as they entered however Slayer's reflexes kicked in and she held up a closed fist for everyone to stop.

Everyone did, but Dean looked at her. "What's wrong Faith?"

She paused, seeing he was looking at her hand sign, knowing what it meant, and then back at her. That got a small blush, but both brothers shared a look that said it wasn't going to hurt Faith to have a case where double and triple digits of innocent lives weren't on the line.

Dropping her hand Faith coughed. "We're not the only one's here. There's a definite supernatural presence, but it's dormant. There is however five people. One group of two and one of three, and they have a good supply of electronics." She accented her words pointing in the directions as she named the groups of people, pointing up for the group of three to indicate the second floor. "They're all amped up."

Both brothers were stunned, but Dean was the one to voice it. "You can really pick all that up?" At her nod he grinned. "Okay, you might be worth having around after all."

Faith knew she could try to push back, or flex some slayer muscle, but it was all part of that FNG phenomenon. She knew it would have existed way back when prehistoric hunters added new hunters to their bands, and it continued all along, right up to today.

Much like what Faith had told Sam about how she would never give an order she wouldn't be willing to carry out herself you couldn't TRULY join a unit until you proved you were willing to stand with them, face everything they would face, and do what they would have to do.

Sure people with rank could stomp in and start giving orders, but they would always be outsiders. Faith was determined to "earn her spurs" with the Winchester brothers, and that would take dealing with crap, both the humor, and just getting her hands dirty right along side them.

It also meant recognizing Dean as their team leader, and as he gave their next order she followed it right along with Sam.

"Okay, probably just some group of idiots looking to see some ghosts. Let's go chase em off."

Of course Faith also knew she was helping to build the bonds as a team as she leaned over and stage whispered to Sam. "Like we're ones to talk."

Sam chuckled, stage whispering back. "Yes, but we're idiots who know what we're doing."

Chapter 17.

At first they tried to pass themselves off as cops to simply order them off the property, but it turned out they knew the brothers.

The first guy, a man with reddish golden curly hair and beard turned out be Ed Zeddmore, and he was the first to recognize the Winchesters.

Sam filled in the details after a "Holy Shit" when he made the connection to a case in West Texas with a tulpa (which was a term Faith didn't recognize) and some "hell hound" goof balls that almost got them killed, which Faith didn't assume was literal as Ed wasn't setting off her slayer senses.

"Fuck me." Was Dean's first words upon making the connection.

The other guy, a Alan J Corbett was in a cammo suit, and while he was much more equipped with lights and cameras he seemed as confused as Faith.

However when Dean confronted Ed on a another partner, and Ed had said he was around chasing ghosts Faith started to put it together, reality tv.

"Fuck me." Was her internal thought.

She once had to dispatch Gibbs and company to take out the vampire Harmony as she was going to expose too much to the world at large, but by the same token they didn't go after every pack of people with a camera and a desire to "show the world the truth".

So she would wait and see, and deal with the situation as it developed.

All too suddenly, especially since it wasn't yet midnight, Faith's slayer senses started to pick up something, and she tugged the back of Sam's jacket to get his attention. As he looked to her she mouthed the words. "Something's coming."

He nodded, but Ed continued to play a distraction as he shined his light in her face. "And when did you add a Daphne to your little gang?"

To Faith's response of. "Get that light out of my face or schedule your appointment to have it surgically removed." At which point Ed took the light out of her eyes.

They had adjourned to what looked like the living room as Sam and Dean tried to convince Ed to get his friends out of there by showing him the missing persons reports Willow had dug up going back over the past fifty years, of people who had tried to stay the night at Norton House and vanished.

As they did so Faith suddenly had her baton in hand and extended. "Gunshots, upstairs!"

Everyone was suddenly focused on her. With Ed being the first to talk. "Our friends are upstairs!"

Then just as suddenly they were gone and she held up her hand. "Okay, I smelled gunpowder and now I don't."

The other three came charging down the stairs. One recognized Sam and Dean, Ed's partner Harry Spengler, from a place called the Hell hounds Lair, a paranormal website that Faith would come to learn complicated the brothers hunt in West Texas.

There was also a guy who Faith would find out was 15/16th Jew and 1/16th Cherokee, named Kenny Spruce, and an Asian woman who was Ed's adopted sister Maggie.

Maggie was the one who ignored Dean as he offered to take the pack who were now calling themselves "Ghostfacers" across the street and buy them ice cream.

Instead she loaded up footage of a man in a 50-60's style men's suit getting shot and then vanishing as he crumpled to the ground.

The three of them pulled to the side for a quiet conference as Sam spoke. "Think we're off on this? That was just a death echo."

His brother came back. "Yeah, but what's it doing here? Did anybody get shot here?"

Faith then added. "Not that we could find, but the fact that I could smell gun powder says it's a pretty potent echo, and the fact that it was in the right style of clothes for all our disappearances date back..."

Dean interrupted. "Fifty years."

Sam complimenting the idea. "Which would be right around when Daggett died."

Their conference was interrupted as Spruce pointed a camera at the three asking. "What's a death echo?"

He got his answer from Sam. "Look, if we've got a problem here that ghost ain't it."

The quick explanation that Spruce got was that a death echo is a ghost caught in the moment of it's death, replaying the moment over and over, and as Dean put it "About as dangerous as a scary movie."

The problem was that they still had a list of missing persons dating back half a century so the three of them tried to get the Ghostfacers to get out of the hose before the clock struck midnight.

Things just got worse as by the time they got the Ghostfacers to the door they realized they only had four of them. Corbett was missing and Faith was kicking herself for not keeping those heightened senses of her's more peeled.

Still, she didn't kick herself too hard as if Corbett had been taken by force she would have picked that up. Which meant that the man had wandered off, and Faith's own words about those swimming in unsafe waters came back to her.

Though it seemed that Corbett had wandered off on his own something soon came for him as his scream reached everyone at the door leading out, and to what little credit they deserved the Ghostfacers didn't think about leaving their friend to save themselves.

Of course that still left the three professionals to coral the four amateurs as they tried to save the fifth.

Sam's curse of "Shit!" summed up the situation nicely.

Faith was trying to track Corbett by his screams as he was dragged away, but between the echoes of the old house and the shouting of his friends she wasn't having much success.

As Sam and Dean managed to get the Ghostfacers corralled and quiet she felt her watch vibrate. She didn't need to look down as instead she held her watch up to Dean and Sam.

Midnight. Morton House was going hot.

Downstairs in the living room it was 12:04 and the Ghostfacers were trying to check all their cameras for some sign of Corbett.

Sam was berating Dean for wanting to go to Morton House, and trading his six months for dying that night for the hunter "Grand Canyon".

The younger Winchester even went to the length of smashing a wooden chair against the glass in the front door of which only the chair showed any signs of impact as it broke to pieces.

Startled Ghostfacers came over at the sounds of impact and Dean explained that they were under supernatural lock down. All doors, all windows, sealed up tight.

Dean looked at Faith. "You gut something that can blast past this?"

She shrugged. "Sure... out in the car."

Sam's aggravation was spiking. "Great!"

Faith collapsed her baton and tucked it away before she stepped close and put her hands on Sam's shoulders, her voice dropping to a soft register as she spoke. "Sam, you've been in worse situations. I know this because the last time I was right there with you."

At that point she gave him her full dimpled grin, and he got a small laugh as he shook his head while she kept speaking, or at least tried to as her slayer senses started spiking.

Her voice was calm as she finally managed to speak. "Stay frosty everyone, something is coming."

The Ghostfacers confirmed it when all their electronics started fritzing and showed the EMF spike they had when the first death echo was seen.

Suddenly another death echo appeared, but this one was a new one. Still in 60's style dress he staggered around drunkenly as Dean tried to establish communication before the death echo got hit by a invisible train much like how the previous death echo was shot by an invisible gunman.

They made their way to Freeman Daggett's den, and along the way they answered the Ghostfacer's questions.

Sam explained how ghosts tended to haunt places where they lived, or where they died, but when Dean followed that by saying how neither of the death echos they had met had live or died at Morton house Maggie asked what they were doing there.

After which Dean said "Hey! Give the lady a cigar!" He then went on to ask her if it helped to look at the nightmare they were in through the camera she kept recording it all through.

As she said yes Faith went ahead and explained. "Disassociation, means that it's not 'her' this is happening to... it's like she's watching it on TV."

Then looking at Maggie, or more accurately the camera she was holding Faith opted to elaborate. Even as she knew she would find a way to confiscate or destroy their footage of her. "Key to understanding ghosts is that most sane, rational souls pass to the other side when they die. For them to stay something powerful has to hold them. The unfortunate side effect is that the lives of those of us still with a pulse often aren't as important as whatever it is."

As they searched the den Dean found that thing for Freeman Daggett as they found out the death echos were from bodies he had stolen from the hospital morgue for playmates.

While most were busy saying the understandable "Eww" Faith had her own thoughts.

"Would explain him being our ghost. As messed up as it is there would have to be some powerful emotions to do stuff that sick. It would also explain what we need to find and fry to finish him off."

Seeing the question about to be asked Faith elaborated. "Burning remains makes coming back as a ghost difficult, salting and burning makes it impossible. We know Daggett was cremated, but I guess his ick factor was so high it could transcend death itself."

Chapter 18.

Faith then froze. "Something's coming again."

Maggie was the one to comment on that. "Okay, that's the second time you've done that." Then their electronics stated fritzing out as they picked up another EMF spike. "And you picked it up before our sensors could! What are you psychic or something?"

"Or something." Was Faith's reply as the surge grew until it plucked Sam right out of their midst.

At first Dean started shouting for Sam, but then he turned to Faith. "Can you pick him up?"

Before Faith was able to reply they had to fall back and break up a fight between Harry and Ed over Ed catching Harry and Maggie kissing.

Pulling them back to the den Faith stood in the middle of the room and focused. "Okay, we have two gone, but I'm not picking up any thing of them sound or scent, but I'm also not picking up any scent of decay."

Dean was staring Faith in the eyes as he picked up her train of thought. "We know he had at least the three bodies we found toe tags for, and we've got all those people who went missing with out a sound, or sight, or smell."

She picked up the thought without missing a beat. "In the house of a Cold War nut."

Again, without pause Dean said two words. "Bomb Shelter."

To which her reply was as instant. "Basement!"

The pair quickly headed for the basement door with the four Ghostfacers in tow.

She let Dean be the one who explained as they walked. "Guys like Daggett back then, the ones who were really sacred of the Ruskies, they built bombs shelters and we're guessing he's got one, and I betcha it's in the basement."

As she, Dean and Spruce walked through the door suddenly slammed shut to separate them, and wouldn't be opened even when Faith brought her foot to the wooden door. "Damn it! That kinda hurt!"

Slipping next to her Dean yelled instructions to Ed. "Hey, Ed, listen to me. There's some salt in my duffel. Make a circle and get inside."

There was a slight pause before Ed's voice came back through the door. "...Inside your duffel bag? "

To which Dean shouted back. "In the salt, you idiot!"

Down in the basement Faith and Dean started searching as Spruce started asking Dean about when he overheard upstairs that Dean had only six months left. Spruce then asked if it was cancer, and Dean simply told him to "Shut up."

Faith scowled at the pair. "Both of you shut up! I hear music."

They were both concentrating to hear what Faith was hearing as she moved to a solid heavy looking metal cabinet and shoved the thing perhaps a little too quickly out of the way.

Which Spruce DID notice. "Super senses, could feel the ghosts coming, and you're REALLY strong. What are you a superhero or something?"

She didn't bother to look at him as she sized up the heavy metal door she had now revealed. "Yep, have a spandex costume and everything, but I only wear it on special occasions."

Dean tested the handle. "We survive this you think I can convince you to put that on?"

He didn't wait for an answer as he tested his weight against the door. It still took Faith adding some slayer strength to the push before the door finally opened to see the ghost of Freeman Daggett standing over Sam, who was strangely wearing a aged pointed party hat complete with elastic string, while holding a spike Dagget was ready to kill the younger Winchester with.

A blast of rock salt disrupted the spirit letting them go free Sam while Spruce recorded the various mummified corpses of Daggett's victims, and the fresh body of the fifth Ghostfacer Alan J Corbett.

Now freed Sam was able to fill in the blanks of how Daggett was Norman Bates, stuff your mother kind of lonely, and had stolen the bodies from the morgue to throw himself a birthday party. However when the bodies were the only ones who came he sealed them up in the bomb shelter, and went upstairs to OD on horse tranquilizers.

All of this having been learned because Daggett had told him.

Dean summarized the Morton house haunting with "Same song, different verse, trying to get people to come to his party."

Spruce asked about what Dean had shot Daggett with and Dean told his it was rock salt. Perhaps it was just Faith's nature now as a military commander, but she went with her urge to elaborate.

"You guys carry EMF so I'm guessing you know that ghosts draw upon ambient energy to effect the physical world. If you can tag their manifested effect with something like rock salt, which repels unnatural things, or cold iron like my baton here..." She telescoped her baton for effect "Which can ground out their energy you can force their current manifestation to dissipate."

She then turned to Sam and Dean. "Problem is that Daggett's got us pinned here, and even if we had something to torch his cadaver collection it would consume the available air and kill us."

That had Spruce interrupted. "You can't torch Corbett's body!"

Meeting his eyes over the camera. "If I could do it without killing us you damn well bet I could. Best way to honor your dead is taking as long as possible to join them... fuck we've got incoming!"

Instead of replying Spruce confirmed her impression and said his camera was getting another what he called "Ghost roll." right before Daggett appeared and tossed Spruce across the room.

Sam saved him by coming up and shooting Daggett with the double barrel he had gotten from Dean and again dispersing the ghosts manifested form.

As they got up and took stock of their surroundings Faith still had her baton out. "He didn't leave! I can still feel him!"

Her first impression of him manfiesting was when he tossed Dean into her and sent them both to the ground.

Sam too got shoved away as Daggett focused on Spruce, who summed it up eloquently. "This is bad, very bad."

Faith shoved Dean off her. "I'm picking up something else!"

Then all of a sudden they were looking at Corbett, looking much like he did in the room they had just found his body in.

He was in the same camouflage outfit, and bleeding from the neck wound Daggett had given him. He then charged at his killer, and the two seemed to grapple before the pair both disappeared into a vortex of light.

It was now several days later, several days past when they had first planned on continuing their trip to California, but the Ghostfacers had invited them to see the finished product and the Winchester brothers managed to convince Faith that they had a plan that wouldn't require her to steal their footage in the dead of night, or seize it by force.

So they had let her rent them rooms in a actual decent hotel rather then the road side motels the brothers were used to while they waited for the footage to be edited.

Though Faith did call Willow and had her keep an eye on their home systems to make sure the Ghostfacers didn't try to upload it before inviting them over to view the finished product.

Now as she watched the Ghostfacer's exploitative edit of their friends death the electromagnet that the brothers had let her smuggle in a olive bag carried over her shoulder on a strap didn't feel as satisfying as say having her blacksuits coming in with badges to confiscate the evidence, or even staging a mysterious fire that wouldn't get past the garage the Ghostfacers used as their office.

Still as they got up to leave there was a definite satisfaction was she hit the switch to get the magnet powering up. The resulting screams of outrage and despair they picked up as they piled into the Impala and headed off made her feel better.

Chapter 19.

They were now in Sunnydale California, and Sam was able to impress Faith with his range of knowledge that he was able to instantly id the town as the Hellmouth.

His brother however had the obvious question. "How is this different from say the Devil's Gate in Wyoming?"

Sam saved Faith from having to explain. "Scale Dean. The Devil's Gate is like a side door, or more like a egress window. The Hellmouth... these are the 'Gates of Hell."

So the brothers weren't too terribly shocked to hear the facility they were heading to was called "The Lock" though Dean was a little nervous what with a ticket to Hell already stamped with his name.

His nervousness quickly dissipated however as they got past the public facade of the armory and into the "visitors area" that was the first sub-level of the Lock. Created with the realization that the Lock would need to be able to bring allies on site without allowing them access to all the organizations secrets it was still highly secured, but in ways that allowed for visitors.

Now Dean was in danger of swallowing his tongue. "It's... It's like I've died, and instead of going to Hell I went to Girls Gone Wild. We're in Girls Gone Wild... with guns..." Dean then turned and slapped his brother on the shoulder in glee. "It's Hunter Girls Gone Wild Sammy!"

