?

Log in

No account? Create an account
 
 
13 October 2013 @ 08:52 pm
jai guru deva om: Think For Yourself (chapter 12)  

"Don't give me that, Annie," John snarled into the phone.


A/N: My thanks go out to Emmessann, NongPradu, and Tifaching for their patient, supportive beta work. Thank you to my friends who also provided invaluable feedback as I wrote. Thank you Penny, Amanda, Deb, Ginger, and Sue.

Jai Guru Deva Om

Chapter Twelve
Think For Yourself

**ॐ**

"Don't give me that, Annie," John snarled into the phone. "Yes, I got the mantra right. There was a damn wind and light-storm in the room, last night—we're talking blockbuster special effects, here. It did something; it just didn't do anything to him. He's still the same."

Mei made herself small, stirring cinnamon and sugar into the oatmeal she'd prepared for Dean, trying to stay out of John's way as he thundered around the room, the air harsh and heavy with his anger. The man stopped in front of the window, morning sunlight streaming across his dark, hollow face as he listened to the caller. He quivered with frustration as he gripped the phone, switching it from ear to ear. Mei could hear the voice on the other line, but the words were lost to her, muffled by distance and Dean's nonstop chanting filtering in from the bedroom. John was plenty loud and clear, though.

"Should have worked doesn't do me any good when it didn't goddamned work," he said, his voice low, still sizzling. "I need another mantra, another ritual—something. I need something, Annie." His tone had a sudden pleading edge to it. He stared out the window, glancing aimlessly around and then turned back. "Keep looking. Call me back in an hour." He snapped the phone shut.

Mei watched the hunter brood, staring out the window. She set a piece of dry toast on a plate and scraped the oatmeal into a bowl, setting everything on a tray with a cup of coffee. They didn't bring many provisions, and with this new development she figured she'd have to run down to the mini-mart to restock if they were going to stay longer than they'd planned.

The air hummed with tension, and the drone of Dean's ceaseless chanting was fraying her nerves. He'd started in as soon as he'd regained consciousness not long after the ritual, and he hadn't stopped once since then. She studied John's slumped shoulders as he stared out the window. This had to be perfect torture for him.

She cleared her throat, not knowing what would come out of her mouth. She couldn't help but try to break the painful tension. "Does she know it's Dean?"

Pulled from his thoughts, John turned to face her. "What?"

"The woman—Annie. She's a hunter, yes? Does she know it's Dean you're trying to save?"

"No." John glanced at the phone and sighed, sticking it in his pocket. "And she won't ever know."

"What did she say?" Mei asked.

"That this is the only way to break the spell without killing the pishacha outright. She's trying to tell me that I must have lost count or said the wrong words."

"Is that a possibility?"

John folded his arms in front of himself. "That's my son in there," he said, nodding toward the door. "That's my boy." He stared at Mei indicating that was answer enough. "I didn't lose count."

Mei nodded. "All right. What are we going to do, now?"

John threaded a hand through his hair and rubbed his red-rimmed eyes. "Wait for Annie to find her screw-up. That means we might have to perform another ritual tonight. We have enough holy water for one more attempt."

Mei's eyes went wide. "You're going to—no. No, John," she said, shaking her head. "Are you out of your mind? You can't do that. That ritual sent Dean into shock last night. There is no way he can survive another attempt. Not now. This is too much."

"He's fine. He'll be fine."

"No, damn it," she said, bracing her hands on the butcher block and tugging on it in frustration. "Every person has his breaking point, and he's still just a boy, John. Look, I know he's strong. I've seen it. I watched him fight back from near death, so I get it. I do—"

"Then you know he can handle it."

"Strong. He's strong, John, not indestructible." She watched him roam around the room like a panther in a pen. "And you're too close to this. I'm not so sure you're seeing things clearly. You have to consider what might be really happening, here."

"What the hell is that supposed to mean?" John said, stopping for a moment before resuming his pacing.

"You know exactly what I mean."

John opened his arms in a wide, menacing sweep. "Enlighten me, Doc."

Mei took a deep breath, steeling herself. "That was quite the lightshow last night. Felt like an earthquake rocked the cabin."

"And?"

"And…" She eyed the door to Dean's room. "And what if the ritual worked?"

John's snort was guttural, and he put his hand up, stopping the discussion. "Give me his breakfast. I'll take it into him," he said, dismissing her.

Mei moved in front of the butcher block, barring his path, craning her neck as he towered above her. "Listen to me, John. Please. You may be an expert on the supernatural, but I've told you about my research on cults. Why won't you listen? Whatever this creature is, he's still employing classic cult tactics to control these people."

"Dean's under a spell—nothing more."

"Why are you denying the possibility that it's all Dean chanting in there? Is it so hard to believe? Would you hate your son for having been drawn in? Would you blame yourself for any of that? What's the fear here, John?"

"We're dealing with a demon. I know what I'm talking about."

"Hell, maybe these cults are all started by creatures just like this one. I don't know. But what I do know is that cult leaders break people down and build them back up again the way they want them. These narcissists or demons or whoever they are—they prey on people in transition, people who are rootless, people with abandonment issues who aren't getting the family support and love that these cults offer them."

"Huh, then what does that say about your husband?" John lashed out at her. "You blame yourself for any of that?"

Mei's face burned. "It says that my husband was vulnerable, too. I screwed up," she said as tears flash-flooded her eyes.

John eased his stance, scrubbing his face with his hands. "Look, I'm sorry," he said, haggard and sore.

"No. No, it's true. We put a great spin on things for our friends and family, but the truth is that I was a workaholic, putting in 16—sometimes—18 hour days most of the time. Jason begged me to ease up, but I didn't listen. He told me he wanted kids—wanted us both to slow down on the career-track just a little, but I kept putting it off, trying to prove something to my own parents—trying to meet their high expectations for me. So, yes, it does say something about Jason. It absolutely does say something about me, and I'll be damned if I'm going to ignore it all because it's too scary or too ugly to admit. Had I spent any time in that cult, I'd have been easy pickings for them, myself. I have my own issues that make me vulnerable."

"Yeah, well, that's not Dean, though. And Dean hasn't just met my expectations, he's exceeded them—again and again. We're a close family."

"Oh, yes?" Mei said, insistent. "You know, forgive me, but I have to wonder if you've ever told Dean that. And if you're so close, then why didn't Dean have a single visitor when he was in the hospital?" John hesitated at that and opened his mouth, but Mei stopped him. "That was rhetorical. It's none of my business. I don't know what's going on in your family, and I'm not your judge, John. But I remember Dean's face when he checked his phone messages and wanted to know if anyone had called the hospital asking about him—and I had to tell him no. I know your son was fragile and struggling, and, quite frankly, I can't say as I blame him. I don't care if you had a good reason or not for failing to be there when he needed you, but the fact remains you failed to be there. And you can tell me how damn strong he is until you're blue in the face; that doesn't mean he didn't feel abandoned, lonely and scared. It doesn't mean he isn't human."

