Episode Eleven: End Game

By Kittsbud & BurstynOut

Part One

 

Cardinal Seminary Library
Dakota
10:57p.m.


Kyle Williams gently teased the aged page over, being careful not to tug at the ancient paper too much for fear it might tear. The book, like all those he now had laid out on the library table, was hundreds of years old. It held secrets and rituals that anyone outside the church- and some inside- might scoff at; secrets that many in today’s society would call nothing more than fairy tales. Kyle didn’t think that way, of course. He knew far too much and had seen too many unexplainable things to claim such blissful ignorance.

The would-be priest had been searching for months for information after his encounter with the Winchester brothers, and now, at last, he believed he’d found exactly that which he'd been seeking. It had taken a lot of persuasion on his part to get access to certain records, not to mention a few white lies to explain his requests, but it appeared his little transgression had been worthwhile. At least the good he hoped would come of it should justify the means.

At last, with the help of church resources, he had found what the Winchesters could not. The Catholic Church, after all, was as powerful in its own right as any army or military think tank on the planet. Pastor Jim's Protestant ties could never have tapped the resources to which Kyle was privy.

These early texts, to which he'd somewhat laboriously gained access, told of something that roamed the earth thousands of years before man; an ancient enemy born not of flesh, but fire, smokeless fire. The description fit perfectly with what Kyle knew about the demon that filled his hellish nightmares.

Kyle’s hands began to shake as he realized the implications. Finding the demon’s true identity was as much a curse as it was a blessing, not unlike being burdened with the sins of the world with no power to absolve them. Now that he had the information, there was little he could do with it. A name and a description meant nothing without some mention of the method required to destroy or exorcise the creature, and the rotting Islamic manuscript he now held so delicately gave up no such secret.

The trainee priest sighed and tugged off his glasses, setting them down on the table while he pinched the bridge of his nose. He had a dull ache behind his eyes, and he knew if he didn’t retire to his room soon it would turn into a full-blown headache. Then again, a nightmare could exacerbate it as well. Talk about your Catch 22 situation.

Still, Kyle refused to leave his task until he had checked over his research one more time. He needed to be confident of his theories before he made the all-important phone call.

If he truly had found "the demon," then it was time to properly introduce himself to Sam Winchester. The young ghost hunter had inspired Kyle all those months ago, had made him see that his gifts could serve an important purpose. What he'd considered a curse could quite possibly be a calling, and now Kyle was anxious to give something back for the confidence Sam had helped him find in himself.

Only time would tell if the Winchesters could use what Kyle had found, but he was sure in his heart that they were the only ones he could entrust with the information. After leaving St. Mary’s Health Center himself, he had kept a close watch on the brothers, albeit from a distance, and he had been relieved when Dean had made a full recovery.

They had barely met. He'd been able to give Dean just a glance over his shoulder, a lingering look into the rear-view as the older brother had lain, bleeding on his backseat, and yet Kyle felt an uncanny bond with the elder Winchester. In some way, he held a gift as powerful as Sam’s, although Kyle could not control his own gift well enough to reach out and distinguish what that power was. Not that it mattered. Dean was as pure of heart as Sam deep down, even if the rogue in him hid it sometimes. Kyle didn’t need his visions to see that.

He checked his watch and raised an eyebrow in surprise. It was later than he had thought. He replaced his glasses and tried to focus on the aged manuscript, running a finger along the faded letters and numbers as he translated them. There would be time to unravel the mystery that was Dean, and if he was right, he'd get the chance to meet the wayward Winchester sooner rather than later. Hopefully this time they’d actually get to have a real conversation.

* * * *

Bishop’s Office
Cardinal Seminary
10:57p.m.

Harold Morgan tapped a pen absent-mindedly on his desk as he checked over his speech. He was young to be a bishop, and as such, he tended to feel more eyes upon him, watching and waiting for him to prove unworthy of his title. Perhaps Morgan was paranoid, but it always paid to err on the side of caution.

The next day would see the opening of a new wing of the seminary that had been paid for by a local businessman. Morgan wanted the little ceremony to run without a hitch, and that meant he needed to memorize his speech word for word. Truth be told, he hated giving any kind of oratory, and he hated writing them even more. As always, Cynthia, his loyal secretary had prepared the very religious sounding sermon and had stayed back with him until she was sure he had it down pat. Gracious, Cynthia, I’m opening a new wing, not introducing the Pope…

Footsteps resounded on the polished oak floor and Morgan couldn’t help but look up, expecting Cynthia to walk in and chide him for leaving things until the last minute as always. Instead, the bishop saw a smartly dressed young woman with a strange expression on her face. Although he was sure they’d never met, she seemed eerily familiar.