On one hand Faith wanted to protest. While anyone who knew the slightest thing about her knew she was far from being a prude she was really quite proud of everything they had accomplished at the Lock, but one of their biggest duties after keeping the Hellmouth closed, and battling supernatural horrors around the world, was training slayers and getting them dispatched around the world for those battles.

Which often left their facility looking like a college girl's dormitory, or as Dean was putting it girl's gone wild... if you substituted bullets for shots of vodka.

They were able to keep a bit of a lid on it in most areas as they had the baby slayers who were minors who were just being trained for self defense to keep them alive until they were of age and could decide if they wanted to develop their powers further.

Yet even then you had young women in the skimpy styles that were popular, or in work our gear and covered with the sweat one would expect after a nice work out, or the form fitting black suits for night ops, heck with the firm and fit physiques slayer metabolisms would bestow even the fatigues the girls would be wearing for day light patrolling of the grounds looked amazing.

All of it leaving the elder Winchester in danger of having his eyeballs burst from their sockets.

While Sam was obviously appreciative of the sights he retained enough of his faculties to ask Faith. "Slayers?"

As she nodded Sam tried reaching over to his brother Dean and snapping his fingers in front of the man's glazed eyes a couple times, to no avail.

Dean was responsive enough to follow when Faith motioned him to do so, but even that failed when a pair of slayers fresh from the shower clad only in the towels wrapped around their midsections walked by on their way back to the barrack housing the training slayers were given before being either stationed elsewhere in the world or given personal quarters here at the Lock.

That left the man stock still and turning his head to watch the girls as they passed. Even once they passed it took his brother Sam getting behind him and pushing to get Dean moving again, but both Sam and Faith had grins on their faces as he did so.

Their path eventually made it's way to the Temple of the Oracle, the Lock's main control room. There Dean turned to Faith and spoke. "So, joining up... is there an application? Do we speak to a recruitment officer?"

Before Faith could reply beyond a laugh McGee stood up from one of the consoles. "Sam? Dean?" As the brothers turned Tim continued. "Hi, Tim McGee. Missouri says hi. She also says that while she is certainly psychic it would be nice if one of you two idiots could call her from time to time she knows if 'alive' is 'alive and well' or 'alive and in the hospital."

Sam was first to speak. "You met Missouri Mosely?"

Dean complimented his brothers words with. "Because that sure sounds like her."

It was Faith who explained. "We spent two months tracking you two, and part of that process was taking apart everything we had on you and putting it under a microscope. So naturally we went to Lawrence, and Missouri found us."

McGee then added. "And she made sure to make me memorize that message exactly. So... call?"

Both brothers were grinning as McGee nodded and sat down while Faith spoke. "Which is actually why I'm bringing you two here first. Everything we have says you two are going to have some big part to play in Lucifer's jail break. So we're asking you two sit down and go back over everything you are willing to, to the house fire in 83 if you are willing, but at least back to the fire..."

Sam's face had gotten cold as he spoke for Faith. "That killed Jess."

Faith's was obviously sorry she was asking what she was asking. "Yeah... Azazel wanted you pushed back into hunting. He escalated his plans, and understanding enemy escalation is key to beating them. I don't think any of us will try to convince ourselves that the problem died with him, but understanding what he had been up to before Dean wasted him is likely key to figuring out what's coming next."

She sighed. "If you're willing we want you to go back as far as you are willing, and give us every detail you are willing to give. We'll have our experts start pouring over it, and see what we can find."

Dean obviously wasn't enthusiastic about the idea. "So we give you every sordid detail of our lives, and it could still all be for nothing?"

Meeting his eyes Faith nodded. "Yeah. I won't promise because I don't know. What I do know is that you're our best lead, and since it goes back to before you two were even born literally anything could matter."

They both gave her a shocked expression and she softened her voice. "Guys, your grandparents on your mother's side, the Campbell's, Samuel and Deana, both died, violently, by what looks to us like an inhuman attacker. I'm serious when I say we've been pulling your lives apart because you two seem key to this puzzle. I'm just asking you to help us figure out where you fit."

Obviously still in shock the brothers nodded in unison.

If anything dwelling on the minutiae of the past seemed to help the brothers from contemplating the deeper meanings of it. There were obvious questions as the Lock had already found out things about them that even they were unaware of, and that was just based off the Winchester public records.

Which then posed the question of what could the Lock find out with Sam and Dean actively filling them in?

Again, the brothers were happier to focus on the facts that what other truths may come about from them.

Dean chose a voice recorder as typing had never really been a skill his training as a hunter had called on him to develop. The cute read head, Willow, who he had first met as Oracle, explained that the voice recordings would be archived as well as transcribed into a readable document.

Sam skipped a step and put the skills he had developed in law school to put together as thorough of reports as possible.

At one point a gorgeous goth named Abby had come up and asked them a few particulars about their hunts in Saint Louis and Milwaukee because while the Lock had yet to encounter that type of shape changer personally they figured it better to pick the brother's brains then have to come up with something on the fly.

It had Sam appreciating the organization's efficiency while Dean was busy appreciating Abby.

While Willow noticed this she seemed more amused then anything, and Dean had to ask. "What? She got a boyfriend?" As Willow's smile just grew Dean's heart sank. "Girlfriend?"

At that Willow kept smiling as she nodded. "Ziva, formerly of the Mossad, Metsada assassin, really, really, really freakishly good with a knife, and totally devoted to Abby."

Dean's jaw dropped. "Okay, I get it, you guys are top secret so Don't Ask Don't Tell ain't really an issue, and okay Faith and this Tara chick... but just how many gay girls you got here?"

When that made Willow's smile grow all the winder Dean laughed to himself. "Oh Willow no! Are you going to break my heart already?"

At first she grinned at the banter, but then she frowned. "Well not ALL girls are gay, plenty are bi."

Until that point Sam had been content to simply grin at his brother's antics, but he then felt compelled to comment. "Wait a minute. Statistics say about ten percent of the population is gay, with Faith and Tara commanding the place say the gay friendly environment doubles it to twenty percent. Now it's said that most sexuality is fluid without someone being one hundred percent gay or straight."

Dean then had to comment. "Speak for yourself Sammy."

Sam hand waved his brothers comment. "So accounting for that there's no WAY you guys could have more then say half your women here gay or bi."

Almost more to herself Willow couldn't help but say. "You haven't met Lex." Realizing they HAD talked to her Willow elaborated. "Black Magick Woman, you talked to her during the vid conference."

Once more Dean had to comment. "And she had two girls in bed with her, and presumably they were all naked, which I'll be the first to admit is pretty impressive, but come on. You expect us to believe she's managed to get more then half of all those hotties running around here to at least play on the other side of the fence?"

Willow's chosen reply was. "So I thought I'd see if you guys were hungry. We have an amazing mess hall here were if you can think of it chances are they can make it, and will be happy to do so!"

Chapter 20.

While they had made some significant progress on their reports for the Lock neither Sam nor Dean had the patience, or even endurance, to just sit and write out their lives to date in a single sitting. They knew the even the edited version would probably take a week minimum.

Still the Lock was willing to give the Winchester brothers guest quarters, and when those guest quarters were in a facility that kept it's monster hunters in accommodations that would otherwise rank as five star while they devoted their considerable resources to A giving the Winchester brothers background into their lives that even they were unaware of, and B getting Dean out of his deal they were ready to stay.

So it was after several hours of working on their reports, and grabbing a meal in the mess hall, that both Sam and Dean thought should almost have a better name, the pair decided to take a walk to stretch their legs.

While the guy now commanding the control center, Riley Finn, had warned them that even with their presence on the Hellmouth creatures were still attracted to the energies the dimensional aperture put out. So he gave them a list of places their patrols would have already cleared by that time of night.

Knowing they were still out of their element the brothers had elected to stay to the cleared areas before getting some sleep in the provided quarters.

Or at least that had been the plan. They had initially saw Faith out walking with some blond chick they had assumed was Tara, but when they drew closer the both of them had recognized the vampire Lenore.

So Dean had shadowed the pair while Sam ran back to the Impala for some dead man's blood the brothers kept for just such an occasion.

Now with a knife coated in the substance in the hands of his brother Dean, Sam wasn't so sure. "Something's wrong here Dean." Was said in a soft voice.

Dean urgent whisper came back. "Yeah, like we were idiots to believe Lenore wasn't snacking on humans!"

Sam scowled as he whispered back. "No... I mean look at them Dean... look at Lenore. She's blond!"

That had Dean whispering right back. "And so was I for a brief period in the nineties!"

Briefly remembering the incident as what had led Dean to put Nair in Sam's shampoo back during their ill-fated prank war when they were younger Sam shook his head. "No! I mean look at her. She's got more color in her cheeks then you do!"

His brother rolled his eyes as he replied. "We'll maybe she's born with it, or maybe it's Maybelline."

Though all of the conversation had been in whispers Sam was obviously getting frustrated. "Yeah, then what about Faith? You think any monster could get that close to her without her permission?"

When Dean couldn't find an argument to that Sam continued. "And we know that this Lex has multiple partners maybe Faith and Tara have an open relationship and Lenore... just likes girls."

Dean paused, and got a noticeable grin at that. "Well then it's a good thing we're using dead man's blood rather then just trying to take her head off."

The conversation had distracted the pair, and when they looked back sure enough the pair had sat down on a bench where Lenore had her lips fastened to Faith's neck.

That had Dean charging as he finally stated. "Watch my back Sammy!"

Reaching the pair Dean was ready to sink the knife into Lenore's back, but as he drew close Faith looked up, first in surprise as she recognized him, then in shock as she saw the knife. He supposed she may have had other expressions, but Dean didn't get a chance to see them as she brought her foot up and planted it in Dean's chest with enough force to send him flying.

As his brother rolled to a stop Sam was able to take in the situation with more detail. Faith and Lenore were both standing now. Faith was obviously enraged with her H&K Mk 23 in a combat grip in both hands and pointed at Dean, and NO wound on her neck, just a hickey.

Lenore was touching the glancing knife wound on her shoulder and looking at Sam and Dean in shock while showing no signs of being effected by the dead man's blood, and no recognition of Sam or Dean.

Seeing Faith was quite ready to shoot his brother Sam put himself in between the two and quickly spoke to Dean. "The dead man's blood isn't working Dean!"

Speaking through clenched teeth Dean said back. "Give it a minute!"

Lenore looked at the wound on her shoulder. "Dead man's blood?"

Dean spoke louder. "Hah! You're feeling it now aren't you?"

Faith however was not to be ignored as she tried to step around Sam, and Sam moved to keep himself in the way. "What the FUCK Dean?"

It was looking more and more likely that Faith was becoming less concerned about which Winchester she shot as Lenore stepped closer and put a right hand on top of Faith's pistol, kissing the brunette's ear as she guided it down. "Darling, for some reason they thought I was a vampire, and I think they were trying to save you from me."

First Faith looked at Tara, then at Sam and Dean. "What the Hell? I look like a Bella?"

That got the blond woman to smile and say. "More then Buffy did."

Which made the two women laugh softly.

Kicking himself Sam went ahead and said it. "Tara?"

The blond smiled. "Tara Maclay, it's a pleasure to finally meet you."

That the woman actually seemed sincere despite the fact that Dean had just tried to stab her surprised them.

It had been a day full of surprises for the Winchester boys. That the day ended in the medical bay was perhaps the one unsurprising thing about it in retrospect.

As Dean's ribs were being taped by a Doctor Mallard, Nurse Cameron Baum was cleaning and bandaging Tara's arm.

That the sexy nurse smiled as the guys introduced themselves told them she had to have been the one who had been in bed with Lex during their conference call.

Something that had inspired yet another large grin from Dean. Actually leaving Sam worried Dean might sprain something with all the smiling... as well as really, REALLY glad they had gotten separate rooms, even as he SWORE not to get close enough the wall separating them to hear anything.

He was more focused on explaining what happened, and Doctor Mallard, or Ducky has he had offered was quite interested. "So this vampire looked exactly like Tara?"

Grimacing as the elderly Doctor tightened the taping on Dean's midsection Dean added. "Paler, lot paler, with brown hair, but otherwise IDENTICAL."

"Fascinating." Was Ducky's reply.

Off where Tara was getting her arm taken care of she was speaking strictly, but quietly to Faith and Faith was arguing right back at a similar volume. Eventually Tara seemed to win as Faith slumped her shoulders and walked over. "Okay, I fractured one of your ribs, and you tried to stab my girlfriend... even?"

Considering that if Faith hadn't kicked him the knife would have hit an area that could have REALLY hurt a mortal Dean couldn't be angry and nodded.

With that taken care of Faith had another question. "You were using dead man blood. So I'm guessing this Lenore is an old blood vampire rather then demon blood?"

Blinking several times Dean looked ready to contradict Faith, but then realized a vampire slayer would know her vampires. "So you actually have seen demon blood vampires? We always thought they were myths."

The brunette shook her head as she jumped up to sit on a examination bed while Tara moved over to sit next to her, but in Tara's case Faith picked her up and put Tara beside her while answering. "They're like damn cockroaches here on the Hellmouth, and you can never get them all, especially since all it takes is missing just one."

Sam was actually quite interested as after he learned what Azazel had did to him he had taken a keen interest in demon's blood and it's properties.

In the case of demon blood versus old blood vampires they has started as what Sam would recognize as an old blood vampire, second set of shark like teeth, didn't like the day, but was able to stand it, and could only be killed by beheading.

Long ago, like prehistory long ago, one of those vampires fed on a human possessed by a demon, and found they really, really liked the blood.

It was said that the vampire eventually would only drink demon blood, and passed the taste for it on to it's offspring. Much like with Sam and the others of "Azazel's Kids" it started to cause changes.

Soon they couldn't stand the light of day at all, and while beheading still killed them wooden stakes through the heart also became a way to finish them off.

Even the original simple second set of teeth was replaced by a demonic visage that reflected millennium worth of drinking demonic essence.

Of course there were benefits as well. The demon bloods were stronger, faster, tougher, immune to dead man's blood, and even more ruthless then their kin.

A ruthlessness that only grew as the demon blood vampires developed the ability to pass their demon blood abilities to their offspring without fresh demon blood ever entering the picture.

It actually had Sam worrying if he could pass on Azazel's blood as Ducky's autopsy of Jake had already revealed that Jake's body had traces that matched up with the blood taken from the body that Azazel had died in. Which must have meant that by making Sam drink his blood as a baby Sam's body was able to start producing the blood naturally.

The thought made his head spin and his stomach churn, and it was only made worse when they had first gotten there and another Doctor, Samantha Finn, the wife of the guy in the command center, had asked Sam for a blood sample.

Like most of what the Lock seemed ready to show them he dreaded what they would uncover even as he knew he had to know.

Remembering what he knew of demon bloods was able to distract him, but the lore seemed to peter out that the demon bloods decided they didn't like being thought of as an off shoot so they had taken it upon themselves to eradicate their predecessors.

While hunters had been a definite part of pushing the old blood vampires to near-extinction their demon blood kin had been the larger part.

Now Sam had come to find out that the demon blood vampires were real, and the reason that they were thought of as myths was because they assimilated into human culture.

They still killed of course, but they quickly became experts in learning how to kill those who wouldn't be missed, and how to simply take advantage of human apathy to basically let humanity think it was higher on the food chain then they really were.

Tara however was more interested in her undead double. "But you said they don't kill humans?"

Dean was the one to answer. "Well THEY said they don't kill humans... and we believed them. Why?"

Tara continued. "Well we are constantly trying to establish friendly contact with non-hostile supernatural entities..."

Dean interrupted, his voice loud. "What? You want to make friends with those things!"

Faith interrupted. just as loud. "Dean! Rule around here is we don't care what you are, we care what you do. These guys want to stay on the wagon we'll be damn good and ready to play sponsor."

Seeing Dean scowl Faith softened her voice. "Look, I'm guessing you were brought up to hate them, and I can get why. Just remember though, Lex found your Dad in the circle of Wrath. If that doesn't help though just look at it strategically, every battle puts you at risk of injury or death. If making sure a pack of old bloods can get their fill of cow or pig blood can keep my people from avoiding a fight I'm totally behind that."

Even though Dean was quite good at arguing, or at least very enthusiastic about it he didn't seem able to find an argument to justify risking her soldiers lives unnecessarily.