John stared at Mei for a long moment and then moved around her, opening the freezer without a word and pulling out an ice-tray. He dumped the entire contents into a bowl and filled it with water.

"What are you doing?" the doctor asked.

John reached for the tray with Dean's breakfast and placed the bowl of ice water on it. "I'll take this to him," he said. "You should eat something and go get some sleep. Take the other bedroom."

"John," Mei said, giving it one last try.

"Get some rest. You look beat," he said, opening the door and shutting it behind him without further discussion.

**ॐ**

His son was lying flat, all four limbs secured by thick restraints. Gnarled into fists, Dean's hands pivoted and twisted in time to his chanting, and John spotted smears of blood edging the leather straps.

"Jesus," he said, hustling over and setting the tray down on the bedside table. He put a hand on Dean's wrist, examining the bloody, purpling skin. He ran a finger along the seam where flesh met leather. The restraints were secure but provided enough give that the boy had rubbed the skin off his wrists and ankles. There were two leather straps across Dean's torso as well. The skin there wasn't bleeding yet, protected by his t-shirt, but the flesh was red and raw. He unhitched the buckles on his son's chest and fought to draw the covers up with Dean rocking the bed as he lurched and swayed.

"Dammit, Dean, lie still." The boy was in constant, frenetic motion, limbs jerking as though seeking propulsion—as if the kid was trying to jump up and down while lying in bed. "Dean," John called again, but Dean didn't answer, eyes rolled deep as he chanted.

"Fill me Father. My will is your will. My soul is your soul."

"Enough, Dean," John said, speaking into Dean's ear. "Open your eyes. You need to eat."

There was no reply, but Dean began to chant louder and rock faster, which gave John some satisfaction. He knew Dean could hear him, at least. John pressed a button on the bed, raising the head until Dean was in a sitting position.

"Breakfast time, Champ," John said, but Dean continued to chant and rock violently. "Stop it, Dean." Again, the only response was louder and faster chanting. John grabbed the bowl of ice water off the tray and threw half of it into Dean's face, ice-cubes scattering, some falling under the covers, some of them pinging off the aluminum bed rails and skipping across the wood floor. The chanting ceased in mid-syllable as the boy sucked in a gasp of air, eyes snapping open in shock.

"Wakey-wakey, eggs and bac-y. Well, oatmeal at least," John said, watching the boy wheeze and cough. The cold water streamed down his chest, pooling in his lap, shocking his sensitive under-bits, no doubt. John felt a twinge of sympathy.

Dean's eyes lasered in on his father; they narrowed in anger as he blew water from his mouth, spluttering and puffing. He yanked against his restraints.

"I deny you," he said without emotion.

"Charming," John said as he set the bowl back down on the tray.

"Let me go." Dean continued to scrape and score his hands against the restraints, glaring at his father.

"Stop it, Dean. You're bleeding." John turned around and grabbed the first-aid kit, pulling out a few items. By the time he turned back, Dean'd raised his eyes to the ceiling and had resumed chanting, louder than ever.

"No you don't, kiddo." He gave Dean's cheek a tap. When that didn't work, he tossed some more ice water into the boy's face. Dean bucked and growled, his eyes sparking with rage.

"Father! Please help me!"

"We can do this all day, Sport. It's up to you. Best if you just give it a damn rest for now. You're going to eat something and we're going to have a talk. And you're going to sleep, too, even if I have to sedate you."

"You're not real," Dean said. "Father is testing me."

John shrugged, fumbling with the restraints as he tended Dean's wrist without unbuckling the leather. The boy winced when John daubed the raw spot with an alcohol swab. "Father do that a lot? Test you like this?"

"Father is everything. My will is his will. My soul is—"

"Knock it off, Dean," John warned, reaching for the bowl of ice water again as Dean slipped into his sing-song recitation. "You're gonna talk to me, not babble that nonsense." Dean shrank away from the water, shivering. John noted wet spots growing under the sheet where ice-cubes were busy melting against his skin. "Does the pishacha test you often?"

Dean seethed at the name. "Father tests me when he sees fit. He knows what I need. I submit my will to his completely. And don't call him that. He's not a pishacha."

"Yes, Dean, he is. He's a filthy demon, and he's cast a spell on you."

"Huh," Dean grunted, battling John as he tried to wrap a swathe of gauze around his wrist. "So how come that little counter spell you did last night didn't work? Hmm?"

John tied off the bandage. "What makes you think it didn't?" he asked. "Can you hear or feel the pishacha?"

"You know I can't—not with your wards blocking him."

"You sure that's all that's keeping him away?"

"Toss the hex-bags, break the wards and let's just find out," Dean suggested, offering John a cold smile.

Leaving Dean unprotected was out of the question. There was no telling what the pishacha would be capable of if Dean was still under his control, but John was certain that it would know where they were at the very least. Mei had witnessed the thing possess Dean before, and no matter what doubts the doctor had planted in his mind about the success or failure of the ritual, he couldn't take the chance of removing the wards until he learned more about Dean's state of mind.

"That's not going to happen," John said, cool, detached.

"Yeah, I didn't think so. Hey, it's all good. I'm not worried; Father won't abandon me. Not ever." Dean continued with a smug grin. "See, I don't gotta have blind faith in him. I don't gotta train for years and wait and wonder and hope and work my ass off and still not be good enough. I don't gotta beg. He's always there for me. Father is inside of me. I give him respect and loyalty, and I know you're going to think this is just nutty, but I actually get respect and loyalty back. Crazy, right?"

John swooped down, coming within an inch of Dean's nose, stopping himself when the boy flinched. John took a beat to regain control of his anger. "He's brainwashed you, Dean," he said flatly, a simple statement without emotion.

Dean recovered his bravado. "That's funny, coming from you. You sure you don't wanna let me up—make me run ten miles? How many pushups do you think I should do? Or maybe weapons training? Drills? Want me to parse some Latin verbs? Maybe I should chant your mantras instead: We do what we do and we shut up about it. We do what we do and we shut up about it. We do what we do and we shut up about it. Keep an eye on Sammy. Keep an eye on Sammy. Keep an eye on—"

"That's enough, Dean," John said.

Dean gave John a Cheshire-smile—pure, cruel mischief—Dean-like and yet not him at all, an ugly counterfeit. "Father is life. Father is love. Father is my keeper." He closed his eyes, still smiling.

John's hands shook with emotion as he gripped Dean's shoulder, digging in deep to keep him from slipping into another chant. "Jesus, do you ever stop chanting, Dean? How often does the demon make you do that?"