“Can I help you, Miss?” Morgan stood from his leather-bound seat out of courtesy, offering the newcomer a questioning but polite look. How did she get in here past Cynthia? No one is allowed access to the church office at this time of night.

The woman either didn’t hear his question, or chose to ignore it. She blinked, and Morgan was sure he saw her eyes flood with pure glistening black in the half light of his room. He dismissed it and cocked his head, a sudden memory returning from some nether region of his mind. He had seen the woman before in a TV news bulletin.

“You’re the doctor that vanished without a trace in Missouri. The police are still looking for you…” Morgan mistook her presence as a plea for help. “If you’ve come here for sanctuary, my dear, I’m not sure it’s something I can offer…”

Helen Fletcher smiled and slowly stepped back, allowing the holy man to see through his doorway into the room beyond.

Slumped back in her chair, arms splayed out lifelessly, sat Cynthia. Her eyes bulged, and her features held an expression of utter shock and terror. Blood pooled beneath her where it had dripped from the wound that gaped where her throat should have been and ran down the sleeve of her blouse.

Morgan balked. He stumbled backwards, almost falling over his own chair as Cynthia’s dire condition registered in his mind. The bishop sensed the blood draining from his features, and as he tried to reason with the killer, abruptly realized his throat was so dry no words would come from it.

Helen nodded knowingly and brought her left hand into view. Her fingers were wrapped so tightly around a small, but obviously very effective blade that her knuckles had turned white. “Where is your God now, your eminence?” She let the words hang in the air.

Her prey simply stared at her wide-eyed. Morgan had backed himself into a corner and was muttering in Latin under his breath. He remembered now just what the black, oily eyes could mean and only wished he had paid more attention to the Rituale Romanum instead of dismissing demons as folklore.

“It only works if you know all the words, Bishop.” Helen worked her way across the room until she stood before the quivering bishop. She noted with pleasure that he dared not even look her in the eye, and instead kept his gaze to the floor. “Say hello to God for me, won’t you?”

Helen raised the knife with a quick flick and savored the moment she felt it meet the bishop’s flesh. As he fell back, grasping frantically at the mortal wound that bisected his carotid artery, blood oozed through his tightly clasped fingers. He wheezed, straining to grab one last, desperate breath, but instead of drawing in precious air, blood burbled from his throat and seeped onto his lips and beyond.

With a thud, Morgan fell forward, landing stone-dead at Fletcher’s feet. She pursed her lips. One holy man down, one to go.

* * * *


Cardinal Seminary Library
Dakota
11:17p.m.

Kyle let the text finally fall from his fingers onto the desk and leaned back in his chair to stretch. He rubbed at the bottom of his beard out of habit, and then checked the time yet again, wondering if it was too late to call the Winchesters.

“Something tells me those boys aren’t early sleepers,” he muttered to no one in particular and fumbled in his jacket for his cell phone. He didn’t know how, but he always seemed to lose the tiny Nokia in his pocket. It was as if some black void ate the thing every time he tucked it inside.

“Talking to yourself is the first sign of insanity, or so they say…”

Kyle looked up in surprise. The library floor was polished wood, and he hadn’t heard anyone walk across it in hours. “I, um, appear to have lost my phone,” he offered, still fumbling for the Nokia. “Can I help you?”

Helen watched the priest struggle with his jacket pocket in amusement. “You don’t remember me, do you?” she asked, wanting, needing the holy man to recognize her.

Kyle stopped his search and focused in on the young woman with bleary, fatigued eyes. He squinted, just a hint of recollection playing across his features. “You were there, at the hospital. You were Dean Winchester’s doctor after…” The priest’s words petered out. He had left the medical center before Helen had become possessed, and had no clue as to why she might be here now.

“After my father almost killed him,” Helen finished and moved closer. Her newly established proximity allowed him to see the blood spattered blade she had used to kill Morgan and the deep set darkness of her eyes. “Everything would have fallen into place that night if it hadn’t been for your meddling. But now, now it’s payback time.”