So Tara was the one to comment. "I'm proud of you Sweetie."

"Huh?" Was Faith's reply.

Tara then clarified. "I'm proud you for being able to be sensitive to Dean's feelings on the matter."

Faith gave a pained expression. "Honey, I'm trying to be serious here."

To which Tara nodded. "I know. I'm just proud of you."

The pained expression grew. "Tara!"

Tara's next words came after a deliberate pause, and showed that she must be feeling that the situation was serious enough, and needed to be lightened. "I'm making you girrrrly!" Was said in a sing song voice.

The tone of Faith's reply was something she would later passionately swear was not whiny. "Taaara!"

Chapter 21.

Dean stopped and wiped his hands on his jeans. It wasn't that he was nervous over meeting the Lex chick specifically, from what he had already heard of the woman she would have been able to hold "Employee of the Month" title at the lesbian recruitment office since like puberty, so there wouldn't be any sexual tension... at least on her part.

He was still trying to control the grin, and other physical responses that seeing the openly, physically affectionate way the women at the Lock were able to be with each other, and from all reports Alexandra Detton was the one responsible.

Thinking back Dean could remember when Faith had given her full name to him and Sammy.

They both knew the Detton family as older then old school evil, but they had also known that a few years back the family line had been wiped out in a mysterious fire.

Of course there had been questions as to who could have taken out the black magick clan, but most were just happy to see them gone.

Now they had come to find out that after growing up in the evil her family was known for she not only couldn't be a part of it, she couldn't let them live to keep doing it without her.

So at a ritual that required all living members of the family to be present... to link their powers to try to free the fallen angels that had followed Lucifer, as they were now aware... Lex had locked the place down and torched it with her whole family inside.

It had left Dean conflicted. His feelings on the importance of family were horrified, but his experience as a hunter appreciated the plan. It left him both horrified and impressed with the woman he had been asked to meet with.

Because while Lex might have been nicknamed the "Goddess of Lesbian Sex" she was also the Lock's resident expert on the dark arts, and someone that everyone agreed Dean would want to talk to if there would be any real chance to get out of his deal.

Taking a deep breath Dean pushed on the door to the conference room he was told Lex was waiting for him in, and promptly has his breath taken away by the sight that greeted him.

Two women were making out, two VERY hot women. One was standing in front of the table where the other was sitting on it.

The one standing was blond haired, blue eyed with the physique Dean had come to identify as a slayer.

Which would have made the brunette sitting on the table with her hands under the blondes shirt the infamous "Black Magick Woman" Lex.

At Dean's entry the blond was the first to break the kissing to turn and look at him.

When Lex did as well Dean smiled uncomfortably and waved. "Hey... I can come back... or I could just sit here quietly till your done."

Lex laughed at that and pulled away from the blond. Sliding off the table she gave the blond one last kiss. "I gotta take care of this. See you later?"

The blond shrugged and smiled. "Look for me."

Both Lex and Dean scoped the blond slayer's ass as the woman walked out the door, and for her part the blond seemed fully aware of the attention as she gave her hips a little extra wiggle as she walked.

Once the door closed Dean grinned at Lex. "So was that the twin Candi?"

The woman's grin only grew all the more smutty. "No, that was her sister Mandi." Lex then emphasized her sentence with a smutty, happy sigh.

Dean was literally stunned a moment, looking back to the door. "You're doing twins! How don't they know?"

She looked right in his eyes with her eyes showing a delighted twinkle. "They know."

At that Dean fell to one knee. "Teach me!"

Lex laughed, actually reaching out to pat him on the head. "Dean, from all accounts you are a good guy, and a great hunter, but I can't help but think that teaching you my seduction techniques would be like giving a monkey a loaded hand gun."

Not exactly sure how he should take that Dean got back to his feet and then sunk into a chair as Lex took the one next to him.

Before she could speak however Dean started to. "I just wanted to thank you... for my Dad."

She smiled sadly. "Not necessary, but you're welcome. I could tell he was different right away, a damned soul that had keeps their humanity is exceedingly rare."

Which led Dean to a question he had been planning to ask. "So was he one of those 'penitent' guys?"

Her head shook. "No, honestly, while your Dad kept his humanity, he also kept his faults. When I dropped him at the entrance of wrath he had started climbing just to defy them as neither of us knew the Devil's Gate was going to open, and I called him on that kind of attitude probably being a good part of the reason he was in Wrath."

Dean couldn't help but nod. "If my Dad had a sin, that would be it..." The sentence trailed, and then picked back up. "But Faith said that Ari guy had likely sent himself back to Hell to tell you guys you needed to find us. I mean me and my brother, we assumed..." Again Dean trailed off, because while he didn't believe in Heaven he wanted to think that after escaping Hell his Dad got to go someplace better, and now he feared his Dad could have somehow been dragged back.

That got a kind smile from Lex. "If you wish Dean I could 'ask around' in the mystic sense, but the deal for your dad's soul was a sort of cash and carry kind of bargain. Azazel was able to claim it then and there yes, but he didn't make it his property like in a witches' pact. From the description you guys gave in your reports I would say that once your Dad escaped his soul was able to get it's true judgment and go to the brighter realms. "

His attention suddenly perked Dean leaned forward in his chair. "Does that mean that even if I do... go downstairs you could spring me? That is assuming I haven't earned my way there naturally?"

The kind smile grew sad. "Worse case scenario Dean I will certainly try, and if Isis is willing then I'll be on my way, but even in your Dad's case I believe Isis sent me there to learn how close Lucifer is to being freed. In both your case and your Dad's you made your choices."

While Dean's expression was confused he was also nodding. "I was also meaning to ask about that. I mean Lucifer is Christian. Why would an Egyptian Goddess care?"

At that Lex had a kind, soft laugh. "Dean, the Gods are infinitely complex, and the forms WE get are infinitely dumbed down so we can understand them. Like in Christianity, or more accurately the ancient Hebrew it came from Shekhinah is the Goddess to Yahweh's God until Christianity edited her into a genderless 'Holy Spirit'. In either case Shekhinah and Isis are both names for what is ultimately the same being. Kind of like how different languages can describe the same subjects."

He got that. "So Lucifer..."

She replied. "Would be 'Set' to her."

Which he followed with. "Who she would want stopped."

"Bingo." Was her reply. "Still! We're here to help you weasel out out of your deal so let's focus on that!"

The word "weasel" elicited a frown from Dean, which elicited a grin from Lex.

"It's what were doing Dean. Let's own up to it."

He was still frowning as he started describing the details, right from Sam dying in his arms, to driving Bobby off, to his frantic drive to the nearest crossroads.

The playful smile that had been on Lex's face ever since Dean had walked in on her with her hands up Mandi's shirt had been replaced by a thoughtful expression that had Dean feeling more confident as he related the story of the worst day of his life.

"Do you remember the EXACT components you used? I mean exactly. The type of cat the bone came from? The grave the dirt was from? Where the picture you used was taken?"

That just left Dean confused. "Does it matter?"

It didn't help when she shrugged. "Maybe, maybe not, but the devil is in the details, and I want to know as much as absolutely possible."

Since Dean couldn't remember those details he continued with his tale of how the demon got him down to a single year, and he finally had to comment on her pained expression. "What?"

She sighed. "Okay, I'm not trying to armchair quarterback here, and I'm more hoping we DO get you out of this and you'll have this in the future, but I tell EVERYONE, the more a demon wants to negotiate, the more you have it over a barrel."

"Huh?" Was Dean's one word reply.

"Let's assume the guy who came up with the reality show Survivor sold his soul to get it on the air."

Dean interrupted with a smile. "Safe assumption."

That got a grin right back from her. "Why I picked it, but assuming he made the deal he could still be alive today because they might have cut him a REAL favorable deal to keep churning out all the mind-numbing reality shlock, that in the case of Survivor is spiced up with genuine human suffering."

"There is a reason 10 years is the standard for contracts, most crossroads demons are perfectly happy to phone it in. You want money, power, fame, the girl..."

That had Dean interrupting with a smirk. "You didn't..."

She put on a mock offended expression. "Please, my gifts with women are all natural and have been honed to superhuman levels through diligent practice! Still the demon comes up, seals it with a kiss and sets a reminder to set the hell hounds after you in ten years."

"So why didn't she just give me the ten then if they WANTED Sammy back like Azazel said?"

Lex looked him square in the eye. "When Haswari told us to find you he said the Winchesters, not just Sam. We know you two are pieces to the puzzle, and your deal hands you over to them."

Chapter 22.

When the returning patrol of slayers passed Sam Winchester in the hall smiled at him he smiled right back, until they had gotten down the hall and could no longer see his face turn into a frown.

It wasn't that he didn't appreciate the resources the Lock was making available to them, but just that he was realizing there was a reason he and Dean didn't tend to sit still for too long.

That the Lock was making such incredible resources available to them wasn't helping.

Already the Lock's people had dug up enough to convince them that Mom was probably a hunter before she met Dad.

They had started at the deaths of Samuel and Deana Campbell. Even the ME who had did the autopsies way back then had noted the unusual strength of the attacker, but upon further examination of the files with Ducky they had factored in the supernatural and the picture had become clearer.

Deana Campbell had died first of a broken neck in the Campbell home. That the one who had broken it had been of approximately the same height as her husband had been considered, but not rejected because there was "no way" he had the strength to break bone in the brutal fashion Deana's neck had been.

Further analysis of the autopsy files had Ducky SURE that Samuel's knife wound to the stomach had been self inflicted.

In both cases the ferocity of the wounds would be explained if Samuel Campbell had been possessed.

That the deaths had occurred in 1973, ten years before that fateful night in Sam's nursery couldn't be a coincidence.

The fact that they had encountered their mother's ghost haunting their old house in Lawrence said that she hadn't sold her soul, but between the ten years and the vision Azazel had shown Sam where she had said "You!" upon finding Azazel made it fairly clear that some deal had been struck.

With the Campbell's, the way mysterious deaths around the family came to mysterious ends just made it clear to the brother's that their hunter legacy had started long before John Winchester set out to find the thing that had killed his wife.

It was knowledge that had made sitting relatively still for the past month well worth it.

"Relatively" being the operative word as they still looked for cases, but now had Willow, her mainframes, and her libraries to help them with research. With "help" more meaning dig up the needed info faster then Sam and his lap top ever could.

Yet Mom's likely history was not the only thing they had learned.

At first they started with blood tests that confirmed that Sam's blood did indeed have qualities similar to those found in Jake Talley, and the body Azazel had died in.

They then literally looked deeper as a small sample of Sam's bone marrow had been harvested and found to have been altered from what the marrow they had harvested from Dean as a comparison.

The new working theory being that at six months Sam's still developing body had been basically tricked into thinking the demon blood was supposed to be a part of him, and started manufacturing it naturally.

Sort of like the demon blood vampires he and Dean would slay with the patrols when no cases were available, but faster.

Maybe because Sam's living body was growing and developing while the immortal, dead, bodies of the vampires were designed to do the exact opposite, or maybe because Azazel was such a ranking demon, maybe Azazel's kids had a genetic predisposition, or maybe all three... there were countless theories Sam was been kicking around with the Lock's scientific assets.

Today however he was out to talk with one of their brains, Lex, their resident black magick expert.

When he had first heard her handle of "Black Magick Woman" back during their video conference he had figured it was as much a Santana reference as an occult one. He later came to learn that in their continuing theme of not caring what you were, but rather what you did, she was actually their expert on all matters in the dark arts.

That she was using that expertise to try to save Dean's soul would have been more then enough for Sam, but when a closer look on the reports about the demon's blood that had made itself a permanent part of his body had her as the primary source of information he decided to track her down and ask his questions directly.

She hadn't been all that difficult to track as she really was that popular with the women of the Lock, and they would mark the woman's passage... with the sorts of expressions that had made Sam slightly uncomfortable as he asked around trying to find her.

Just the small sampling he got as he was looking for her had him throwing out his 50% estimate, and guessing Lex's "popularity" at 3/4's or more.

It made for a reasonable explanation of Dean's seemingly permanent grin.

It was also Dean's excuse for spending as much free time hanging around Faith as he could get. Which was another reason Sam was starting to get restless, because he wasn't the only one noticing.

Those troubling thoughts, and all others left Sam's head as he finally found Lex, walking out of the women's shower, and while she did have a towel the fact that she did have the one, and she had it wrapped around her hair caused Sam's well developed mind to freeze up.

Namely because she was as comfortable with her nudity as people had said, and upon seeing the athletic woman's well proportioned frame he had to agree with the consensus that she had nothing to be ashamed of.

"Sam right? Hi, I'm Lex. I'm sorry we haven't been able to meet until now, but between my field assignments, and my research on your families black magick ties I've absolutely swamped, but I'm guessing that's probably why you're here."

He managed to nod with slight difficulty. Following the woman's shapely backside as she turned and started to walk was much easier.

"Okay, I need to head back to my quarters for some clothes, but you're welcome to tag along and ask any questions you've got."

Though Sam had many questions his first came from her statement. "You've got quarters? Don't they have showers of their own?" Was asked as they walked down the hall.

Lex had a rather wicked laugh at his question. "I do, but the shower in my quarter's doesn't have as regular of a supply of wet and soapy naked women the communal shower does."

Sam found his brain in danger of shutting down again as he was able to read enough into the statement to know that her shower did have a supply of wet and soapy naked women, just not as many as the communal shower.

He feared he was channeling Dean as he wondered just how regular a supply her shower did have, and then he did have to shake his head to clear it as he realized showering had really just been a pretense when he had found her

Not allowing himself to contemplate what had obviously just been going on Sam cleared his throat, twice, before speaking.

"I do have questions, but they're more personal."

She nodded as they walked, Sam using his longer stride to move to walk side by side so he could stare straight ahead and hopefully avoid distraction.

"Well, you've got both decent shine and body. Have you considered changing your conditioner? All the traveling can really strip away nutrients, and when you factor in the rigors of hunting monsters split ends are just the beginning."

That got a small chuckle as Sam ran the fingers of his right hand through his hair and looked over... his eyes seeming to find their own way to a set of firm and perky breasts tipped with light brown nipples still pebbled from the cool air.

Dragging his eyes forward again Sam coughed. "No, serious questions."

Lex's voice softened. "I figured, but I'm guessing tracking me down to ask them means things will probably be stressed, and a little preemptive deflating of the pressure seemed like a good idea."

While her rep seemed to be 70% lesbian love goddess, and 30% mistress of black magick Sam had to admit that level of insight was impressive.

Nothing else was said until they had reached her quarters and she took the towel off her head and finished drying off.. "So what were your questions?"

First Sam had a request. "Could you get dressed first?"

That brought her up short, but then she smiled. "Well I'll be. You really ARE that sweet. Okay."

An oversized t-shirt was quickly put on, and Sam noticed a college logo on the shirt. A college man himself he couldn't help but look to see where she had went.

Then he saw the shirt was from the fictional "Arkham University" of H.P. Lovecraft's works, and he laughed softly.

She was grinning as she met his eyes. "All right Sam. What were your questions?"

"In your reports on demon's blood you say it 'enhances' the drinker. How?"

She motioned him to sit down on the chair at her desk while she sat down Indian style on her bed.

"It depends on the subject. In the case of the demon bloods the effects were more consistent because they are corpses reanimated by vampire blood in almost the exact same manner, but with you and the other kids Azazel laced the effects varied. Except for the twins, they developed the exact same power."

He shook his head vigorously. "I'm not talking about the powers! Except for me, Andy, and a girl named Lily every one of Azazel's special kids went evil. Even the demon blood became a more vicious breed of vampire."

"Not all." Her reply was softly spoke. "Scott Carey didn't. From the notes we got from his psychiatrist Azazel was trying to get him to, but he resisted."

That got another head shake from Sam. "Gordon Walker just killed him first."

Her voice stayed soft, but had a chastising tone. "You don't know that, and there is nothing in his history that supports you assuming that about him." Still speaking softly the chastising tone faded as she slid from sitting Indian style on her bed to sitting on the edge closest to him.

"But that's what this is all about isn't it? You're afraid that there is some sort of evil to the blood, and eventually it will consume you?"

He stood up angrily. "I've got some pretty strong evidence to support it don't I?"