Dean opened his eyes wide. "He doesn't make me do anything. I give him everything that I am. I chant my love to him because he deserves it. Your damn wards might make it so that I can't hear or feel him, but that won't stop me from giving him everything I got."

"Oh, yes…you mean the wards that are designed to prevent a demon from communicating with you? The wards specifically created to block the spell-work of a pishacha? Those wards?"

"He's not a damn demon," Dean fumed.

"No? Then why are the wards working? If he's not a demon, what is he, Dean? He ever tell you?"

Dean's eyes twitched around the room as he snapped his wrists against his restraints, cracks in his mask showing before a cocky smirk washed them away. "Father will come for me. I don't have to talk to you. You're nothing. You're not even real. You're not real, so the wards aren't real. I'm gonna prove my loyalty to Father, and then you'll be gone. I'm going to be with Father forever; he won't abandon me. He won't abandon me. He won't abandon me. He won't abandon me. He won't abandon me." Dean pulled himself out of the sing-song rhythm he'd fallen into. "He'll make this all go away and then I'll be worthy of my Blessed Transformation. Thank you Father. My life is yours to mold. My heart is yours to fill. My soul is yours to keep."

John moved toward the foot of the bed, examining his son's ankle, cleaning the wound and binding it. Dean hissed, the pain breaking him out of his chanting loop, his leg jerking when John rubbed the alcohol on it. "See? I'm very real, Dean," he said. "Think about it. You and some others came to town to sell the car—to sell the Impala, Dean. The Impala." He had difficulty wrapping his brain around that tidbit. "And then what happened? You remember?" John watched Dean's face as he sifted through his memories. The boy's brows pleated in confusion.

"I—I don't remember."

"Bull. Father teach you to lie like that, too? ‘Cause I sure as hell didn't. What a saint he must be. Come on, Dean—what happened after that?"

Dean sat for a moment in quiet thought, his face paling. He yanked against his bonds. "I'm not remembering it right. It couldn't really have happened."

"What couldn't happen, Dean?"

Dean pulled viciously on the restraints again, his wrists twisting and knotting. "It doesn't matter. It didn't happen."

"What makes you think that?" John continued to press. "Come on…"

"Because you would never come for me!" The words flew out of Dean's mouth. "The real you wouldn't come for me." His voice cracked as he spoke.

The hurt in his boy's eyes slashed him to the bone. The two of them stared at one another for a long, bitter moment. "Yet here I am," John said at last.

Dean laughed. "Sure you are."

"I'm real Dean. I came for you."

"Right. Like you came for me when I was in the hospital? Did you get my voice messages that night or did you ignore them for weeks?"

Guilt flamed John's cheeks, but he kept his eyes locked on Dean's. He went to say something but Dean stopped him.

"Save your breath. It doesn't matter. ‘Sides, you were outgunned. Sammy always did try to show you up, and hell if he didn't edge you out again. Called him all night, but I'll be damned if his phone didn't just go dead after the first couple of calls. What a strange coincidence, huh, John?"

John's eyes flared. "I'm still Dad to you. I don't give a good goddamned what spell you're under. You'll treat me with respect."

Dean chuckled again. "I'm not under any spell, John. Father's earned my loyalty. I'll never betray him." He glared at John. "Not going to answer my question?"

John moved onto Dean's other foot, cleaning the raw, oozing patch of skin. He said nothing and Dean snorted.

"Yeah, I thought as much," he said.

"Goddamn it, Dean." John threw the bloody cotton swab across the room. "You sounded like you were six-sheets to the wind. It's not the first time you've drunk-dialed me. I didn't know. You didn't even tell me you were hurt—as usual. Expecting me to be a damned mind reader. So, don't lay it all on me." John shook his head and grabbed another alcohol swab. "Bobby left a message the next day telling me what happened and said you'd made it through surgery just fine—that you'd be up and around in a few days."

"Well, that makes it all okay, then. As long as I wasn't dead, right? No mess to clean up and all of that. Yeah, makes sense."

"Dean," John said, his voice torn between guilt and outrage.

"No, man…I get it. You did me a favor. You really did. Pushing Sam away—telling him to stay gone if he left—cutting him out so completely that he won't even touch my calls. My own brother…" His voice broke, but he smiled again. "You dumping my ass in the middle of the night without a single damn word—not one damn word—nothing but coordinates to follow for weeks after…it all led me to Father. I'd have never found him if you hadn't cleared my calendar for me. So, I'm glad. I am." Dean's smile was heartbreakingly genuine. "He's everything I ever wanted. Now, I just want to go back home. I belong to The Kindred and to Father. They're my family."

John stopped all work on Dean's wounds. He stood listening to his son, numb with disbelief. Turning away for a moment, he gathered himself. No way could he lose his shit in front of his boy. Clearing his throat, he turned back.

"I'm going to fix this," John said at last.

Dean sighed, satisfied, relaxing into his pillow. "It ain't broken. Just let me go, John. Maybe this whole sceneario isn't meant for me—maybe it's not my lesson. Maybe Father is doing this for you—helping you to let go. Not sure why, though. Last time I saw you, you said you didn't want me anymore."

"I never said that."

"Who taught you to lie like that? Huh? You told me to stay with Father, remember? Said I was a worthless hunter and should let you go—ordered me to give myself to him. Sir, yes sir! Remember? Always your way or not at all, right? I'm just following your orders like I always have."

"I never said any such thing, Dean. The pishacha has screwed with your mind. How could I have said those things if I haven't seen you since April?"

"I saw you in The Kiln."

"What's The Kiln, Dean? I don't know what you're talking about."

"Riiiight," Dean said. "You were there. You made me drink the ayahuasca, remember?"

"Ayahuasca?" John's voice rumbled with livid disgust. "Jesus Christ. I'm going to kill that sonofabitch with my bare hands if I have to. Boy, that thing has fucked you up. He's been feeding you drugs and calling it love. He's a monster, Dean. How can you not see that?" He finished bandaging the last of Dean's wounds. "It wasn't me, Dean. It wasn't real. I haven't seen you since early April."

"No," Dean insisted. "You were there. You're lying. You said I wasn't cut out for hunting, called me weak, said you didn't want me anymore."

John bent in close, holding Dean's shoulder as the boy tried to squirm away. He paid no attention and kept touching him. "I don't know how Father could have sold that load of shit to you. Look at me, Dean." The boy refused. "Look at me, now." Dean glared John. "Never. Never in a goddamned million years would I ever say those things."

Dean's façade cracked just a little under the weight of John's sincerity. "But you said—" he stopped, wincing as though in pain.

"What is it, Dean? What's happening?" John placed his hand on Dean's chest. The boy arched his back, trying to push his hand away with his body.