Kyle’s gaze fell on the blade. Just who had the doctor, or whatever she was now, used it on? They know I know…

Unlike his bishop, Kyle didn’t back up or show any sign of fear toward the creature that stood mocking him. He had been preparing for this day for months, and ready or not he would fight this black-eyed, lesser demon until he had no breath left in him. “Exorcizo te, omnis spiritus immunde, in nomine Dei…”

Fletcher’s smile suddenly broke into a scowl. Morgan may have been a bumbling bishop who no longer believed in the old ways, but this one was dangerous. She flicked out her free hand in angry retribution, sending a bolt of demonic energy straight at Kyle’s chest.

The priest felt the impact as if he’d been punched by a heavyweight boxer and instantly found his body being carried back by some ungodly force. He slammed into a bookshelf and remained there, arms outstretched and pinned by an invisible energy that kept his feet dangling several inches from the floor.

He hacked harshly as the breath was knocked from him, and then gulped down air before attempting to half-cough out the rest of his exorcism. “…Sancti, ut descedas ab hoc plasmate Dei…”

Helen joined him at the bookshelf, spikes of pain beginning to show on her normally pleasant features. “There’s no protective circle to keep me bound here, as was the case with my unfortunate little sister. I can leave before you ever get the chance to finish your pathetic ritual.” She gripped her hands until her nails almost bit into her own flesh, the sting from the priest’s words was so great. “Before I leave, though, I want to give you a small gift…”

The doctor let go of the blade in her hand and it turned in midair, suspended by some unseen hellish power. It stopped just two inches from Kyle's face and then abruptly shot into the palm of his hand, hilt first.

Kyle looked down, afraid to see what damage the knife had made, and was stunned when he realized the demon was forcing him to actually hold the weapon, not stab him with it. He shook his head in incomprehension and his eyes darted between his attacker and the knife.

Helen found the reaction entertaining. “Thought I was going to kill you? Oh, I couldn’t make it that easy. I’m going to take away something much more important to you than your measly life, Preacher. You’ll see soon enough.” She began to chuckle as she walked away, leaving her foe helpless against the bookcase.

Kyle struggled, pushing every muscle to try and release the grip the evil creature had on him, but no matter how hard he tried he remained trapped, his fingers refusing to release the hellish weapon.

“Why? Why?” Kyle’s pleas filled the normally silent library, but he received no answer. He had literally been crucified against the shelf, and could not understand why he had been spared.

The answer, however, would come soon enough.

* * * *


Sheraton Hotel
Texas

The lobby restaurant of the Sheraton Hotel was not the Winchesters' idea of a typical lunchtime haunt, but they had a paying client who was footing the bill, and they weren't fools. Their own money had to be made to stretch to exponential proportions. Other people's money had no elastic as far as they were concerned. It wasn't taking advantage so much as it was just getting their fair share for all the times they were forced to make do.

Sam sat at a table in the corner of the bistro, feigning patience as he waited for his brother to join him. It was that awkward time of the morning when all that remained of the breakfast crowd was a few lowly businessmen who thumbed through stacks of paperwork in preparation for the day ahead.

Sam was one of the first lunchgoers to trickle in, and he noticed with amusement that the few others ordering off the lunch menu looked like they'd missed breakfast too. Most of them had the tired, glazed look of college students after an all night binge, so they'd probably been out at least as late as he and Dean had. He was pretty sure, however, that none of them had been dispatching a ginormous water wraith from the local water bottling plant. Sam figured someone had to pay the price for the kind of blissful ignorance those other patrons enjoyed, and today it was one Todd Henry, owner of Just As Pure Water.

Dean slunk through the swinging doors that led out of the kitchen and slid into his chair, one hand tucked conspicuously into his trademark leather jacket. He eyed his younger brother with a knowing glance as Sam fingered the linen napkin beside his place setting.

"What're you smirking about, little brother?" Dean asked as he scooched his chair up to the table. "Must've been some dream you had last night, eh?" He leaned closer, turning his ear toward Sam, "C'mon, you can tell your big brother, Sammy. Was it kinky? I bet it was," he hinted, raising his eyebrows suggestively. He punched his brother on the shoulder lightly. "Give me the PG-13 version. Maybe I can give you some pointers. That is what big brothers are for, right?"

Sam rolled his eyes. "Actually, I was just thinking how ironic it is that people are paying two dollars a bottle for this water when it's pretty much the same thing they'd get with a faucet and a filter you can get at any Wal-Mart," he lied, looking down at the table nervously.

"I see that didn't stop you from buying some," Dean said, pointing to the bottle beside his brother's silverware.

"Not my money," Sam grinned, raising his eyebrows in an identical gesture to his brother's earlier expression.