She stood up as well, but calmly, but as she spoke her voice grew stronger in obvious conviction. "Sam, the blood will not effect your actions. I once had a similar argument over black magick itself... your actions are your own."

He looked at her angrily. "When both Ava and Jake gave in they were able to develop new powers!"

Lex shook her head. "When they accepted what they were they unlocked new powers that they chose to do evil things with."

Sighing she dropped her hands to her sides. "You know what? This softball approach never works!"

Stepping close she looked up to meet Sam's eyes with hers. "No free passes here Sam! No excuses! No 'The Devil made me do it!' Even if we end up actually facing the guy. You can do the right thing for the wrong reason, or the wrong thing for the right reason, or you can do the right thing for the right reason, or the wrong thing for the wrong reason, but whatever you do YOU choose to do it!"

Starting to pace Lex's voice grew angry. "You know that conversation I had on black magick? I nearly killed the other person... never mind why, it's a personal issue, but while I had the urge I controlled it. I knew it would be wrong and I chose not to act on it."

"You want a primer on evil power? There it is! Evil gives you an excuse. Evil lets you blame it for doing what YOU want to do. Ava and Jake did evil? Big damn deal, you, Andy and Lily were in the same situation and didn't! The way to tell the good guys from the bad guys are the good guys will accept responsibility for their actions while the bad guys will have a list of reasons why nothing is their fault."

"Any evil you do you will do because you chose to. All evil can do is cheer you on."

Chapter 23.

"No Dean." Was Sam's reply as they stepped out of the Impala and walked towards the armory.

"Come on Sammy! Dying wish?" Was Dean's comeback to yet another of Sam's refusals.

Dean had been playing the "dying wish" card ever since Sam had learned of Dean's deal to raise him from the dead, and Sam had let him get away with a great deal since then.

Still, this was one area it wouldn't help him.

"I am not describing what Lex looks like naked, Dean!"

He had managed to convince Dean to travel a bit more and just get updates from Willow over the phone, or in some cases via coded files Sam now had keys for on his lap top. However after a recent ghost hunt had come up semi-close to the Lock, Dean had proclaimed that both he and the Impala were in need of the facilities of the demon hunting organization.

Sam also figured his brother wanted to see Faith again. While the woman, and her life partner, didn't show any signs of discomfort in Dean's presence several others did. It had been a good part of the reason Sam had pushed Dean to travel more for hunts.

On the way there the conversation had turned to the Lock's efforts to save Dean from his deal, and their lack of results.

They didn't blame them, not really. The fact that they didn't have anything either would have made it hard to, but with over nine months gone and less then three remaining it was always on their minds.

Or at least it was until Sam let slip that his face to face sit down with Lex had started as she was leaving the women's showers... naked. Ever since then Dean had been pestering him for details of what the woman looked like nude, because Dean was apparently the only person of age in the demon hunting facility who hadn't glimpsed her treasures at one point or another.

Yet despite his brother's bad luck the idea of describing what he had seen, and Dean's subsequent response was too upsetting to contemplate.

"Look Dean. If you are that curious why don't you just ask one of the women she was in the shower with!"

That brought Dean up short, one of his grins breaking out. "She wasn't just in the shower with a woman, but multiple women, as in more then one?"

Sam deflated. "It's not like I saw. I mean she was leaving the shower. I just saw her..."

He was saved from his blunder as they reached the control room, Oracle's temple, and found the place buzzing with activity.

That didn't stop Willow though as she smiled and briefly looked over from her computer's monitor.

"Hi guys! How was the ghost hunt?"

Dean's reply was distracted as he walked over to her. "A little salt, a little lighter fluid, a touch of grave desecration, nothing out of the ordinary. What's up with you?"

"Mission." Was her single word reply as she nodded solemnly.

Then her head suddenly popped up. "Hey Riley!"

The brown haired solder replied. "Yeah?"

"Can Sam and Dean sit in on the briefing?"

Finn seemed to take a moment, and then nod. "If they double time it."

"Double time" to pick up the pace, was an old military term. It was one the Marine John Winchester had used with his two boys often, and they found themselves already hurrying to follow without having to think about it.

Getting to the conference room they found the place packed. Gibbs and his team were there as was all of Scooby Squad. The other Sam, Samantha Finn, Cameron, Ducky, and Jimmy were there as the medical staff, while Riley, Faith, and Tara there as the command staff.

Most were calm and chattering, but Tara was obviously displeased about something. So much that Sam actually made sure to check if she seemed unduly upset that Dean was sitting in on their briefing.

Luckily for Dean at least Tara didn't even look over at their entrance, but seemed to be angry over something else.

From the way Faith reached to take Tara's hand and give it a squeeze, and Tara responded with an expression that was still mad, but promising forgiveness it was fairly obvious it was something between the women.

Once she had that moment with Tara however Slayer stepped to the front of the room to start speaking. "Let's get started."

"To the rest of the world zombie powder is just a cocktail of neurotoxins that cause damage to higher brain functions. When combined with proper conditioning it can then convince a subject they died and have been reanimated to serve the person who doses them. Those of us more in the know are aware that there ARE other blends of zombie powder that DO kill and reanimate the subject. We are now in possession of reliable intel that someone has managed to weaponize one of those blends, and is offering it to the highest bidder."

She gave that a moment to sink in before she continued. "The weaponized zombie powder has been described as a bright cobalt blue of fairly fine consistency. Initial exposure is still via an oral vector, but once the subject drops and their body reanimates control seems impossible as it seeks to attack all living subjects they come across and they are able to pass it on via an infectious bite."

Dean then spoke. "So it's a Romero Bomb?"

Faith nodded. "That works."

To the sides Xander of Scooby Quad and Gibbs second in command Anthony DiNozzo nodded, but that didn't surprise Sam. When they were spending off time at the Lock if Faith was unavailable Dean usually hung out with one or both of the movie aficionados and they would watch movies on literally the best audio/visual equipment there was.

Picking up a remote to fire up the large viewing screen behind her with a map of Gary, Indiana with a spot on the map already circled in red.

"While our weapons dealers were likely more worried about securing themselves from both cops as well as any potential double crosses from their clients then they were about exposing civilians to the Romero Bomb they still picked a nice, isolated locale in the rust belt of Gary Indiana."

Pushing another button on the remote a magnified map came up with the same large red circle now at the outer edges of the screen. "Gibbs, you will be taking your people, plus Sam... " She looked briefly from Samantha Finn to Sam Winchester. "Doctor Finn I mean, Ducky, Cameron, and Jimmy and setting up containment. I've already outlined roughly the area I want covered, but it's your containment zone so I'll leave the particulars up to you. What I'm looking for though is an area of this size with nothing in or out you wouldn't need a microscope to see."

Gibbs nodded and looked over to Lex. "Work with the war wizards." Lex nodded as Gibbs then looked to McGee. "Set up the electronics and work with Lex. I know some kind of shield wouldn't be realistic but something that will repel animals small enough to escape notice, but large enough to get infected combined with some sort of detection would be good." McGee nodded as well and both he and Lex started entering ideas into their touch pads.

Then looking to the medical staff she waited until all four were looking at her. "You are going to have a containment vehicle that's built into a modified semi trailer. It will have a decon shower at the entrance and as six human sized containment cells, along with individual portable containment vessels and room to house another half dozen more."

Doctor Mallard was taken back at that. "Are we expecting an outbreak?"

She shook her head. "We're preparing for an outbreak in order to prevent one."

Willow was the one Faith looked to next. "We have our cover set?"

The red head nodded. "The CDC knows that a counter-terror unit will be moving in to secure a black market bio-weapon, and while they will have resources to contain some exposure they have been asked to be ready to assist if it get's past our resources... mainly the real story except I left out the zombie stuff."

Everyone smiled at that all too accurate description. Though Faith was down to business as she turned to Samantha Finn. "I'm not looking for it to happen, but if that's the case you will be our liaison with them."

That Doctor nodded as Faith turned to Buffy. "Scooby Squad will be securing the area inside the containment zone. It's likely they've cleared out the area of civilians already, but it will be up to you to verify."

Buffy Summers, aka Scooby One had to comment. "I don't like the idea of having to draw on civilians."

"Carry non-lethal weapons." Was Faith's reply. "We don't know how careful our opposition has been in securing their weapon so we have to treat them all as potential zombies. Our intel stated that lethality was within three to six hours, but I am ordering twenty four hours of confinement for all those potentially exposed. So it's your job to get them there and secured one way or another."

It was obvious Buffy didn't like the idea, but she didn't argue.

Then taking a breath Faith reached out to touch Tara's tense shoulder before starting to speak. "I will be the one entering the building to secure the weapon. Once I do so I will order the containment vehicle brought right up to the building where I will enter whatever containment vessel is available."

"Apollo will be ready with a chopper loading incendiaries to level the place, but ideally we will hand over containment to the CDC for the remainder of twenty four hours. If nothing happens we'll call the mission a success and hope we stopped it entirely."

Now everyone knew why Tara was as angry as she was, but they figured if Tara was no longer arguing they needn't bother.

Dean Winchester on the other hand wasn't as clued in to the subtleties at the Lock. "You are NOT going in there alone!"

Not only was everyone surprised at Dean contradicting her, but also at the downright insubordinate way he did so.

Her voice was calm. "This is not a debate Dean."

So Dean turned to the rest of the room. "You can't be okay with this?"

Faith's voice was still calm, but developing an edge. "Not a democracy Dean."

At that Dean pointed to Tara. "Are you REALLY going to let her do this?"

Now Faith's voice had a crack of command. "You are now out of line Winchester! Tara is the head administrator of the facility, and mission controller. I am the CO, I give the orders. What she and I may or may not have discussed is not open for discussion. I picked the best person for the job. End of story. This has nothing to do with you are your brother's case, and I have allowed you to sit in as a courtesy. Remember that!"

As this was happening Sam was tugging on the back of his brother's jacket to urge him to sit back down. When Faith finished he actually gave a light kick to the back of Dean's knees, which dropped Dean back into the chair.

Chapter 24.

Faith would have tried to adjust her outfit, but there wasn't really anything to adjust. Feeling like fetish wear, and as a as snug as wetsuit it was the Lock's version of a bio-hazard suit.

It actually combined more then a few pieces of underwater operations tech that had been adapted to dry land it was worn snug to not interfere if one was called on to fight, it even had a thin layer of Kevlar, but that was more to assure the suits integrity then to armor the wearer.

The internal atmosphere had also been adapted to keep the user cooled since the otherwise form fitting outfit would broil it's wearer before anything of note could be accomplished.

Slayer was decked out in hers, which as a regular op had been custom fit. That was also the case for Scooby Squad who was operating inside the containment zone while Gibbs and those maintaining quarantine were in the traditional bulky bio-hazard outfits in case someone managed to see them.

Luckily containment had went up without a hitch as no one had cause to be in the rust belt section of Gary at night... at least amongst the legal sections still remaining in the economically depressed area.

It was looking like those with less then legal dealings had either been paid off or killed off as Scooby Squad had found body dumps, but not enough to account for all the gangs known in the area.

So far the only living souls the Lock's assets had encountered had been the Lock's people, and Dean Winchester. He had been apologetic, while he hadn't served his father had, and Dean admitted he should have been more respectful to a commander giving orders to her troops.

In the end when he mentioned he knew how to handle large vehicles like the semi pulling their containment vessel Faith decided to put his driving skills to use while still speaking to both Buffy and Gibbs that he might need to be secured if he tried to actually defy her orders rather then merely question them.

All was quiet, and even as she kicked herself for thinking it as she approached the old Church Spike had told them would contain the auction... it was TOO quiet.

There were vehicles that indicated the buyers had arrived... unfortunately the dealers had timed the releasing of the info so no one party could arrive early enough to attempt to steal the weapon. Which was essentially what they were out to do.

Stalking closer she could see the lights were on, but again, no sounds were to be heard.

Her H&K was up off her shoulder and the heavy weight of the suppressor was waving round as she scanned the night.

Slipping closer to the building the lack of guards for people who had been so careful had already set her nerves on edge. When she got closer she could see the dirt around her chosen entry point had been disturbed like the guard had charged inside.

Yet it felt strangely comforting as things might be FUBAR, but that was a familiar situation compared to the unknown.

Keying her throat mic she whispered. "It looks like whoever was standing guard ran inside."

Witch Woman's calm tones came to her. "Roger that Slayer. How do you want to proceed?"

Her mic was keyed again. "Scooby Quad hasn't found anything inside containment so I want them pulling close to monitor the situation. Otherwise hold positions."

Tara's reply was quiet, but Faith recognized it as the controlled quiet the witch had cultivated to keep her worry from her voice. "Roger that."

Slipping into the abandoned Church Faith scowled. While it made sense to keep the place well lit to repel invaders like her she REALLY had been hoping for some concealing darkness.

Her side entrance had put her near the kitchen. A deliberate choice as it would be a place of heavy movement as refreshments would be getting brought into the main sale area so her entrance wouldn't raise alarms until it was too late.

She wound up being the one alarmed when she entered the kitchen, and found three forms standing there staring into space. They could only be called forms as they were already dead, but to her continuing alarm they didn't react to her.

It took a second before she realized her bio-hazard suit must be masking her life signs to their perception. It made sense really. No heat, no scent, no sounds other then those that would be the mechanics of her internal oxygen supply.

Which left her a decision. Did she slip past and hurry to the Romero Bomb? Leaving zombies at her back that could increase the chances of a mass rush of zombies like in one of said director's movies? Or did she take them as she found them? Possibly starting off said mass rush, but of a lesser number.

What cinched it for her was not wanting to leave them at her back. So taking a deeper gulp of her bottled air she lifted the H&K, switching it to semi-automatic fire. She wasn't sure what would kill them, but that was also another reason to start now, closer to the door she could make a retreat and have Apollo level the place if things went sideways this early.

Three suppressed shots where she decided to use the Romero strategy of placing them in the head, and three fell right where they stood. Their dead states emphasized by the absolute silence in which they fell.

Though her helmet muffled her hearing Faith strained the enhanced sense to see if there was any indication from farther in that they had heard her.

Satisfied there was none she tapped her throat mic. "Weapon hot, guessing bidding got heated and someone went lead instead of gold since I've got bodies with bullets that aren't mine."

Witch Woman came back, her voice again a controlled calm. "Roger that Slayer. Having Boss Man tighten containment a block closer, will radio CDC to set one a bock wider, and double quarantine to forty eight hours."

Dean Winchester's voice then came over the system, lacking control. "Containment vehicle?"

Tara gave the order before Faith could. "Move with new containment, and hold for orders."

Faith's last transmission before moving deeper was a bit of tactical advice. "Romero had it. Head shots if you need to."

Two more were encountered and neutralized on her way to the heart of the Church, the only place where there would have been room for the auction.

Once there Faith had to bite down a curse. The auction had went bad. The exact reason didn't really matter as the point was the Romero Bomb was sitting on the altar, and had been punctured by several rounds as the bullets had flew, and while most don't realize it, unless you get a head shot bullet wounds aren't usually INSTANTLY fatal.

Much to Faith's dismay that meant they had time to get infected before they died, and then once they were dead they must have got right back up to kill those who had survived the shoot out.

Which would mean that the dying, and rising were separate functions. Assuming she survived she would have to be sure to note that in her report.

No one would blame her for pulling out right then and just ordering Apollo to level the place with fires that would wipe out the man made plague right then and there. Except that they couldn't be 100% sure it would. They couldn't even be 100% sure there weren't samples elsewhere in the world.

The only way to be sure was to get a sample, and the only way to get a sample was to shuffle her way into what was upwards of 20 zombies of unknown nature.

She timed her moves slow. To say "zombie-like" embarrassed her, but that was what she was doing, and it worked to get her to the altar, but as she slid the container into a bio-hazard vessel she had brought for just that purpose, her motions got through to whatever primitive drive motivated the zombies and they all started turning to her.

"Of course." Was just thought, rather then voiced as she clipped the bio-hazard vessel to her web gear and lifted the H&K. Four head shots dropped those closest to her before she flipped it to auto and laid a sweeping burst at leg level.

Several fell, and several others fell climbing over them to get to her as she jumped up on the altar, and jumped for the choir loft. Her left hand grabbed the railing as her right foot found purchase on the outside of the loft. For a brief moment she thought she might slip, but her left leg managed to find support against the figure of the Crucifixion hanging behind the altar.