"Father, he—he brought Sam into The Kiln. Sammy was…" he stumbled over the words, unable to accept them. "No—that's not right. That's not right." He was gasping and straining, now.

"Slow your breathing. Nice and slow, now. What are you remembering, Dean? Tell me."

Dean chuffed and winced again. "Sammy—that thing had Sammy, and—Let go. Truly let go. Let Father in and Sam will be free and healthy for the rest of his life. Protect him, Dean. If you do not, I will feast on him in front of you." Dean chanted the memory aloud. He turned to John, dazed and angry. "Why would he say that?"

"What do you see, Dean? Did he threaten to hurt your brother? Is that what he did?"

"No!" Dean shouted. "No, never! It's a lie. You're doing something to me. Why? Why can't you just let me be?" Dean tried to turn away, but the thongs held him in place. He pressed his cheek into the pillow, his only escape.

"Settle down now, son," John said. "Easy, Dean." He patted his son's chest, but the boy shook his head from side to side. Dean opened his eyes, accusing.

"You just can't let me have anything, can you? Now you're trying to take this away from me, too. That's not the way it happened. Father wouldn't hurt Sam. Father helped me to let go of him, showed me how necessary it was in order for both of us to follow our own paths. He wouldn't do that. He wouldn't. How goddamned dare you!"

John wanted to know what was going on in his son's head but knew he couldn't press right now. The kid's lungs labored in chaotic fits and gulps. It made John sick to think what the pishacha had done to get Dean to comply. Torture? Threats against his family? And then what? Did he overwrite Dean's memories, make him forget the torture he'd inflicted?

"It's all right, Dean. You're going to be all right. Let's just take it easy for a little while. Truce," he soothed. "Stay with me, son," he said as Dean slipped back into another wave of chanting. "None of that now." He dipped his fingers in the ice water and flicked the droplets at Dean. It was enough to snap him out of it, gritting his teeth at John.

"Leave me alone. I need to chant!" he said, eyes hungry—a junky begging for another hit. It killed John to see it.

"No, you don't. Here," John said, reaching for the bowl of oatmeal. "Don't want this to get cold. You must be hungry. You're nothing but skin and bones, there, kiddo."

Dean squinted at the spoon of oatmeal. "Not hungry," he said and sealed his lips when John offered a spoonful to him.

"You're going to eat, Dean," John said.

"I said I'm not hungry."

"Bullshit." John took a moment to temper his anger. "You're always hungry," he tried to joke. "Come on Dean. Yeah, so maybe it's not eggs and bacon." He sniffed the oatmeal and lifted a dubious brow. "What can I say? The doctor made it. It's probably that heart-healthy crap, but it's carbs and calories, dude. Open up." No response. "Dean. I don't think I've ever seen you turn your nose up at food in my entire life. There can't be a power on the face of the planet strong enough for that." He pressed the spoon to the boy's lips and tried to work them open. Dean merely clamped down harder. "You're not two years old. Now, open your goddamned mouth, Dean," he said, his tone spiking with impatience. He reached up and pinched Dean's nose shut with his free hand.

Dean gasped and John took the opportunity to tip the oatmeal into his mouth. Before he could scoop another spoonful of oats from the bowl, Dean turned his head and blew the oats back out of his mouth. John lurched back instinctively as the mashy paste sprayed the wall and floor.

"Damn it, Dean!" John set the bowl back down and grabbed a napkin, cleaning up the mess, rubbing off the few specks that hit him. "I've just about had it."

"Good!" Dean raised his voice. "Then, let me go. I'll get out of your hair and everything will be exactly the way you always wanted it."

"I've had enough of that, too. I'm not going to goddamn let you guilt me." He slammed the spoon onto the tray. "I've made a lot of mistakes—some you know about—some you don't, but I have never, ever wanted you gone, Dean. And I can't believe that evil sonofabitch has made you believe that. It's not true, and deep down you know it. I'm not perfect, but I'm not what he's made you believe I am." Dean seemed to cow under the weight of those words. John rubbed his own throbbing forehead with the palm of his hand.

Neither one said anything, both stewing in the dark folds of their thoughts. John came out first and grabbed the cup of coffee. "At least drink something. You need fluids; drink or I'm going to have Mei restart the IV."

"I have to go to the bathroom," Dean said, sullen and petulant, avoiding eye contact. "If I drink it'll only make it worse."

John sighed. He walked over to Mei's bag and rifled through it, pulling out a small bottle and a syringe.

Dean's eyes grew saucer wide as John popped the cap off the needle and drew up a dose. "What is that? What the hell are you doing?"

"It's diazepam. I'm taking you to the bathroom, but you're not getting out of this bed full-powered. Oh, and just so you know—we're on an island. The only way off is by ferry, so there's nowhere to run. After we get you cleaned up a little, you can get some sleep. We're likely to have a busy night, and you haven't slept since yesterday." He flicked the needle, removing any air bubbles and approached Dean with it.

"No, Dad. Don't!" Dean begged, lurching and wiggling, flexing his wrists against the restraints.

John's held him down with one arm, leaning his weight against the boy, rolling him to the side, enough to expose his flank, and he sunk the syringe into it. "That wasn't so bad, was it?"

Dean growled out in anger and frustration. "Real fair. You're a damn hypocrite. You bitch about Father drugging me, but then you turn around and do the same thing. You're no better. You know that? Y'r n'better," he said, his words already thick with the drug.

"Sorry kiddo," John said, untying one of the herb bags from the bed rail and looping it over Dean's head. Grabbing the small box of kumkum powder, he prepared another mixture and refreshed the tilak on Dean's forehead while the kid mumbled incoherent maledictions. "Come on. Let's get you up."

Dean muttered again. The only word John caught was Father, and he was suddenly worried that he'd given the boy too much diazepam. He hadn't factored in his weight loss when drawing up the dose. Dean's eyes were closed, his body already slack in the two minutes since he'd administered the drug. When John unhitched the first restraint, Dean's arm flopped heavily onto his chest.

"Stay awake for a little longer, Ace. We need to get you to the bathroom and back before you conk out." He tapped Dean's cheek until the boy opened a glassy eye.

"N'fair," Dean scolded.

"Yeah, I know," John said with a slight smile. He unbuckled the other restraints and released the bed rail, rolling Dean over and into a somewhat sitting position. The boy's head lolled against his father's chest.

"Up, Dean. Come on."

"Wh'r w'goin'?"

"Bathroom. You said you had to go. Now come on. Stay awake for just a couple more minutes." John shook his head at himself for being careless. He hoisted up his over-medicated son, looping a sturdy arm around his waist and helping the malleable, pliant boy to shuffle along.