Dean picked up the bottle and looked at it with feigned interest. "You know, maybe we should put one of those tulpa symbols on the bottle. Whattya think? They take off the cap and get whatever they want out of it. It's all about the marketing anyway. They could put toilet water in these bottles for all we know. 'That's why I prefer beer myself. The alcohol kinda masks the toxic waste and kills the bugs without the chlorine aftertaste."

Dean grinned lopsidedly like he always did when laughing at his own jokes. "Honestly, though," he continued, eyes narrowing suspiciously."What are you really trying to hide? There's no glue in my napkin or anything is there?" He looked at Sam through half-closed eyelashes, and like most women Dean encountered, Sam could never help but grin when his brother did that.

Dean caught sight of a waiter balancing a heavy tray coming toward them. "Oh God, I wasn't gone that long, was I? Don’t tell me, this will probably be my last meal in a decent restaurant for who knows how long, and you ordered me healthy crap. What'd I tell you about ordering for me?"

Sam smiled broadly, obviously pleased with himself as a plate of very lean chicken breast and steamed green vegetables was placed in front of his protesting brother. Dean took one look at the offending cuisine and turned away with a grimace.

"Geez, Sammy, you didn't even order any potatoes. . ."

"Because if I did you'd smother them in butter and sour cream and completely defeat the purpose," Sam stated, diving into his own plate of food with fervor. He hadn't realized how hungry he was until the smell had hit him, and now he was suddenly starving.

"Thanks Mom, but I can feed myself from now on." Dean's grimace melted into a devilish grin, and he pulled his hand out of his jacket, pulling with it a brown paper sack with huge grease stains leaking through it. "Or shall I say, the sweet Martina, who works in the kitchen, can feed me."

Sam eyed the sack with disdain. "You didn't. . ."

Dean opened the package and pulled out a warm sausage and cheese kolache. Pausing briefly to eye it hungrily, he stuffed the whole thing into his mouth and was forced to chew with his lips parted because the treat was too large to close them. He couldn't suppress a small laugh at Sam's look of feigned disgust, and a few crumbs sprayed out onto his bland-looking chicken. Finally, he swallowed, throat stretching convulsively around the bolus. "Yup, I did," he smiled. "Since you took forever in the shower and made me miss the continental breakfast, I got the ever-so-lovely Miss Martina, with all-hours access to the kitchen, to save me some kolaches."

"And did she give you a tour of the supply closet while you were back there?" Sam asked knowingly.

"Oh, you know she did, Sammy boy," he nodded, scarfing down another kolache.

Sam shook his head. "Dude, the stuff you put in your body. . .You're a walking heart attack waiting to happen. What? You weren't impressed with the first one, so you thought you'd try to get one the old-fashioned way? That's like those women who have two or three kids and then decide they want to have one without the epidural just to get the whole experience. They always cave, of course." Sam took another bite of chicken.

"Epi-what?"

"Epidural," Sam repeated, "Like a nerve block they give women during childbirth so they don't feel the pain as much."

"And you know about this how?" Dean asked, eyes wide.

"The Learning Channel," Sam said matter-of-factly. "Come eight o'clock Monday nights, you couldn't drag Jess away from it. Nothing but babies being delivered all night long."

"And I'm sure she hogtied you and made you watch it with her," Dean suggested, cringing slightly at the idea.

"No, I watched it willingly," Sam stated, amused with his brother's reaction. "It couldn't hurt to know a thing or two about what to expect, you know, cuz I might be a dad someday."

Dean looked unimpressed and went back to eating his chicken. He decided, with a quirk of his head, that it wasn't half-bad. Wasn't exactly finger-lickin' good, but he supposed that's why they provided a knife and fork. Chicken that you eat with a knife and fork, that was just wrong.

"C'mon, man," Sam said, "I could be a father someday, and so could you." When Dean still didn't respond, he continued. "Tell me you don't wonder if you'd be a good dad," he prodded.

"Nope," Dean said flatly, face honest.

Sam looked at his plate, suddenly saddened. It bothered him to think that Dean really never thought of having a family of his own someday. He wanted Dean to think about the future. Hell, he wanted Dean to have a future.

"I don't have to wonder," Dean added, interrupting Sam's newly begun brood. "You turned out okay. . ."