Without even thinking about it she turned and looked at the carved Christ. "Thanks." Before she finished climbing into the choir loft and ran into the hallway connecting it to the rest of the Church.

"They know I'm here! Apollo get airborne! Toast the place as soon as it's in your sites! Dean! Back up a block away."

"That's not close enough!" Was his reply.

She shouted back. "I can get myself out! I need the decon shower and containment to make sure I don't infect anyone as I do!"

The small hallway made even the H&K difficult to wield so she slung it at her shoulder with her right while her left was drawing a parang. Like a machete but featuring a curve it normally was to cut through underbrush, but with Faith's slayer strength behind the wicked blade it beheaded a zombie easily.

Another attempted to grab for her, and was also beheaded for it's trouble. Though in that case the blade cut crosswise under the ears to remove enough of the zombie's head to count.

Making a window she dove out it, catching herself on the windowsill. The parang was holstered as she hung there before she pulled herself up. Hearing the semi backing up she hauled herself up and scaled to the roof.

Running along it she marked the vehicle's path and dove to it, but short of it.

Landing on her feet she hurried to the open doors, ripping off her gear and hurling it into the large container she knew was there for her to do just that. Her bio-hazard outfit was next, until she stepped naked into the decon shower.

There she found Nurse Cameron Baum. At first Slayer had wanted to insist that she could take care of her decontamination alone, but the medical staff had disagreed in unison, and Baum had insisted that her work in the MASH before coming to the Lock included how to handle decontamination.

It had cause Faith to sigh, but she was part of a unit. She risked her life for them, and they risked their lives for her.

She might not like it, but she couldn't call that a bad thing.

Chapter 25.

Tara frowned. She wasn't having any luck finding Dean Winchester. It wasn't to have it out with him or anything as several of the people she had asked about his location had thought, but now she wondered if that was what Dean was thinking.

It made it all the more important for her to find him and talk to him, to let him know she understood. Though Dean might not have the same tact or discretion that Galen had with his feelings for her it hadn't been the first time someone had developed romantic feelings for one (or as Lex continued to tease, both) of the Lock's leading ladies.

Most of the men and women were content to adore from afar which ever one had captured their feelings, but even then both of them had always tried to be as gentle as they possibly could with the feelings of their admirers.

After Dean's blow up in the briefing for the Romero Bomb she thought it was time to try to talk to him. From what she had picked up about Dean Winchester it was probably past time to try to get him to open up a bit and let out some of the pain the man was so obviously carrying around with him.

There! His brother could help her! "Sam?"

The younger, but noticeably taller Winchester brother turned around smiling. "Hey Tara. What's up?"

She returned the smile. "I was wondering if you could help me find your brother. I think he may be avoiding me."

His smile faded a bit, but only a little bit. "Does he have reason to?"

Her smile became the lopsided grin even the brothers were now well aware of. "No Sam, none at all. He is not the first person to fall for Faith. I trust her implicitly, and I think deep down he knows just how devoted she and I are to each other. I just think it might help him to talk about his feelings on the subject, and anything else he needs to get out."

Sam's eyes got wide, and his smile grew. "You want to talk to Dean... about his feelings?"

Tara's smile grew, and Sam froze. When he finally found his voice he put an arm over her shoulder. "You know what Tara? I would LOVE to see you help my brother open up on all those things he just can't seem to share with me."

While Tara's smile was obviously in sincere agreement if one looked closer at Sam they might see his smile looked a little bit cruel as he led the witch to his brother.

Sam had been a great help, knowing Dean, and perhaps just knowing hunting enough to finally track his brother down in the control room where he was looking over Willow's shoulder.

There Willow was pointing angrily at her screen. "See! There it is again."

The younger Winchester didn't pay any attention as he walked up to his brother with his hands proudly on Tara's shoulders. "Dean! Tara here was thinking you two should probably sit down and have a talk."

Dean froze.

"About your feelings." Was said with a very large smile on Sam's face, because while Dean can and would throw punches if Sam tried too hard to get him to talk about something he didn't want to talk about he knew Dean wouldn't have that option with a girl who was just genuinely concerned about him.

Willow stopped mid-tirade. "Resistance is futile Dean. You will share and care."

Dean looked terrified, and Sam looked delighted, but then Dean quickly looked to Willow, and started speaking in a panicked clip. "No, no! I mean I'd love to open up and share what I'm really feeling deep inside, but there is work to be done! Willow has a case!"

Tara and Sam looked to Willow, and Willow looked back to her monitor, finding the outrage she had before they her entered the room.

"Right! Milan Ohio! Phones going haywire, computers flipping on and off!" Seeing Tara was about to excuse some technological glitches Willow quickly continued. "And houses getting called by SHA33!"

Sam had a quizzical expression "Wasn't that like back before they had real phone numbers?"

Willow was nodding enthusiastically. "Yep! You picked up the phone, turned the crank, and then told the operator who you were trying to call."

"Must have made phone sex difficult." Was Dean's comment.

"Or added a whole other level of sexy." Was Willow's quick reply before continuing. "But! I've been checking and one of those called by SHA33 committed suicide, so I started calling the others, posing as a phone company employee... guys they eventually admitted they were talking to the dead."

Though it was not terribly unusual for Sam and Dean to speak in unison, this time Tara was in unison as well as all three said. "What?"

"I talked to an 84 year old grandmother who admitted she's having phone sex with her husband who died in Korea." Was Willow's answer.

"Rocks my understanding of necrophilia." Was Dean's reply.

Tara took a breath. "Okay. Any thoughts on the cause?"

Again Willow's head nodded enthusiastically. "EDISON!" Everyone stared at her blankly and Willow sighed loudly. "Milan Ohio is Thomas Edison's birthplace. Where they have his spirit phone!"

Seeing everyone come up short she charged on. "When he wasn't busy stealing other people's ideas and taking credit for them he was totally messing with the occult, coming up to building a spirit phone... which didn't seem to work! Probably because he had made it himself rather then having stolen the idea from someone else!"

Dean then held up a hand to try to slow Willow down. "But if it didn't work then how would it be working now?"

She looked at Dean like he was stupid. "The Devil's Gate."

His brother Sam could only repeat the words. "The Devi's Gate?"

Another sigh from Willow. "Yeah... Okay, gate opens, evil souls pour out..."

Dean interrupted. "You're assuming Edison went to Hell."

Tara put her hands on Willow's shoulders. The two women had been together for a good amount of time, and she was familiar with Willow's feelings on the inventor. "Actually Edison WAS renown for stealing other peoples ideas and calling them his own. Lex confirmed there is a circle for greed, and he would heave almost definitely earned a place there."

"Yeah!" Was Willow's enthusiastic reply. "And they could have stripped away his humanity over the course of an afternoon. So he gets out, maybe remembers his spirit phone, starts using it to torment people!"

Sam had to nod. "He was kind of a douche."

Tara frowned. "You guys want to take this? I'll cover expenses?"

Willow interrupted. "And I'll help you nail that invention stealing bastard from here!"

With nothing to follow up on in regards to breaking Dean's contract they decided to go to Milan Ohio to hunt Demon Edison.

It didn't turn out to be Demon Edison, but rather a crocotta, a being that could feed on people's souls, that had learned how to use technology to lure it's victims to do so.

They had managed to stop it, Sam killing it by stabbing it in the back of the neck, and now it was being autopsied by Doctor Mallard.

What had been of perhaps more interest was that the creature had shown it could interface with technological items with a touch... something similar to how Willow detected his access, and then manged to send a lightening spell THROUGH the lines to fry it to the point Sam had little trouble finishing it off.

Tara was now standing in front of Willow's "altar" where the computer expert, and what Tara was now thinking techno-witch, was looking at her shoes.

"Willow, Sweetie, you need to tell me EXACTLY what you've been doing to your baby here?" Tara emphasized her words by touching the red head's keyboard, while Willow's reply was to bite her bottom lip, and not meet Tara's kind, but questioning gaze.

Chapter 26.

Screams filled the air in the small ramshackle cabin where Faith was staying with Sam and Dean, but she did nothing.

She did nothing because the one screaming was the demon trapped inside the body of an African-American male that the brothers were torturing for information on Dean's contract.

All she could do was watch, because ever since she had tortured Wesley to try to get Angel to kill her she had lost any and all taste for cruelty she may have had, and despite the violent life she lived she had never had much anyway.

"I want a name!" Was said by Dean Winchester as he leaned in over the man strapped to a chair inside a Devil's Trap painted on the floor.

"Or what? You're going to squirt your holy water in both ends?" Was the demon's reply. "Please! Brother, that's a flea bite compared to what's coming to me if I tell you jack. Do what you want, the one thing I'm scared of is the demon holding your ticket."

That was the trick for Faith. While she had personal issues over straight up torture she knew interrogation wasn't just a matter of beating, cutting or burning the answers out of a person, but rather creating the conditions where they would want to tell you what you want to know.

It was with that in mind she picked up one of the sturdier looking wooden chairs, and stepped between the Winchesters to set it backwards facing the demon before she straddled it to sit on it.

Sam and Dean looked confused, but stepped aside as the demon smiled. "All right! You, you can do what you want to me, and I won't even ask for a safe word."

That just had her shaking her head, and speaking softly, but with a warmth that her "Slayer" register didn't have. "If you don't know who I am then we're wasting our time and I'll have Sammy here whisper sweet Latin nothings, and we'll look for someone higher up on the totem pole."

"I know who you are!" Was the demon's growled reply.

"Then say it." Was again soft, warm, but somehow cruel.

The moment stretched until the demon reluctantly spoke. "Faith, the founder of the modern slayer line."

"Good, you need to know who I am, and what I am capable of when I say I want to make a deal." Was said by Faith as she rested her elbows on the back of the chair and laced her hands to rest her chin on them.

"Done! Your soul for the name of the demon holding Dean's contract!"

She actually laughed, in that same soft, cruel tone. "Not quite. My deal is this, imprisonment. You know me, then you know I've got the world's last Detton on my payroll. She's got the Goetia down pat, and could make you a nice comfy little vessel in which to while away the next millennia or so. You'll be hidden away, as secure as I can make you, because I WILL try to keep you contained as long as I can manage, but they won't send you back to Hell, and this demon you are so afraid of would have to find you in one of my vaults first. You give us a name, I give you a way out of the game."

The demon's eyes narrowed. "Never saw you as the good cop."

Her smile was malicious. "Neither did I, but make no mistake. While I'll hide you I'll be the one hiding you. I find out you fed me bad intel your soul would be back in Hell with a note pinned to it that you talked, but I keep my word, you talk, and you'll be protected."

To the brother's surprise the demon actually seemed to be considering it before he looked up. "No. Don't get me wrong, I'm guessing your Detton gave you lessons on the art of the deal, but demon memories last longer then any vessel could hold me, and I don't think you'll win so that would still mean I'd have... Hell to pay."

Looking closer she could see the truth, he wouldn't break, the fear of this unknown demon was greater then anything they could do to him.

It's said that everyone has their breaking point, it had been a part of Faith's training in resisting interrogation, but she knew that it was different for all people.

While her Agent Ziva David had been tortured for months out in the desert without breaking Faith was pretty sure that if Abby was brought in and tortured in front of her Ziva would crack fairly quickly.

Though this demon might have something that could make him crack they didn't have the time to find it.

That was the problem, that was why they were desperate enough to take up this tactic, they were down to three weeks before Dean's deal would come due.

Though Lex didn't really have it in her to give up Faith knew the woman enough to know when she had reached the point of going through the motions. The reason she had reached the point had been expressed to Faith as Dean got what he wanted, and he still wants it, he just doesn't want to pay for it. Which was the inescapable truth of it. Dean wanted Sam alive, Sam's alive, now three weeks away from the bill coming due Dean's out to welsh on his end.

She was still going to do everything to help him, the whole Lock was, but every mystic, karmic rule and concept was coming down on the demon's side.

It was why she was traveling with them again. While she didn't see herself as having much chance of fighting off all the hell hounds that would come for Dean's soul at the appointed time, as the hell hounds actually sent out by Hell were invisible to all but those they came for, she knew that between slayer muscle and Lock clout she would be able to help them use every possible moment of Dean's last three weeks to try to find a solution.

Exorcizamus te, omnis immundus spiritus

Sam Winchester had started reciting the exorcism, and the demon's pained response was immediate.

"How's that feel? Does that feel good?" It was unsurprising that Dean was the lead interrogator.

"Go ahead, send me back to Hell." Was what the demon said when Sam stopped long enough for the demon to stop shouting. "Cause when you get there I'll be waiting for you with a few pals who are dying for a nice little meet and greet with Dean Winchester."

At that the demon started laughing while Sam said "Should I?"

Dean replied. "Send him some place where he can't hurt anyone else."

Exorcizamus te, omnis immundus spiritus

omnis satanica potestas, omnis incursio
infernalis adversarii, omnis legio,
omnis congregatio et secta diabolica.
Ergo draco maledicte
et omnis legio diabolica
adjuramus te.
Cessa decipere humanas creaturas,
eisque aeternae Perditionis venenum propinare.

Vade, Satana, inventor et magister
omnis fallaciae, hostis humanae salutis.
Humiliare sub potenti manu dei,
contremisce et effuge, invocato a
nobis sancto et terribili nomine,
quem inferi tremunt.

Ab insidiis diaboli, libera nos, Domine.
Ut Ecclesiam tuam secura tibi facias libertate servire
te rogamus, audi nos.
Ut inimicos sanctae Ecclesiae humiliare digneris,
te rogamus, audi nos.

Terribilis Deus de sanctuario suo.
Deus Israhel ipse truderit virtutem
et fortitudinem plebi Suae.
Benedictus deus. Gloria patri.

The demon's screams throughout the exorcism didn't phase Faith as they were actually getting something done about the creature. Unfortunately the demon possessing the man had put enough strain on the body that the by the time it was cast out the body had expired.

Faith took a fingerprint card and got the prints of the corpse. They might not have been able to save his life, but with the Lock's resources they could at least make sure that no family was out there wondering where their loved one had vanished to.

Of course they couldn't tell them the whole story, but they wold concoct a lie that would give closure to those that wouldn't have any if they just buried him in the woods surrounding the cabin they were now in.

The body was now wrapped in a tarp outside waiting for retrieval by some of her people while Sam was trying to find some high ground to get a signal strong enough to transmit the finger prints to Willow for identification.

She was alone with Dean in the living room in the cabin when he looked to her. "Why do I get the feeling you're biting down an 'I told you so?"

Faith shook her head. "No, not really. I've just been trained enough to know that getting intel via torture is sketchy at best, and that's on humans. Quite often they will just make shit up to make the hurting stop."

Dean finished the thought for her. "And demon's are experts at lying and have had Hell itself to build up their pain tolerance. Did you think imprisonment would have worked any better?"

"Another avenue. You can break just about anybody give enough time..."

He went ahead and interrupted. "But we don't have the time."

She frowned. "Dean..."

He had started to pace. "What? Huh? What can you say in this sort of situation? I'm going to Hell, and eventually once he and his buddies are through with me they'll turn me into one of them!"

There wasn't much she could say, but she was still trying to find it when Dean stepped close, grabbing her and pulling Faith into a kiss.

At first there was plain old shock as her reflexes didn't register Dean as a threat so they hadn't kicked in to kick him across the room. Then, for a brief moment there was Dean, strong callused hands, muscled chest and arms, and a nice manly scent, then she felt his tongue.

Faith then pushed him back, not with full slayer strength as he would have crashed into the wall, but enough to send him back several steps.

Her hand rubbed across her kiss swollen lips as she shook her head.

"No Dean, just, just no."

Dean took one step closer. "Come on! You telling me there is nothing here?"

A long inhale was followed by a long exhale. "No Dean, I can admit I have feelings for you. Real feelings, and for me that's pretty fucking amazing because while guy friends are friends who happen to be guys I've always viewed guys as fairly disposable."

He took another step closer, and she held up a hand to keep him back. "But I LOVE Tara. Dean I love Tara in ways I didn't think were possible, and if I was willing to admit that kind of love was possible I damn sure didn't think I was capable of loving someone like that."

Her voice softened, seemed to glow, and as it did Dean could only slump his shoulders. "She taught me otherwise, she taught me that kind of love was real, she taught me that I could love someone that way. Dean, I like you, I like you a lot, but I love her, and I will never do anything I know could hurt her. I'm sorry."