When they reached the adjoining bathroom, John propped Dean against the wall with one hand and grabbed for the bathroom door. As his hand touched the knob, John felt a shocking blow to the side of his face, graying out his vision and sending a cold tingle down his spine. A loud thump startled him back from the dark brink, and when he opened his eyes, he realized that the noise he'd heard had been the sound of his body falling to the floor. Dean had already thrown open the bedroom door and was making a mad dash through the kitchen, limbs coltish and wild from the drug, but not nearly as incapacitated as he'd pretended to be. John had no time to feel a fool, though.

"Dean, no!" he yelled as the boy shoved a surprised Mei away from the front door and bolted through it.

John found himself on his feet with no recollection of having gotten there, and he swayed and reeled his way into the kitchen, still off balance from the blow.

"What's—" Mei began, her eyes filled with fear.

"Stay here," John shouted as he passed her and ran after Dean.

John scanned the beach, knowing that he couldn't have gotten far. He spotted Dean struggling to get over a bank of drift-logs blocking his path to the water, but drugs, bare feet, and a rocky beach combined to make it slow going.

"Dean!" he shouted again. The boy spun around, his face dark with frustration. He had to know he wasn't going to be able to get away.

His son looked down and grasped the herb-bag dangling around his neck. With a harsh yank the strap broke, and he threw the bag into the surf. A swipe of his hand smeared the tilak, rendering it impotent. "Father!" he cried out, his face filled with expectant awe.

John's blood ran cold at the sight of his son, unwarded, unprotected—arms raised in supplication and worship, face to the sky, calling for his Savior. If the pishacha discovered where they were, it would be all over. He couldn't allow his son to be  taken from him again. John watched, devastated, as Dean invoked the demon. After a long, breathless second, nothing happened, and Dean's brows furrowed with confused frustration.

"Father?" he called again. "Brad? Jason? I'm here! I'm here…" His shoulders slumped. "Please don't leave me. Please don't be gone!"

"Dean. Son." Hope and fear marbled in John as he called out. He took a few more cautious steps toward Dean.

Opening his eyes and seeing John closing in on him, Dean backed away. "You did this. You took them from me. They're not here!" He gripped his head. "They're not here." He turned and ran again, frantically calling for people who would not or could not respond.

John trailed him until the drug stopped the boy again, and he teetered, slipping to his knees. John continued his slow approach. "It was a spell, Dean. Do you get that? Are you finally hearing me? It was a damn spell. The ritual worked. The pishacha's magic is gone. It's gone and this is just you and me, here. You and me. We'll get through this. Together. I'm not the bad guy, here. You've been in that thing's grip, but you're free now." John pressed closer even as Dean fought to get to his feet. "It's over."

"No!" Dean yelled, trying to rise. He lost his balance again, landing on his ass and tipping sideways. John was on him in a couple of steps, catching hold of his t-shirt, pulling him into his chest, wrapping his arms around Dean while he tried to twist and wriggle free.

"I got you, son."

"No! Let me go," Dean seethed, growling and struggling, but his limbs had given up their strength and agility to the sedative; there was no force behind his flailings. "What have you done? Father! Father!" he panted.

John held him tight. "It's over. It's done, Dean." John smoothed his hand over Dean's anguished face. "The ritual worked. It's going to be all right. I promise you. Easy. Easy, son."

Dean's chest labored as his eyes searched around, trying to make sense of everything. "It's all gone. Everyone's gone," he said, broken.

"No. I'm still here, Dean. I'm right here and I've got you." He gripped his son's hand and tugged. "I've got you. You've been under the control of the pishacha for a couple of months. He's done a number on you, but you're going to be fine, Dean. Trust me, now. You got me?"

Dean looked at him as if hearing and seeing him for the first time. "Dad?" he said, bewildered. "Dad, am I really here? Is this real?"

"You're really here, Champ. I'm not a test, not a drill. I'm real. It was a pishacha. He caught you, but I got you back. You're going to be all right." John watched Dean as his words sunk in.

"A pishacha?"

"Demon. Lower order—Hindu variety. Pishachas—ugly bastards, though they're shifters in their own right, so this one appeared to you as a man."

"But…he healed me," Dean said, unable to understand. "The surgery, he healed it. A demon would never do that."

"It's not his power, Dean. He takes the power from the human souls he consumes and uses it to perform seeming miracles—gets people to believe he's a divine being. Uses all that stolen juice to enthrall people. Without consuming souls, a pishacha is nothing but a bottom-feeder, a graveyard spirit with an oversized ego. This one grew strong. Very strong."

Dean's face shattered like thin clay, contorting with disgust and shame and a god-awful longing that hurt John to witness. Dean tried to roll over, but John's weight held him firm.

"A demon," Dean moaned, his face turning the color of whey. "A goddamned demon. It was all a lie, a fucking lie."

John eased his weight off the boy. "It's okay, Dean. We'll take care of it. We'll get the sonofabitch. Together, we'll get him." He patted the boy's back as Dean tried to rise onto all fours. "Come on. Ain't the first time that one of us got caught by the bad guy. Won't be the last. We'll get him."

Dean moaned, grabbing his middle as he crawled a few feet away. "I'm alone. I'm so goddamned alone," he said and began dry-heaving into a patch of shriveled kelp.

**ॐ**




There was something he was supposed to be doing, words on the tip of his tongue that he strove to get out—an itch that needed scratching. Chanting. Yes, of course, he should be chanting—his body hummed with the desire—felt hollow and incomplete without the sound in his ears. He wanted to feel the words vibrate against his vocal chords until they were raw and tattered, yearned to connect with The Kindred, their bodies, minds, voices all mere extensions of one perfect mind. He tried to open his mouth, but nothing came out—tried to move, but his limbs refused to stir. Was he still asleep? Why hadn't Brad gotten him out of bed, yet? With a struggle, he turned his head and saw Brad sitting on his cot, calm and serene as he put on his sandals.

Way to oversleep, Brad snorted and gave Dean a light thwap and a grin. Come on, Princess Aurora, time to live and breathe another day for Father. Don't let your lazy ass keep you from it! You're so close to your Blessed Transformation. You can't ease up, now. You almost have everything you ever wanted.

"Tired," Dean said to him. And he was. God was he tired. It felt like he had weights attached to every cell of his body, coagulating his thoughts, bogging his limbs, drying his mouth. He scraped his teeth against his bloated tongue, trying to remove the sour, pasty film.

Get a move on. Jason and Gypsy will be waiting for us. Don't you want to see them?

A surge of desire made the emptiness inside of him all the more acute. "Wanna see ‘em. Wanna feel ‘em again. Wh'r are they?"

Up at the orchard. Let's go. If you hurry we can watch Father feast on their souls. The words slithered from Brad’s mouth as it split into a wide, unctuous smile.