"You're sorry you're in love?" Was all he could say.

She shook her head sadly. "I'm sorry I can't love you like that. I'm sorry I can't be that for you."

Chapter 27.

The uncomfortable silence was broken by Dean's phone ringing. It was Sam telling them they needed to meet him about a quarter mile from the cabin up a hill where he had managed to get a signal strong enough to transmit to Willow.

Willow had already started a video conference with Sam, who had set the lap top on a fallen tree. When she saw them arrive she started speaking louder. "Dean! Dean! Do you remember Doc Benton?"

"Who? Was Dean's first reply, but then he froze. "Wait? Didn't our dad gank him?"

It had been one of Willow's recent projects, but she had eventually managed to convince the Winchester brothers to let her scan their Dad's hunting journal into her system.

While the pair had been understandably reluctant to share a family heirloom like that, the amount of hunting lore contained had already been saving lives in the brother's hands. The shared info could only do even more good in the hands of the massive hunting organization.

Sam nodded. "Cut out his heart. Turns out that might not have been enough. I'll let Willow fill you in."

"Surgical grade organ thefts, multiple cases, but get this, the surgical techniques are about a century and a half old, silk thread, maggots to control infection."

Dean scrunched his face up. "Maggots?"

His brother grinned. "Maggots eat dead tissue while leaving healthy tissue alive."

Faith held up her hand as she grimaced. "Okay, can someone brief me as I try to not loose my lunch?"

Sam smiled. "Doc Benton, brilliant New Hampshire physician a couple centuries ago he was obsessed with alchemy, more specifically how to live forever."

Dean then picked up the tale. "Disappears for about twenty years, then people pop up missing organs, limbs and stuff. Our Dad managed to track him down and cut out his heart, but like Sammy said cutting out his heart didn't cut it."

She nodded. "Okay Oracle, we got a fix?"

"Eerie, Pennsylvania, and I'm pretty sure I even got a fix on his location."

All three pulled closer to the monitor that now had a map on it with several hunting cabins circled. As they looked at the map Willow's voice came over the speakers. "According to John's Journal he liked dense woods with access to a river for disposing of his victims guts."

Faith scowled. "Again, working on not puking."

The monitor flashed back to showing Willow Rosenberg's grinning face. "So, can you guys add anything? We're going to send Gibbs team up that way to close down the good Doctor's practice."

Sam quickly interrupted. "We can do it!" When Faith, Dean, and even Willow over the monitor looked at him closely Sam quickly continued. "I mean it's family business and all. Settling up for Dad."

At the other living Winchester Dean gave his brother a long look. "Bullshit. You want to take time from trying to save my soul to take an old case off of Dad's books?"

The younger brother relented under the three stares. "This is what will save your soul Dean! You can't go to Hell unless you die. Well guess what? Doc Benton can't die! We figure out what he did, we do it to you."

"What? I drink blood out of a baby's skull and I live forever?"

Willow was the one to interrupt. "No signs of that. The journal says that Benton's a alchemist, not a black magick user. So it's really, really weird science, but science."

"Okay, so then I just need to start stealing organs in say 50 years or so."

"Umm, maybe not." Was Willow's reply. "We can rebuild you Dean. We have the technology. We were actually going to try to nab Benton's notes because we want to figure out how he can integrate so many different organs without signs of rejection."

Faith filled in the blank for the brothers. "We have working cybernetic technology. The problem is the one critically injured solider we experimented on to save his life has a body that's so stressed he has to use an electric razor because his body would have trouble healing even nicking himself while shaving."

Sam held his hands wide. "See? This is perfect! You guys get the formula so you can help your friend. Dean get's to not die and therefore not go to Hell, and you guys just give him artificial replacements as his natural organs wear out."

Dean shouted. "No, no way! I just keep going till I get turned into a fucking robot? Nah uh!"

Sam ran his fingers through his hair angrily. "Beats going to Hell!" He then stepped closer to his brother, his voice imploring. "Look Dean, we just need time. We just need time to find a better solution, and this can give us the time."

Faith physically stepped between them. "Okay! Look! Right now we have a possible way to save Dean, and a definite threat to civilians. This debate can be shelved until we have the notes and make sure there are no blood sacrifices or anything, and that there's a good chance the body could accept cybernetics."

Dean looked at her. "What do you mean 'good chance?"

She frowned. "Dean, we wouldn't have even used the cyber if our guy hadn't been dying in front of our eyes. It's cutting edge stuff, and we're still figuring out the details of how it interfaces with a normal human body, let alone one with an alchemical immortality serum in it."

He scowled right back at her. "So what? You figure this out you get to field you own army of Arnolds?"

Her voice was sad. "Actually our hope would be for the soldiers coming back from Afghanistan and Iraq. We rebuilt as much as we did the first time because that was how much damage was done, but we're not out to field armies of cybernetic super soldiers, we just want to find a way to repair those men and women who have already served and gave up parts of their own bodies in the process."

That got him, and Dean caved. They headed to Eerie, Pennsylvania to see if it was in fact Doc Benton, and if so to try to stop him, and get his notes. Dean made sure both Sam and Faith knew that was the order they were going in, and neither argued.

At least not right away, once they had caught Benton, by Dean stabbing the man with a knife coated in chloroform, as the man couldn't be killed, but could be knocked out.

When he regained consciousness though he tried to start bargaining, offering to translate the notes for them, to give them his formula for immortality, and Sam wanted to cut a deal.

Dean however wouldn't. He had obviously been thinking about it, and had come to the conclusion that he would rather die human and go to Hell then live as something else. He had still given Faith the notes in hopes they might find a formula that would ease the rejection caused by cybernetic implantation, but it wouldn't be for him.

He did however insist that Doc Benton be disposed of, and Faith was inclined to agree. The man had been butchering people for their parts for over a century and a half, and needed to be put down.

Briefly she had considered keeping him as a test subject, but that code that she clung to, that code that carried her through battlefield after battlefield told her that was going to far.

They weren't out to make immortals, and since Dean wasn't interested in having them bend the rules for him they were just out to find a way to ease implantation. That would be a whole new set of equations, and what little help the Doctor could provide wouldn't equal holding him accountable for his crimes.

It was with that in mind Faith, Sam and Dean were pallbearers in an unusual procession. Unusual as the Doctor had awakened and was again promising to share his immortality formula with them if they would just let him go.

Instead they loaded him into the crematorium at the funeral home they had broken into. They didn't know if the pile of ashes that would be left wold still be the immortal Doc Benton, but they figured scattering them afterwards would at the very least eliminate the problem of the immortal Doc Benton.

Chapter 28.

"So he kissed you?" Was Lex's incredulous reply into her earpiece as she kept getting ready for her date. "How many bones did you break?"

"None." Was Faith's reply, which was quickly followed by. "And it wasn't just him, for half a second I kissed him back, but then I came to my senses, and shoved him away."

Lex frowned. "Are you going to expect me to keep this from Tara?"

"I told her before I told you."

Looking in the mirror to check her hair and make up Lex nodded. "And she forgave you?"

The Slayer's response seemed a little offended. "Said there was nothing to forgive. She said I had a choice, and I chose her, as she knew I would. I like Dean. I know it, she knows it, Dean knows it, and now so do you."

"I already knew it." Was Lex's interruption.

"Either way Tara said that you can like someone, you can have feelings for someone, being in a monogamous relationship doesn't mean that part of you dies. It means that that one person you devoted yourself to has the biggest and best part of it."

"You have the best girlfriend. I think you two could actually get ME to settle down."

That had Faith's tone shifting to amused. "The two of us huh?"

"Yeah." Lex replied. "It would take both, but think of it Faith, you spooning me, me spooning Tara... it would be beautiful."

"Of course we'd all be naked." Was Faith's grinned reply.

"Of course." Was Lex's brightly toned response.

"Sorry Lex, I know what a great girlfriend I got, and I'm not sharing. You're going to have to settle for the English thief chick. You ready for her?"

Lex stood up straight and adjusted her bra. "Yep!"

"You know where to find her?"

Again Lex replied. "Yep! I'm actually getting ready in her room."

That had Faith surprised. "Okay... be careful... have fun.. and know you have a blank check to buy the Colt off of her."

"Yep." Was Lex's sad reply.

It was a tone Faith picked up on right away. "Something else?"

Lex sighed. "I can handle it, and it would take too long to get into here. I'll put it in my report."

She didn't like it, but Faith believed in believing in her people. "Okay Lex. I don't like you having to operate without back up, but I agree she'd probably spot it. Call soon."

The trick to securing a site, whether it be a top secret demon hunting facility or just a high-end hotel room was that you couldn't make it impregnable. The idea was more to delay your attackers as you formulated a response. In the case of the aforementioned facility that response was most often to wipe out the attackers, but in a hotel room one's options were more likely keyed to escape.

That Lex was already inside those defenses gave her an advantage, but one she knew she would have to capitalize on early. So as Bella Talbot opened the door into the darkened hotel room and turned to lock it behind her Lex sprung into action.

Taking Bella from behind Lex shoved her firmly, but not forcefully against the door so that Bella was shocked, and surprised enough for Lex to quickly find and disarm her of a automatic pistol, ejecting the clip and working the slide to eject the round in the chamber before tossing the pistol onto one of the two beds in the room.

Being a thief demanded one be fast on their feet and Bella had already recovered her wits. "Lex? While I would normally love to have you pouncing on me in a darkened room I have to ask what you are doing here?"

Lex smiled, turning on the light to help her keep an eye on whatever Bella may try. "While I'm here to discuss business I respect you enough not to trust you."

Amused by the notion Bella had a smile as she put her hands on her hips. "Care to explain that?"

Stepping into the Englishwoman's person space Lex had a playful grin. "You are a very, skilled, very capable, very dangerous woman, and I respect your abilities too much to trust you."

Bella licked her lips. "Thanks, I think." Then her voice dropped to a whisper. "But I thought you were here to discuss business?"

Knowing that part of the art of seduction was showing your own arousal Lex allowed her eyes to focus on what she knew was a deliberate licking of lips on Bella's part.

It was actually one of Lex's seduction tricks, she didn't "fake" arousal like others might, but rather she allowed herself to get aroused while keeping a part of her separate and in control. Like how she allowed herself to focus on Bella's lips rather then reply right away.

She would have, she could have, but the lingering moment combined with the flush rising to Lex's cheeks would do more to let Bella think she had the upper hand.

Still, another key to seduction was not moving too quickly, so she stepped back several paces as she finally spoke. "I am. I know you came into possession of Samuel Colt's Colt and I want to buy it."

Talbot sized Lex up with her eyes as the witch leaned back against the wall. "That's a rather high end item."

Lex shrugged where she lounged back. "I'm a high end kind of gal."

Bella crossed her arms over her chest. "That's certainly true, but you have underwent some changes as of late have you not?"

"How so?" Was Lex's nonchalant response.

A look of distaste crossed Bella's face. "You've come down with a nasty case of altruism. Really Darling, I would have expected you of all people to know to use protection."

While Lex was able to laugh at Bella's words she wasn't given time to respond. "So how are Sam and Dean?"

That Lex didn't flinch at the accusation caused Bella to blink first as Lex spoke. "Still living hand to mouth via credit card schemes. I never said why I wanted the Colt Bella. I want it, I've got money, you like money."

Seeming to realize that she had lost footing when she didn't make Lex react to the accusation of her new found allegiance with the good guys Bella tried to regain ground by stepping close to Lex, putting her hand on the dark magician's collar. "Is that all you have for me?"

In response Lex's hands came to rest on Bella's hips as she replied in a soft voice.

"I'll admit I had hoped. I DO remember how skilled a lover you are," Bella got a wicked grin at the admission. "But I had hoped it more of a celebration of a successful business deal."

Bella stepped even closer, pushing the length of her body against Lex. "But you were ready to seduce me weren't you Lex? I know you too, and I know that even if you've become sloppy enough to fight for the ignorant masses you're still more then ready to use your body to get what you want... at least with a woman of course."

It was going to happen, and Lex was okay with that. Bella was a very beautiful woman, and she was right, while Lex preferred her lovers to be like those at the Lock where it was more a matter of shared pleasure she had grown up where her body was a weapon in her arsenal, and even casual encounters had levels of intrigue.

Before she could voice her consent Bella spoke again, her voice almost dreamy. "It's been forever since I've been with a woman. I don't want to inflate your ego, but after you they all seem to pale."

"They tend to." Was all Lex said before she brought her mouth to Bella's.

Chapter 29.

The English thief moaned into the kiss, and her tongue eagerly danced with Lex's as her arms wrapped around Lex's waist and Lex's arms wrapped around her shoulders, pulling both women even more firmly together.

Bella backed them towards a bed, but Lex pulled their shared progression to the other one, the one she hadn't dropped the pistol on.

Realizing why she did that Bella laughed. "Still don't trust me?"

"Never." Was Lex's reply as she gently pushed Bella back on the bed and straddled her. Since she had been ambushed right as she entered the room Bella was still in a white coat secured by large black buttons, buttons that Lex worked until the coat was cast to the floor to revealed the black power suit like outfit underneath.

Kicking off her heels Bella's hands ran up Lex's taut abdomen, lifting the white t-shirt as they went.

As Lex raised her arms the garment was cast aside to reveal a black lace bra.

Leaning in again Lex stripped Bella down to a lacy red bra before Bella grabbed the other woman's hips firmly and rolled them until she was now on top of Lex, laying between legs clad in black leather.

The thief's delicate touch first explored Lex's muscled midsection before running upward to tease erect nipples through the flimsy material of Lex's bra.

Smiling at the increase of Lex's aroused panting Bella stopped, and stopped, leaning down she lifted up first one leg to remove Lex's boot, and then the other, and once the leather boots were gone the leather pants followed, but as she did so Bella stopped and deliberately inhaled the scent of Lex's arousal.

"Far too long." Was said mostly to herself, and in a level of emotion Bella didn't seem to realize she used.

More focused on Lex at this point Bella stood and stripped down until she was in bra and panties in matching red to Lex's black.

Climbing back on the bed she climbed on top of Lex and the two women started kissing passionately. Bella's fingers were tangled in Lex's hair while Lex's nails were scratching up and down Bella's back.

Bella then deliberately slipped her thigh between Lex's legs to put delightful pressure on that hot, throbbing wet center of Lex's need.

As the kiss broke and Lex moaned loudly Bella started licking Lex's throat, from collar to ear and back again. When at her ear lobe she whispered. "How did you find me?"

After asking the question Bella sucked Lex's earlobe into her mouth while Lex replied. "Spirit Board."

Scraping the lobe lightly with her teeth as Lex whimpered at the sensation Bella laughed. "Makes sense, you taught me how to use mine."

She then started kissing Lex again until she felt Lex working the clasps to her bra.

Sitting back up she pulled her bra away, and then removed Lex's. Moving back in their bodes were pressed together once more, but both gasped at the feelings of their bare breasts pressing together.

This time when Bella's mouth reached Lex's collar it continued down, and Lex ran her fingers through Bella's soft brownish blonde hair as Bella began to suckle Lex's left nipple.

As Lex began to moan Bella's name the woman kissed her way to the right nipple, sucking hard, scraping with her teeth, making Lex arch her body up into Bella's.

Falling back to the bed Lex sat up, pulling Bella up with her, and for a moment the two women simply stared at each other with excited eyes.

Kissing again their actions were fierce, passionate, not dueling for supremacy because the two lovers didn't want it, their passion was mutual, and they knew they could share it, could show it without reservation.

It was why Bella was able to giggle as Lex pushed her down on her back and tugged off Bella's red panties in a single motion.

Standing now at the foot of the bed with Bella laying out, looking up at her seductively Lex picked up both of the woman's feet in her hands, holding them together. First kissing the soles had Bella giggling softly, then as Lex gave a kiss to the inside of each ankle Bella started to pant.

She panted because she knew what was coming next as Lex then put her feet back on the bed, but with them planted wide so she could lay down between Bella's legs.

Lex started at Bella's breasts, passionate, but gentle, teasing, and Bella knew it.

"You bitch." Summed up the woman's thoughts on Lex's teasing tongue.

All she got was a wicked, throaty laugh as first the teasing that had been happening to Bella's breasts started moving lower. Lex's tongue tracing the valley between, and then the curves underneath the soft globes.