Dean shrunk back from him as images flashed and flickered—Maureen kneeling before a fat pishacha, its eyes bulging, its tentacle-like arms groping her as it gurgled happily—as happy as a child on Christmas morning. Dean could feel her terror—and his own—as the demon consumed her in a lustful feeding frenzy, his power holding The Kindred in place, forcing them to chant the words that separated the woman's soul from her body. The monster's power controlled their movements, and they bounded into the air, jumping and leaping and chanting as they watched the fleshy pishacha consume the last of their friend, its sticky, worm-like tongue poking out between razor-like teeth. It chewed and snorted with insane delight. He fought against the magic holding him, but his limbs would not budge.

"Easy, Slugger. It's just a nightmare. Calm down, now. You're going to be all right. Shhhh, it's all right. Drink some water for me," Brad said, reaching an arm around Dean to brace his back, shifting him and lifting a bottle of water to his lips. It didn't make sense. Brad's voice was all wrong. Dean took a few languid sips, but soon found himself gulping as much as he could, the cool water touching off his thirst. He tried to grip the bottle as it receded into the nether, but his hands were tied to the bed rails.

"Brad?"

"Okay, that's a new one. I think I liked Busty Asian Beauty better."

Dean squinted and tried to lift his heavy, heavy lids. His eyebrows arched high against his scalp, but the lids only made it halfway. It was enough for him to recognize the woman's cautious smile.

"Mei?" Memories slurried back as he wiggled his wrists, trying to figure out why he was tied.

"Take it slow, Dean. You've been asleep for hours. The sedative wiped you right out. Let yourself wake up; I don't want you to hurt yourself. You're at the cabin. Remember?"

He did, though each memory that skittered by made him sick with dread and shame. He'd attacked his own father, had attempted to run back to the demon that'd enslaved him for…weeks? Months? He wasn't sure how much time had passed.

"How long has it been?" he asked, his voice only half there. He coughed, clearing the chalk from his throat. There was an annoying strand of eye-goop blurring his vision in one eye, and his hands reflexively pulled against the restraints as he tried to blink it away.

Mei set the water down on the bedside table and reached her small, delicate pinky to his lid, wiping the sleep away, her own eye rapidly blinking in empathy as she did so. "We got you yesterday."

"Thanks," he said, blinking as his vision cleared. "No, I mean, since I was in the hospital."

"Oh," she said. "It was the beginning of June when you left. Today is August 20th."

"Jesus." He stared out the window. "Where's my dad?"

"Sleeping," Mei told him. "Went down for a power-nap about an hour ago."

"Yeah, I'm sure he needs it. I might'a concussed him." He turned and stared out the window.

"You didn't. I checked him out, he's just exhausted." Mei bent her head as silence fell around them. After a moment she glanced up, studying Dean's face as he watched the evening tide lap lazy waves against the drift-log barrier. A flock of seagulls nattered to one another as they bobbed in the surf. At last, the doctor broke the uncomfortable lull. "Did you go to them immediately?" Dean turned toward her. "The cult," she clarified. "Did you go to them right away, after the hospital?"

Dean thought about it. "I—I overheard some nurses talking about what happened to Jason. I went to check it out."

"God. I'm so sorry, Dean. I can't tell you how sorry I am. This is my fault."

Dean's eyes skirted hers as he glanced away, focusing on the restraints. "No." He stared at the metal buckles holding him down and shrugged. "It's my fault. I was stupid. Fucked up. Again."

"Don't do that, Dean. You were just trying to help. Thank you for that—really."

Dean shrugged again and balled his hands into fists, trying to get the blood back into his fingers. "Don't suppose you could loosen these, some, huh?"

Mei winced, guilty. "Uh, your dad is sporting a shiner, there, Slugger—not that I don't find that a trifle satisfying, I'm ashamed to admit. The man can be insufferable at times; I'm not gonna lie—but I'd rather not join that club, myself."

"I won't hit you," he said.

"No, but your dad'll clobber me if I let you go. Can you sit tight until he wakes up? You know the man sleeps like a giraffe. He won't be down long."

Dean gave her a humorless snort. "Yeah. I'll be fine." He relaxed back into his pillow, trying to piece everything together. He saw his life for the past few months play out before him in an entirely different light, memories becoming clear for what they were and not for what the pishacha had forced him to see, think or feel. He regarded Mei's still face, recalling their last meeting in Fairhaven. His gut twisted, thinking about it.

"I'm sorry for what I said that day—on the street," Dean said.

Mei glanced up, dragged from her thoughts. "You weren't in control of your actions."

"It doesn't matter. It felt like I was at the time." He shook his head in disgust and closed his eyes, opening them again, suddenly. "Wait. Was it you that got a hold of my dad?"

She nodded. "You, um…trashed your cellphone. I took it. His number was in your contact list. Called it and left him a voicemail. He called back immediately."

Dean huffed and rolled his eyes. "I'll bet he did. Wasn't my voice on the line."

Mei touched his shoulder. "No, but he was already headed this way. Said he'd left you a text that you never answered. He'd been driving this way for a couple of days—was passing through Oregon when he returned my call. I think another hunter he'd talked to said he'd last heard from you a few days after you left the hospital—no one had heard from you since."

Dean recalled John's last set of coordinates that he'd blown off. He vaguely remembered his dad saying that he'd had to put Bobby on the case. "He was just pissed that I ignored his text."

"He told me that he knew something was wrong when you didn't respond. That's a little different from being pissed that you ignored his messages. I don't know your dad well. He wears one hell of a poker face, but I know he's been out of his head with worry for you."

Dean bent his head, nodding. "Yeah," he said, unconvinced.

Mei cleared her throat. "Is—" she hesitated, her voice fading, naked with emotion. "Is Jason all right? I mean—I know he's under the demon's control, but is he well?"

Dean's eyes watered as he thought of Jason, a man he'd grown close to over the past months. Having been connected to him via Father's—no, the pishacha's—magical web, Dean knew that Jason had a genuinely beautiful soul—a soul, Dean remembered with a sudden pang of fear and adrenaline, that was in mortal danger. Mei must have seen the change in Dean's face because her eyes grew round and frightened.

"What? What is it?" she asked. "Is he all right?"

"Uh, he's fine, but you have to wake up my dad," he said. "We need to get back up there and get this thing. Like, right now."

"Slow down, Dean. We will," Mei said, puzzled. "John says that once the pishacha is dead, the spell will be broken for all of them, Jason included."

Dean shook his head. "You don't understand. We don't have a lot of time. Go get my Dad,"

"I'm right here, Sport," John said from the doorway, his hair askew, his cheekbone swollen and bruised from where Dean'd hit him. He strode into the room, bracing his hands on the bed rails. "How you feeling."

"It's not me." He swallowed, eyes scudding from Mei to John. "It's Jason. He's in danger. We have to help him."

"We're going to help him, Dean. We're going to help them all. That's why you're here," John said.

"You don't understand. As soon as Fairy's Ordeal is over, they're going to hold the Sacred Haoma Ceremony, and Jason's Blessed Transformation will be the show-stopper of the whole damned event."

"You're speaking a different language, there, Ace. What are you talking about?" John asked.

Dean blew out a breath of air and launched into an explanation of an Ordeal and how each member was forcibly taken to The Kiln and tortured for days until the last shred of his own will was gone. He described the Sacred Haoma Ceremony where they were drugged and forced to help the pishacha complete the Blessed Transformation, detailing how the demon's power held them, used them while he consumed the person, body and soul, and then twisted everyone else's perceptions until they believed what they'd seen had been a wondrous thing. Dean saw horror in John's and Mei's faces when he told them that both Jason and he were set to be the next two to go through the transformation.

"Jason loves you. He tried to leave, tried to get back to you when it was time for his Ordeal," he told Mei. "He tried to get away. He fought like hell. But The Kiln kills all of that; there's nothing left afterwards. At the Blessed Transformation there will be no attempt at escape. Right now, he's completely under Father's control—the pishacha's control," he corrected himself. "Jason'll go along with it. He won't be able to help himself—he actually wants this. It's the highest honor a person can achieve. It's what The Kindred live for." He shook his head. "We have to get back there and get this thing, Dad. Fairy's Ordeal will be finished any day. We have to stop him before Father can break her. Once she breaks, they'll hold the ceremony."

"We can't just go in there with guns blazing," John argued. "Annie says that the pishacha has to be killed when he's in his true form, and there's a whole ritual and mantra that has to be performed. We go in there unprepared and it could get ugly."

Dean swallowed. "Annie? She knows about this?" Dean had met the hunter a couple of times and had taken an instant liking to her. Hell, he'd gotten quite flirty with the cool thirty year old until his dad had cuffed him on the ear right in front of her. The thought of her knowing about what he'd done made him sick to his stomach.

"Just that we're hunting a pishacha. She doesn't know anything else. I haven't told anyone, not Bobby, not anyone." John's meaning was clear. "Anyway, Annie hunted one in west Texas about ten years ago, so I've been consulting with her."

"Then at least we've got to get Jason out of there, do the same ritual you did on me. We don't have a lot of time."

"We can't just run into the compound and grab him, Dean. You know that. We were able to get you because we could isolate you from the rest of the group, away from the compound. From what Mei says, Jason doesn't ever come into town to hand out fliers."

Dean sighed. "No, they wouldn't let him because—" he stopped, his eyes flitting to Mei.

"Because of me," Mei finished for him. "Because they knew I'd be out there picketing." Dean shifted uncomfortably and nodded. "Damn it," she reprimanded herself.

John didn't let either one of them dwell. "It doesn't matter. We have to be decisive and thorough, but we gotta be smart. We can't grab anyone else. We tip this thing off, harass it, try to surround it, and the whole group could self-destruct. With the power the pishacha has over those people, this could end bloody. One word from their dear-leader and that's all it would take. Or, if the thing decides to bolt, without their Savior near them, without his power flowing into them, they'd be driven mad. They would be beyond our help. They'd still be thralls, they just wouldn't have any outlet for their fixation. It'd break their minds."

Dean tried to calculate. Fairy had gone into The Kiln yesterday morning. He didn't expect that her Ordeal would last more than a few days, but for all he knew it was already over. Jason's Blessed Transformation would take place when her Ordeal was complete. They didn't have much time left. That was certain. "We may have a day or two, but we're going to have to get our plan together and get this thing done before Fairy is broken. Everyone's Ordeal is different, because every soul is unique, I think. I don't know how long she'll last. I'm afraid it won't be long."

"Then let's get to it." John started to unbuckle the closest restraint but then stopped, scrutinizing his son. "You're not about to hit me, are you?"

"No." Dean's face flushed and he stilled. "I'm sorry, Dad." He wasn't just apologizing for the bruise.

John watched him another moment, nodded once in acknowledgement and went back to work on the buckle. "Hit the head and get a shower. When you're done you're going to eat something and then we'll get our game-plan together."

With his hands free, Dean tried to rub sensation back into his fingers. "Yes sir," he said, eyes averted.

John helped him get to his feet, steadying him as he walked sluggishly to the bathroom. The drugs were still playing with his balance. John opened the door.

"I got it from here," Dean said.

"Leave the door unlocked. There are no windows in the room—just so you know," John said, unapologetic.

Dean soured. "I'm not going anywhere, Dad. I don't need a prison guard."

"I know," John said. "I'll be waiting right here just the same."

Dean grabbed the door, shutting it behind him with a sloppy bang that reverberated through the thin walls. He leaned against the door, gritting his teeth in wounded frustration. Gazing ahead, he found himself staring into the mirror over the sink. It was the first time he'd seen himself in months. There'd been no mirrors at the compound, and he barely recognized his own face, sharp cheekbones, sallow skin, haunted and hungry eyes.

Leaning forward, he turned on the water to cut the silence. The nonstop splash of water into the sink mesmerized him and the urge to chant spread through him like ivy on a summer trellis. He felt incomplete without it and the absence—the absence of Father and The Kindred—was a gaping void inside of him. Leaning over the basin, he splashed water onto his face with shaky hands, over and over and over again, the movement becoming mechanical and soothingly repetitive, his breath puffing, mouth gasping and grunting with each face-full of water, again and again and again. A sudden knock on the door broke him out of the trance.

"Dean, you okay in there?" John's voice came through the door.

"I'm fine. Give me a few damn minutes," he said waspishly, turning off the faucet and wiping his face with the back of his hand. He pulled his shirt off, examining his skeletal chest, each rib visible, muscle definition all but gone. Swiping a hand across his sternum where his amulet had always rested, he closed his eyes in miserable humiliation. He hated Father for that, hated himself more for having been so weak and because a part of him still craved to be with The Kindred.

"It wasn't real," he whispered to himself. "Mindless Borg, the whole fucking bunch of them." He ran wet fingers through his hair, wiping the excess moisture from his face, ignoring the fact that not all of it was water. He sniffed and moved to the toilet, pissing and watching it all flush away. He stood there, lost in thought, coming out long after the toilet had filled and settled.

He stepped into the shower, avoiding the mirror as he passed it by, drawing the curtain closed behind him. Turning on the water, he shivered under the cold spray for a moment before realizing what he'd done. He shook his head and bent down and grabbed the hot-water nozzle but then stopped himself. He pulled back, choosing to let the ice-cold spray hit him square in the face, filling his mouth as he quivered and shook. Bracing his hands against the tiles, his head dropped, and frigid water sluiced down his back. The compulsion suddenly grew too strong and he gave in to it.