Alternating kisses with the soft licking Lex kept moving downward along the rib cage, to the flat, firm stomach twitching under her skilled ministrations.

"Leeeexxxx." Bella's one word was emphasized by her hips arching, trying to get some contact to the center of her need, but Lex was enjoying herself, and she knew that even at her most aching Bella was enjoying it too.

So the slow torture continued as Lex reached Bella's bellybutton and swirled her tongue inside.


Another throaty laugh before Lex put her mouth to better use now kissing the hips that pushed up into her mouth in response.

Sliding lower Lex allowed herself the briefest of tastes of Bella's liquid arousal, and she herself moaned.

"Lex..." The tone was plaintive and Lex looked up into Bella's face as she bent at the waist to look at her. "Are you really going to make me beg?"

A grin first twisted Lex's features, but then she smiled kindly. "No." With that one word she brought her lips to Bella's sex and formed a seal that she used to suck the lips of the other woman's pussy into her mouth.

Alternating that with sliding her tongue inside Lex rested her hands on either side of Bella's sex while her thumbs found the woman's clit and pleasured it in time with Lex's mouth.

Bella's hips were now stilled by a combination of Lex holding them, and by the fact that Bella didn't want to disturb the woman's ministrations, but the top half of Bella's body arched and fell while her legs kicked on either side of Lex.

"Like that..." Bella's breathing was labored. "Lex... Just like that... Right there..."

Again Bella arched up, but now she put her hands behind her on the bed and used that leverage to push herself into Lex's mouth. Her head was back, her eyes were closed... and then she broke. A sob emerged and she fell back to the bed, her legs wrapping around Lex's head as her whole body convulsed.

Once she was breathing again all she could say was "Lex, Lex, Lex." like a sort of mantra. Now that Bella was breathing again her legs were able to release a smiling, messy haired, shiny faced Alexandra Detton who was grinning at Bella with an expression that said the brunette was quite proud of herself.

The first sign of Bella's second wind was when she suddenly sat up and pulled Lex into a fierce kiss.

The sorceress was happy to allow it, and returned it, her tongue carrying Bella's own taste. Something that just seemed to fuel the thief's passion, and Lex was just as unresisting as Bella started pulling down Lex's panties.

Started being the operative word because they hadn't quite reached Lex's knees before Bella's right hand had slipped between Lex's thighs.

Thighs that closed around the intruding hand to keep it there as hips pushed into the contract of their own accord.

"Always..." Lex's head fell back as Bella's fingers penetrated her. "Always loved those fingers... so... so skilled."

In a sitting position Bella had her left arm around Lex, holding the woman up as her right continued to move eagerly while Lex continued to speak. "Such skilled fingers... picking pockets seemed like... like a waste of talent." As she spoke Lex finished kicking off her panties.

Bella laughed her own throaty laugh. "In both cases it's just a matter of knowing how to use them." While Bella had two fingers inside her and her thumb on Lex's clit the two fingers started pushing deeper and Lex's legs spread wide to allow the access.

After taking another passionate kiss from Lex Bella kept speaking, her fingers a gleaming blur between Lex's legs. "Just a matter of finding the right place... to..." Lex screamed her release. "Put them" Was said with a delighted smirk as Bella pulled her fingers free and smiled as she watched Lex squirt.

Even after all this time she still could find the woman's G spot.

Laying back in a boneless sprawl Lex was looking up at Bella adoringly. "Only you Bella, fuck, only you can make me squirt."

Laying on her left side Bella smiled as her eyes drank in Lex's heaving chest, with still hardened nipples and sweat glistening body. "Really? I know how your appetites are. None of your lovers have ever managed?"

Lex didn't even try to lift her head as she shook it. "I can manage on my own, and I've done it so others can see I can do it, but they've never managed."

Leaning in Bella kissed Lex gently. "Well it's nice to know I still could." She then frowned, but quickly forced a smile. "But you look thirsty."

As Bella rolled over to fish into her nightstand Lex found enough strength to caress Bella's firm bottom before Bella rolled back with a bottle of water she was opening with a grin. "You look like you need some fluids."

Lex managed to lift her head to look at the very large wet spot before dropping it back with a laugh. "Looks like."

"Drink up." Was said as Bella used her left hand to smooth back Lex's sweaty, mussed hair while the right lifted the bottle to Lex's lips so she could drink it down greedily.

Coming to Lex knew she wasn't waking up, but rather regaining consciousness. Damn it, the water, she had found it when she searched the room, but hadn't bothered to test it, hadn't really had the time.

Picking up her cellphone she saw the time, and dialed the number that she had deliberately left as the last one that called her.

It picked up and she sighed. "Hi Bella. I suppose I should be glad whatever was in the water was non-lethal."

"I wouldn't have used it otherwise." Was Bella's sincere reply. "They're not here?"

"I wouldn't have left the number in the memory if I didn't know they were on their way out, but, but I respected you enough not to trust you." Was Lex's similarly voiced reply.

"You don't understand." Was what Bella came back with.

Lex's voice was sad. "Actually I'm pretty sure I understand completely. Your Dad abused you badly enough that you were willing to sell your soul to make it stop."

Bella's voice was stunned. "How did you know?"

"Sweetheart we had a good six months, and I'm from a family that's holidays would have any reputable, or even the disreputable psychologists calling me a victim of ritual abuse. I might not have been directly abused like you, but I know, I knew, and I had a good idea when I learned how ten years ago tonight your parents died. Then when I broke into your room I saw the Devil's Shoestring you had tucked above your door. There's only one use for that herb, keeping hell hounds at bay, and the only reason they come out is to kill a pact holder so their soul is delivered to hell."

It was obvious from her tone of voice that Lex didn't want to continue, but she kept going. "It's why you stole the Colt isn't it? Trade it for your soul?"

Bella finally managed to reply. "Yes, but they changed the deal. They wanted me to kill Sam."

"Once they have your name on a contract they don't really believe in renegotiating the terms."

She started crying. "Lex, I need help."

Lex got choked up herself. "I'm sorry Bella, but it's 11:58 pm. Your deal comes due in two minutes. There's nothing I could do even if I was right there, and I'm not." She could hear Bella crying on the other end. "Oh Honey, if you had only come to us sooner, we could have taken the Colt and saved you..."

Bella cut in. "And saved Dean as well. I know about his deal."

"And who told you that?" Was Lex's reply.

"The demon that holds it. She holds mine as well, she says she holds every deal."

"She?" Was Lex's question.

"Her name's Lilith."

Lex was mournful, "Even with this I can't help you Bella, I can't save you. Why are you telling me this?"

Though Bella had obviously clamped down on her emotions the tears were audible in her voice. "Because just maybe you can kill the bitch."

Now Lex was crying. "I'm sorry Bella."

"It's Abby, my given name is Abby." Was Bella's reply.

"I know." Said Lex.

That managed to get a small laugh out of Bella. "You always knew didn't you? Knew me better then just about anyone... Goodbye Lex."

"I'll stay! I'll stay on the line! I'll stay until..."

Bella's voice was soft, but a fondness carried through the tears. "Until the hell hounds get me? I won't do that to you Lex... thank you."

There was a click and then a dial tone in Lex's ear, and she cried. She knew she would probably be the only one.

Where Lex had learned to let go of the pain of her past Bella had let it shape her. Let it turn her from Abby into Bella, and Bella protected Bella by only worrying about Bella.

Bella used people, and Bella discarded people, and Lex knew that Bella probably would have used and discarded her if Bella hadn't been terrified of her family when they first met. Yet in that strange dichotomy Bella had found, for a short time, someone she could connect with.

So yes, right now Lex would cry for her. The world could keep itself spinning for that short while.

Chapter 30.

His name was Bobby Singer, old, white, male he had scraggly hair and a scraggly beard both salt and pepper with more pepper showing at this point. He wore a dirty truckers cap, tattered t-shirt, flannels and blue jeans, he looked more like the kind of guy you would call to tow your car then to save your ass when the hounds of hell were literally on it.

Which was fitting since her operated a salvage yard as his day job, but his life was dedicated to the hunting of supernatural evil. He had been a good friend and early teacher to John Winchester, and Faith could tell he had become a father figure to the two young men ever since John Winchester had passed.

He had been one of the hunters that had helped them close the Devil's Gate, and he had been working his own angles since then to try to get Dean out of his deal.

That Faith hadn't met him until this point had been more his idea then theirs, but as a man who had lived to be far older then over 90% of his fellow hunters he had learned caution early on.

He was a cantankerous old grouch, mistrusting, and ill-tempered.

Faith liked him already.

Once she had provided the intel that Lilith was the demon holding Dean's deal he had brought out a three legged stand that had all three legs surrounded near the top by a metal band with various engraved symbols, coming to a point that held a crystal sphere that had a brass rod that reached back down to the level of the legs, but tapered to a red sphere with a metal point.

Bobby started speaking as he set the stand over a map of the United States. "See in a name, that's the whole kit and kaboodle. With the right name, and the right ritual there ain't nothing you can't suss out."

"Like the town Lilith's in?" Was Sam's question.

"Kid, when I'm done we'll know the street." Bobby replied. He then set the rod to swing freely on the crystal globe and started speaking what Faith thought was Latin.

When it stopped it pointed at New Harmony Indiana, and set off a whole chain of events. Sam was ready to throw caution to the wind and charge, Dean was ready to die himself rather then risk anyone else dying trying to save him.

He did make one good point though, all they had to say that Lilith had his contract was Bella's highly dubious word. He said that they should "Go in smart, or we don't go in at all."

While Sam was trying to convince his brother, Faith came up with counters all her own. "Point one, this fits perfectly. Lilith makes more sense then Unknown Demon A. Point two, we haven't got time to dig up another lead," Dean seemed ready to again argue they shouldn't die on his behalf when Faith said. "Point three is that I now have intel on a major demon. Holding your contract or not I'm moving on her."

"And she'll kill you!" Was Dean's shouted reply.

Her reply was in a diametrically opposite, calm tone. "I'm not saying right this minute."

The argument continued until Dean shouted it down saying they would not make the mistakes again.

He walked over to a table laden with books in the cabin they were still operating out of. "You guys want to save me, find something else."

Bobby started putting on his coat and when Sam asked him where he was going he said "I guess to find something else."

When Faith turned to follow Bobby she saved Sam the trouble of asking. "I've got a battle to plan. With you or without you, it's happening."

She walked out before either brother could protest. Outside Bobby asked. "You just saying that put a fire under em? Or you really going in alone?"

Faith shook her head, smiling. "I never said alone Bobby. I literally have an army, and it's an army built for fighting threats like Lilith. Dean's a priority, but not the only one."

The old hunter gave a respectful nod, and then walked over to steal the distributor cap out of the Impala. Looking at him curiously he met her eyes. "Those two figure something out they'll take off like a shot and leave us behind."

She smiled and gave her own respectful nod to the canny veteran.

Bobby had been right. Sam summoned the demoness Ruby, and then staged a fight that allowed Dean to steal the knife while luring Ruby under a devil's trap painted on the ceiling.

The Winchester brothers then decided to arm up and climb inside the Impala without informing her or Bobby of any of those events until they tried to turn the ignition.

"Where do you think you're going?" Was said by Bobby as he leaned down by the window holding the cap.

Sam and Dean had gotten out of the car, and Dean had tried to argue that the fight was his and Sam's.

"Family don't end with blood boy!" Bobby said in reply.

Dean then looked to Faith. "That include you?"

Faith shrugged. "Let's call it a family friend with a duty to do the job either way."

Bobby said he'd follow, and agreed to let Faith ride with him. While part of it was because they were both a little angry with the brothers Faith revealed that if worse came to worse and they lost Dean she figured the brothers should have that time for them alone.

As the two veteran's followed the Impala Bobby asked. "So where's that army you talked about?"

She smiled. "Getting into position. They're back up, and extraction, but with a target that can black smoke her way out of most everything we might be able to throw at her covert action is our best lead in."

Night had fallen by the time they had their first encounter with an enemy sentry. It was a possessed highway patrolman that had pulled Sam and Dean over.

By the time Bobby had pulled them over Dean had already rammed Ruby's knife in under the officer's jaw, and it flashed orange like it did when killing a demon inside the possessed host.

Faith directed them to stash the body in the trunk where she then broke the lock, and pushed the patrol car into a ditch. The other three wanted to conceal it more, but with their time crunch before Dean's deal she said that when they got the trunk open the authorities would be the first informed, and by the time it got back to anyone that might tell Lilith it would be decided one way or another.

As they disposed of the body Dean revealed his damned soul could see demons. Or as Bobby put it. "You're piercing the veil Dean, glimpsing the B side." and when Dean asked it to be less New Agey Bobby said "You're almost Hell's bitch, so you can see Hell's other bitches."

It came in handy once they were in New Hope as they were able to find Lilith because Dean could see her true face in the body of the ten year old girl she was inhabiting.

While Sam, Bobby and Dean argued the need to kill Lilith outweighed the life of the ten year old girl Faith actively planned the child's demise.

She transmitted an image of the little girl. The hope was to kill her with Ruby's knife and destroy Lilith once and for all, but forcing her back to Hell was an option the Lock's soldiers could do.

She marked the house Lilith was currently inhabiting and sent images of those demons that Dean positively identified as such.

She told them their plan, and told them when they started it.

Sam and Dean teamed up to take out as many sentries as they could find while Faith worked with Bobby to bless the water in the sprinkler system of the house holding Lilith.

It probably wouldn't stop Lilith, but it would hopefully give them a controlled battlefield where Lilith's back up couldn't help her.

Faith had her salt loaded SPAS 15 with numerous back up mags of shells on her as they watched the street outside where Sam and Dean were doing their dirty work, and Bobby put a blessing on the water.

Soon mayhem broke and black eyed figures of what might be the whole town, were running to the house. As Bobby turned on the sprinklers Faith was on her radio.

As the demons ringed the house outside the sphere of the sprinklers Bobby turned to Faith. "So where's that army?"

They then both hear the sounds of a plane's turbines. Faith turned to Bobby, smiling. "They're incoming."

The plane swooped in, and Bobby realized that rather then traditional military ordinance Faith's people were using one of the planes used to dump massive payloads of water on forest fires, but as the falling wave of water hit the demons Bobby saw smoke rise, and he realized that the Lock had blessed the payload.

He couldn't help but let out a triumphant hoot as he charged after Faith, both of their shotguns up and firing on those who seemed to be rising early. Already they could see Humvees disgorging black suited troops with their own salt laden shotguns, as the gunners on the vehicles manned water cannons that had similarly blessed payloads.

The pair hit the front door and Faith reduced it to splinters, their timing either incredibly perfect or incredibly poor as the grandfather clock in the living room struck midnight, and Ruby said "I'm sorry Dean. I wouldn't wish this upon my worst enemy."

As they stood there they heard the growl and Dean said. "Hell hound."

"Where?" Came from Sam.

"There." Was said by Dean as he looked to spot by the dining room where a dead body still sat at a table what looked like it had been set for a ten year old's birthday party.

Even with her senses Faith couldn't get an exact fix, but she could tell that was where the growling seemed to be originating.

The growling turned to a bark and the five ran to the kitchen where Faith and Ruby held the door while Dean put a line of goofer dust, another measure against hell hounds.

As he was running over to the window to do the same Ruby turned to Sam, who was still holding her knife. "Give me the knife, maybe I can fight it off."

"What?" Was all Sam could manage.

"Come on! That dust won't last forever!" Ruby urged.

Sam was about to comply when Dean shouted. "Wait!"

Faith realized it even as Dean said. "That's not Ruby! That's not Ruby!"

As the words were coming out Faith delivered a blow that sent pained tingles even through her arm to the side of Lilith's head.

It managed to rock the demoness, slightly, but not enough to keep her from blocking the knife thrust from Sam before kicking him against the wall.

Dean charged, but was knocked back by an invisible force from Lilith's outstretched hand and pinned to the kitchen table.

Bobby lifted his salt loaded shout gun to fire, but it flashed white hot as soon as Lilith looked at it and he had to drop it where the gunpowder ignited as it hit the floor.

Faith came in for another punch with her right hand and Lilith stepped inside her guard, her hand on Faith's shoulder, her elbow to Faith's elbow, and when the demoness torqued the hold Faith screamed in agony as her shoulder and elbow simultaneously dislocated.