"Father is life. Father is love. Father is my keeper," he whispered. "Father is life. Father is love. Father is my keeper," he chanted again, feeling nothing as he did so—knowing that he never would again. It was over. The energy exchange that had once flowed through him like liquid love was completely gone. There was nothing there. Shame and grief collided, and his shoulders shook as the tears came. He slid down the squeaky tiles until he was on his ass, breathless with sobs, knees folded under chin, the cold, cold water beating down on him. It was gone. It was all gone, and nothing but emptiness remained.

Go To Chapter 13

 
 
 
frostfalcon: Danny-boyfrostfalcon on October 14th, 2013 01:35 am (UTC)
Dean isn't going to be bouncing back from this quickly is he... he may be back in the "real world" but his head has got to be a mess. Poor guy... at least it looks like things are headed in the right direction for him, thanks for the update!!! I can't wait for more I'm always excited to see something new from you!
sharlot1926sharlot1926 on October 14th, 2013 12:55 pm (UTC)
Yeah, this is definitely going to be a process and a journey for him. This was a big turning point for him...at least he wants to get back in the game and save Jason. That's progress.

Thanks so much, frostfalcon! I appreciate the comment so much!

Kat
lidia1991_anlidia1991_an on October 14th, 2013 02:44 pm (UTC)


Winchesters against the evil again,yay! Give Dean a break please, poor boy! Wonderful chapter as usual!

Hugs you.



sharlot1926sharlot1926 on October 14th, 2013 09:08 pm (UTC)
Oh sure, sure...you know me...I'm never too hard on poor Dean. Pshaw...he'll be just fine next chapter...no worry...no worry.

Okay...on second thought...worry. ;)

/hugs you back!

Kat
darkrose_9darkrose_9 on October 14th, 2013 03:43 pm (UTC)
*wibbles* Poor, poor Dean. At first he was trying to be all tough, but at the end he just broke down. I really hope Mei can help him, since John doesn't seem to want to deal with Dean's issues.
sharlot1926sharlot1926 on October 14th, 2013 09:09 pm (UTC)
Yeah...not only does Dean have the same issues he had before this all began, now he has to deal with loss and guilt, too! Fun times. Hopefully someone will be able to give him a little relief before this puppy is over.

Thanks much, darkrose!

Kat
arlissarliss on October 14th, 2013 05:52 pm (UTC)
Dean, honey, turn the hot-water faucet. It's real, and you deserve a warm shower before going in to face that thing. I know it hurts, but at least you're aware of reality now.

I just hope they're in time to save Jason.
sharlot1926sharlot1926 on October 14th, 2013 09:11 pm (UTC)
Poor kid...he really deserves a nice hot shower and a big bed with magic fingers and maybe a pretty, pretty girl to make him feel alllll better, right?

Hopefully, saving Jason will be enough of a distraction for him...instead of concentrating on what he lost. Maybe going back into "hunter-mode" will be helpful. We'll see!

Thanks for the comment, arliss. :)

Kat
inanna_maat: Matadorinanna_maat on October 14th, 2013 06:08 pm (UTC)
oh... OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH...

MY God, this is amazing... but now Dean is "awakening", poor boy...
sharlot1926sharlot1926 on October 14th, 2013 09:12 pm (UTC)
Dean's coming back, slowly but surely. Baby steps, here. At least he knows intellectually what Father is. Getting his emotional side to detach from that may be trickier. We'll have to see how it goes!

Thanks for the comment.

Kat

P.S. I love your avatar. What episode is that from or is it from behind the scenes?
JJ1564jj1564 on October 14th, 2013 11:10 pm (UTC)
'I'd have never found him if you hadn't cleared my calendar for me. So, I'm glad. I am." Dean's smile was heartbreakingly genuine.' - and my heart broke a little bit too! I hope John has heard enough to make him realise that he needs to give his eldest a few positive strokes now and then. I was pleased that Mei stood up to John and made him face the fact that the ritual wasn't the only thing controlling Dean and that John took the time to speak to Dean - even if it was with an ice bucket! Another great chapter, thanks.
sharlot1926sharlot1926 on October 15th, 2013 01:40 am (UTC)
Thanks jj! John really needs to do a lot of soul-searching, here. Hopefully he'll find it in himself to own his own part in this mess. We'll see how THAT goes. Heh. Like everything else...getting there is going to be a bumpy, bumpy road.

Thanks so much for the comment, jj!

Kat
iontasiontas on October 15th, 2013 05:04 pm (UTC)
Poor Dean! I am so glad that he is out. John has some making up to do. I hope they get Jason out in time. I can't wait for the next chapter. I hope Dean gets to kill the thing!
sharlot1926sharlot1926 on October 15th, 2013 09:43 pm (UTC)
John has a lot of making up to do. Let's just hope he realizes that before the end of the story!

The clock is definitely tick-tocking away, here. They need to get on the road and up to the commune lickedy-split. Fairy's Ordeal will soon be over!

Thanks so much for the comment, iontas!

Kat
dark_australdark_austral on October 16th, 2013 03:06 am (UTC)
Whew, gotta love Winchester family talks. Now lets hope they can save Jason and Mei saying she was a fault as well. Wise woman, thankfully John started to listen to her. I also liked how you described Dean like he was an addict, coupled with him yearning to chant non-stop. It was a good analogy to see how much he was affected/struggling.
sharlot1926sharlot1926 on October 16th, 2013 04:43 am (UTC)
Thanks so much darkaustral. Funny, you know...I used my own experience of having quit smoking nearly ten years ago for this chapter. I remember how freaking HARD it was when I was in active nicotine withdrawal. I recall a few tearful, fetal position showers back then. JOKE. But close...very close. ;)

Thanks again. Two big chapters for Dean and John coming up and then we'll put this puppy to bed!

Kat
dljensengirl88dljensengirl88 on October 21st, 2013 04:01 am (UTC)
As you have broken Dean, so have you broken me. You're giddy with power, aren't you? Dean is free from the demon but now back in the grips of his distant father (and I LOVE John ordinarily). Come on, Mei! Help John give Dean what he needs to be strong in this fight!
sharlot1926sharlot1926 on October 21st, 2013 01:58 pm (UTC)
First off, may I say you have GREAT taste in avatars! ;)

Second off, thank you so much for your comment! Things couldn't get much worse, could they? Luckily Mei is the voice of reason here.

Yes, I'm always very hard on poor Dean, I fear. I do love to see him break...but I always try to put him back together before the end of the story. I pwomise! ;)

Thanks again.

Kat