The pain dropped her to the floor where Lilith kicked her in the face.

With that distraction now gone Lilith used one hand to gesture to pin Sam to the wall, and the other to pin Bobby.

"How long you been in her?" Came from Dean, still pinned on his back on the kitchen table.

"Not long." Was Lilith's reply as her eyes rolled to white rather then Ruby's demonic black. "But I like it, it's all grown up and pretty."

"And where's Ruby?" Sam asked from his position on the wall.

"She was a very bad girl. So I sent her far, far away." Was spoken by Lilith as she cracked her new neck, like she was getting a feel for a new outfit.

On the floor Faith was trying to regain her senses so Lilith raised up her foot to stomp on the slayer's throat, but Faith rolled away just in time so Lilith just kicked her through the nearest wall.

Seeing Booby looking around for something he could try Lilith titled her head. "And you can just be quiet you mean, mean old man."

With another gesture Bobby dropped from the wall, clutching his chest like he was having a heart attack.

Dean tried to distract her, shouting. "I should have seen it before, but you all look alike to me."

Lilith ignored him as she walked to where Sam was pinned to the wall. She then kissed him saying "Your lips are soft."

Sam grimaced in disgust, turning his head away. "All right, so you have me. Let the others go."

"Silly goose." She replied. "You wanna bargain you have something that I want." She made a tsking sound. "You don't."

From his place on the table Dean kept talking.

"So is this your big plan huh? Drag me to Hell. Kill Sam, and then what? Become Queen Bitch?"

"I don't have to answer to puppy chow." Was her reply as she walked to the door and opened it, breaking the line of goofer dust saying "Sic em boy."

Sure enough the barking sound entered the room with them, and pulled Dean from the table to the floor, and while the hell hound might not have been visible, it's effects were undeniable.

Lilith laughed in delight as it mauled Dean, first getting his extremities as Dean tried to roll away, but soon pinning him to his back as it carved a bloody furrow into Dean's chest cavity, a furrow that filled with bubbling blood as Dean's last breath left his body through shredded lungs.

Sam screamed "No!" and Lilith replied "Yes!" as she held up her right hand where it emitted a blinding white light.

That did nothing, and no one was more shocked about that then Lilith. Sam slowly stood up, and Lilith raised her right and again and ordered him "Back" when he didn't "I said back." came from Lilith as she backed up fearfully.

Kneeling down Sam picked up Ruby's discarded knife. "I don't think so."

Suddenly Faith appeared and looped her good left arm around Lilith's neck. "Do it Sam!"

Lilith screamed, the scream of the demonic possessor escaping as she left the possessed blond body in a massive black cloud.

Chapter 31.

Faith dropped the now dead body. She guessed that the poor girl was as good as dead after everything Ruby had put her through while in the driver's seat.

"Where were you?" Was shouted by Sam.

"In shock!" She shouted back gesturing at her useless right arm.

Then looking over she saw Dean's form, and Sam knew she hadn't realized yet.

Before she allowed herself to fully process though Faith took in the whole scene and saw Bobby. She was on her radio in an instant. "This is Slayer I am in the target house! I have Robert Singer down with a magickally induced heart attack!"

"Bobby!" Was shouted by Sam as he ran over to the old man and started CPR, Faith assisting as best she could with her one working arm.

Sam looked up when they both heard footsteps entering, but Faith shook her head. She recognized the scents of the combat medic Cameron Baum, and the War Wizard Hammer.

As the two entered the room Cameron ran over to take over Bobby's treatment as Hammer moved to help Faith stand.

Quickly seeing the problem he looked to Faith to make sure, and then the muscular Norse rune singer acted as a brace to help Faith reset her elbow and shoulder.

Once that was taken care of, and Faith was flexing the limb to get an idea of what it was capable of handling they turned to Sam who was now kneeling by his brother's body.

Faith knelt down and touched Sam's shoulder. Her own sincere expression of grief broke Sam and he collapsed into her as they both wept.

Hammer, WAS a Norsemen, while he knew Dean's deal and what it meant for the man's soul he knew Dean was a warrior and he knew Dean had died a warrior's death. So he gave the man's mortal remains appropriate reverence as he took the black body bag out of Cameron's gear and loaded the body of Dean Winchester inside.

At first it seemed to anger Sam, but he saw they were handling his brother's body with respect and said nothing else as a stretcher was brought in with the paramedic gear to stabilize Bobby Singer's condition.

Alexander Harris of Scooby Squad helped them in, and understanding the black bagged form on the floor of the suburban kitchen he helped his old friend Hammer with the sad detail of carrying out the body of a fallen soldier.

Getting outside they saw just how effective the Lock could be. Most people had already been exorcised and were now being treated by combat medical staff while a few remainders were screaming in rage as slayers held them while war witches cast them out of their stolen bodies.

"Boss Man" Leroy Jethro Gibbs came up to the sad assembly. "I'm sorry Sam, I really am."

While the younger Winchester brother's face was streaked with tears it hardened in resolve. "What do we have to do?"

"To what?" Faith replied.

He looked at her harshly. "To bring Dean back."

Faith was obviously dismayed. "Sam, we don't bring people back."

He interrupted, pointing at Buffy Summers, and while everyone was surprised he had found out Buffy answered before he could ask. "It was a mistake Sam. I know it. Willow knows it."

Faith spoke again, her own voice heavy with grief. "We'll do everything we can to get Dean's soul out of Hell, but we don't play God Sam."

Sam's emotion morphed to hate right in front of their eyes. "Then you too can go right to Hell! Just put my brother's body in the Impala and forget you ever heard the name Winchester!"

Seeing he was serious Faith nodded to Scooby Three and Hammer to load the body bag into the back seat of the Impala, that was brought forward by her people.

Turning to Sam she felt herself slipping into her "Slayer" self. "You're pissed. It's the one thing that's keeping you going when you'd otherwise drop, but take it from someone who's been there. The rage won't carry you forever. Keep the numbers we gave you."

When he took a breath to protest she held up a hand to stop him. His expression became even more dark and twisted, but he was silent as he climbed into the Impala's driver seat and peeled away.

All Faith could do was shake her head. She would say that it was like looking at herself when she started down her own dark path, but she couldn't shake the feeling that his was going to be far, far worse.

Slayer lied, the metal band, not the woman. There were no seasons in the Abyss, there wasn't even day or night. While his first memories of his arrival in Hell were being chained hand and foot with metal hooks imbedded in his shoulder and side he was soon taken down.

Taken down and put on Alistair's table. There he was offered a deal, the torture would stop as soon as Dean would promise to put someone else on the table and take over the torturing.

That was Dean's "day". Alistair would make the offer, and Dean would tell him to stick it. Alistair would then proceed to carve Dean up until there was almost nothing left.

Once there wasn't really anything left for Alistair to work with Dean's "night" would begin. Dumped in the Forrest of Suicides Dean was left to recover from the previous days activities, and no matter how badly Alistair had messed him up Dean always healed, and always over the course of a night.

Considering how his Dad had been consigned to Wrath several circles up Dean knew Sammy, or Tara would have probably read a great deal into Dean being cast into in circle of violence against self. Probably rattling something off about how Dean's deal was just an elaborate suicide on his part, how it was just his way of escaping a life he felt he could no longer bare.

Dean however didn't have much time to muse, didn't allow himself much time as by the time his mind could think about something other then the pain of his injuries they were soon to be coming for him, and come for him they did.

Each day/night cycle the same except for Alistair always finding new ways, new torments to inflict on him.

It became how he marked the passage of time.

For the first three years he resisted for the simple reason he was Dean Fucking Winchester and he was going to resist! He had seen too much, hunted too much to ever let these bastards win!

Still, attitude will only carry you so far, even Dean's, and soon even Dean Winchesters attitude stopped mattering enough to resist.

Then it became thoughts of escape, sure he had thought of escape before, but that was another form of defiance as much as it was anything else. Now it was what his mind clung to, planning escapes even as Alistair was committing atrocities on his flesh.

That Lex hadn't shown up by this point told Dean that the goddess had figured Dean had gotten himself into the mess, but that was fine by Dean because he would get himself out.

There were seventeen escape attempts over the course of five years, but soon Dean started to think they let him run just to enjoy cashing him down and punishing him in their own ways before dragging him back to Alistair's nonexistent mercies.

Soon he found himself thinking that however demon's got back out, mortal souls couldn't, and hopes of escape left him.

For the next two years Dean' kept his sanity through his own self-inflicted torments. Not physically as that would be redundant, but that voice in his head that convinced him to make the deal in the first place.

That voice that had spent the entire year in between telling him he deserved Hell, that voice Azazel would have called Dean's own self-loathing, it kept him company.

It told him. "They kept their end of the bargain now you keep yours!" "Don't you dare back down now! You might have shamed the name Winchester by getting yourself stuck down here, but don't you DARE shame it further by giving in!"

Yet as loud as that voice had been when he was alive it didn't even last as long as his attitude, and fell silent after two short years.

Then, then when Alistair asked his question Dean was left to draw on the one thing that he always drew on when things were darkest for him, his family.

He thought about his Mom. The way Lex had explained it was that she had expended everything she had tying her to the mortal world like ghosts when bones were salted and burned, and while Dean might not know what came past that point he knew that somewhere out there his Mom still existed.

His Mom still existed, and his Dad was out there, and Dean knew that as long as they were both still out there they would find each other. He knew what his Dad was capable of, and from what Faith and her people had uncovered it was likely he and Sam had gotten some of their hunting talent from their Mom.

Yeah, somewhere John and Mary Winchester were together again. That was what gave him the strength to spit his "No!" in Alistair's eye, and it was what carried him through the harshest spots of Alistair's response.

Then he thought about Sammy. He knew Sammy wasn't down here or they would have been parading him about to break what was left of Dean's will.

Which meant that Sammy was still up there, still fighting, at least for awhile. He knew that sooner or later something would get Sam. He accepted that. The fact that Sam wasn't down here had to mean that he was out there, and the idea that he would find Mom and Dad, and his family was together even if he couldn't be with them carried him through.

It carried him through twice as long as everything else put together. It carried him a good twenty years.

In fact it was the realization that it had been carrying him twenty years that finally broke him.

Chapter 32.

He had been strapped down to Alistair's table and a whole new day was ready to begin when he realized those twenty years his family had carried him combined with the previous ten meant he had been there thirty years.

He hadn't even been alive thirty years!

He had now been in Hell longer then he had been alive, and no one was going to help him, and no one was going to save him, and he was going to be there forever!

The words might have been a whisper, but to Dean they echoed like gunshots. "I'll do it."

Alistair was smiling, he was always smiling when he got to torture someone. "All right Dean! I wanted you to know I'm very excited for out time together today! I had a bit if inspiration and you get to be the first to try it out! So! Let's get started!"

As Alistair turned to the table Dean felt a wave of panic and it helped him find more volume. "I said I'll do it!"

The demon paused, looking genuinely confused "Do it? Do what?" and then he paused, his hand going to his mouth. "Oh Dean, I am so sorry. I was so excited for our time together today I entirely forgot to ask."

The demon's smile faded, and he actually looked sympathetic. "You'll do it?"

Dean nodded, and Alistair nodded along with him.

"It's all right Dean. It's okay."

Reaching out the demon started unstrapping him. "You put up a tremendous fight Dean, one that you can be proud of. Between you and me, most don't make it a year, two on the outside, but you held out decades! That is really quite amazing."

Turning and walking from the table Alistair continued to speak. "Hold on, let me get you a glass of water. I do have to apologize though, it tastes like sulfur, everything down here tastes like sulfur. Honestly I think it's why we leave traces of it whenever we get upstairs."

That said when Alistair handed Dean the glass he drank greedily.

"Don't worry Dean. It's not going to be taken away from you, and we're not going to hurt you anymore... but you will have to do something for us."

Dean frowned, looking at his bare feet, looking anywhere but the demon.

Alistair frowned. "No, no, no, no. We can't have you at your first appointment in the rags of a damned soul!"

Soon Dean found himself in what if closed his eyes and concentrated he remembered as what he was wearing when Lilith's hell hound ripped him apart, but it was not bloody, or torn, or even dirty. It was off the rack fresh as he shifted around in it.

That had Alistair smiling. "Ah, there we go. Now let's begin!"

Standing in front of Dean Alistair put his hands together and spoke warmly. "I want you to know I really do know how hard this will be for you. So I decided to pick an easy one for you to start with."

With a clap two demons brought in a brunette damned soul gripped tightly between them, and as she was strapped down Dean found himself trying to place her face.

"You don't know her Dean, but you are quite fond of her daughter."

That brought the woman's head up. "You know Faith! You know my little girl Faith?"

Alistair answered for Dean, kneeling down at the head of the table, placing himself at eye level with the woman. "Indeed he does. He's actually quite sweet on your little girl. Aren't you Dean?"

The demon had said that with a smirk, but Dean could only frown as the woman kept speaking.

"Then please, please! You gotta let me go. This is all..."

Alistair interrupted. "A mistake?"

The woman agreed frantically. "Yes, yes, a mistake! I'm really a..."

Again Alistair interrupted. "A good person?"

Putting his face over Faith's mother's he stood up so he was looking at her upside down. "This is Hell toots. We don't make mistakes, and good people don't end up down here!"

Standing up Alistair looked like he was having a change of heart. "But then again you tried."

Faith's mother frantically agreed. "I did, I really, really did."

Dean could only watch. While he knew his stomach had been torn to bits by Lilith's hell hound he had a growing sick feeling where it would have been.

Nodding, his face a mask of mock sympathy Alistair continued. "It wasn't her. It was the heroin."

On the table the woman's face sank, while the sick look on Dean's face froze, and Alistair quickly masked the gleam that came to his eye.

"She kept a roof over Faith's head, and sure she might not have been able to keep the heat on all the time they had blankets and such in those cases."

The woman made a helpless, empty sound.

Alistair ignored it as he continued. "And she made sure there were a good three to four meals a week!... Do NOT let them tell you hot lunch programs don't make a difference!"

Dean's sick expression was gone, and now he just looked curious, a curiosity Alistair was happy to feed.

"But again, it wasn't her, it was the smack."

On the table the woman had just started crying, so Alistair walked over and knelt down beside her again.

"When she was hurting she would do ANYTHING to make it stop."

The woman managed two words as she looked over to the false compassion on the demon's face. "Please, don't."

He paid her no heed. "And that night... she was hurting worse then she had ever hurt before. The problem was she had been doing anything for a long time now."

If Dean still had a heart he knew it would have stopped, his mind knowing what was coming next, but needing to hear it from Alistair.

"But young Faith. She was still sweet, and healthy, and happy... and firm... and tight!"

Faith's mother was now sobbing, shaking her head saying "I'm sorry." over and over again.

Alistair continued the story. "And while her dealer wasn't interested in what she was willing to do he was VERY interested in sweet, tender, beautiful Faith. Barely thirteen she was fruit hanging from the vine, and she was RIPE! So our mother of the year here got her horse. So much that she didn't even hear the sounds of her daughter screaming when the strange man entered her room!"

Dean had known, he had a decent idea that Faith's childhood had made the back road hotels and motels he and Sammy had grown up in look good. He had known that whatever faults his Dad had he fought as hard as he could to keep his kids safe.

While this... this bitch, this FILTH! Sold her daughter to feed her habit!

Fuck death! Fuck hell!

He would have ganked her when he was still above ground!

Though his heart had been torn into kibble and his lungs had went the same way he could still feel his heart pounding as he turned to the table containing Alistair's instruments.

First he picked up the straight razor. Holding it in front of him he looked at his reflection in the polished surface. He could barely recognize himself. His face was sunken, his eyes were hollow. His nostrils were flaring, and his teeth were bared like he was ready to simply rip into her with them.

Behind him he was able to pick out Alistair's voice over the sound of his pulse hammering in his ears. "A classic, there's a reason I love mine."

Slamming the straight razor down on the table of instruments Dean spotted a hypodermic needle, and smiled, and a small part of him, that small voice inside him that was screaming to stop was glad it couldn't see that smile as Dean picked up the hypo and contemplated it.

Turning back to the table he picked a beaker of what memory told him was acid.

He was a hunter who had sold his soul to save his brother, he wasn't going to take one more minute's pain for garbage like her.

As he moved towards her she started to scream while Alistair stood up and began to applaud.

The End

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