Sam looked up at his brother incredulously, and Dean just kept on eating as though he'd asked the kid to pass the salt. Dean and his damned loaded statements. Sam shook his head. The older brother didn't quite have Sam's vocabulary, but sometimes Dean said so much in so few words that it was Sam who was left speechless. God, he hated that. Sam ducked his eyes, glaringly aware that he had blushed with embarrassment and reluctant pride. "Yeah. . . I guess so. . . Jerk."

"Bitch," Dean retorted distractedly, making eyes at a girl across the room who Sam thought might be the infamous Martina.

Before they could settle into comfortable silence, the phone rang. Dean pulled it out of his pocket, glanced at the screen, and tossed it to Sam. "Speaking of the future," he observed, "looks like we just got our next job."

Sam picked it up and glanced at it. "Coordinates," he pouted. "I can't believe he's still sending us coordinates. Would it really be so much trouble just to tell us where he wants us to go and why? Now we gotta spend all morning researching."

Dean grinned cockily and pushed his chair out from the table. "No, you get to spend all morning researching, dude." He picked up the brown bag and unabashedly leered at the tall brunette he'd been flirting with across the room. "I'm getting a little low on kolaches."

"Dean!" Sam protested weakly. He knew it was no use, but he wouldn’t give his brother the satisfaction of passing the buck without receiving some sort of complaint. In reality, Sam was glad to see the old Dean make an appearance. There'd been a bit of a Dean drought of late in which the older brother had only appeared in a misty sprinkling of his former self, and Sam was beginning to thirst for that familiar Deanity. Damn that snake girl for messing with his heart.

Dean bent over the table and forked a couple of bites of vegetables into his mouth. "Thanks, Mom," he snarked. As Sam shook his head with a grin that was probably more pleased than the situation warranted, Dean slipped back into the kitchen.

Since they'd already checked out of their room, Sam got his laptop from the car and went back to the hotel computer room to check out the coordinates. He noted with some relief that they related to a small town in South Dakota. Small towns usually didn't have a lot of news, so it shouldn't be too hard to figure out why their father would be sending them there.

After only about fifteen minutes of searching he came across a newspaper article that got his attention. The headline itself wasn't too startling, but the picture of a familiar face plastered on the front page caused Sam's hackles to rise immediately. He printed out the article and began checking for any police records. He just couldn't believe the story was true.

* * * *

"So, what'd you find?" Dean asked, leaning over the hood of the Impala as though he'd been waiting there all day.

Sam tossed him the printout of the newspaper article, which Dean only glanced at before tossing back. "What?" Dean asked. "You expect me to read it myself? What do I have you for, geek boy?"

Sam caught the paper before it blew away in the breeze and slapped it down on the hood of the car as though he could pin it there with just his finger.

"Dude!" Dean protested. "What is it with you and abusing my poor car? Jealous much?"

"Just read it," Sam sighed, and Dean did, rolling his eyes to feign exasperation.

"I hate to say it, Sam, but priests getting arrested is kinda old hat these days, and homicide is not supernatural."

Sam looked confused for a moment, then came to a realization. "Oh, I guess you probably wouldn't recognize the picture. I mean, you were pretty out of it that night. .."

"Whatever, dude, just spill already before I get tan lines around my sunglasses. What's the deal?"

"Dean, that priest is Kyle Williams. He's the one who got us out of the car after the accident and drove us to the hospital," Sam explained.

"The same one who pointed us toward the hospital in Wisconsin?" Dean extrapolated, pursing his lips in understanding. "So, what? He's really a psycho killer?" He asked, glancing at the headline. "Says here he murdered two people, and the police have a murder weapon covered in his prints."

Sam leaned over the article and pointed to a certain paragraph, brushing shoulders with Dean in his haste to explain. "Yeah, but it also says that he maintains his innocence." he reported.

"And that's supposed to be surprising? C'mon Sammy, no one kills people and then just admits to it. The world is full of greasy lawyers who can get just about anyone off, so why confess?"

Sam elbowed his brother in the arm, not missing the barely masked jab at his once chosen career path. "That's beside the point. But check this out." He pulled out the notes he'd taken on the police files he'd hacked into. "Both victims had their throats cut, and not just slashed, we're talking about imminent decapitation. It took some serious strength to do that, not to mention it's classic demon methodology. Or do I have to remind you about Pastor Jim and Caleb?"

"No, Sam, you do not have to remind me about that, but thanks for doing it anyway, dumbass. I was having a pretty good morning up 'til now." Dean scowled.

"Well playtime's over, man," Sam said, straightening up. "We gotta haul ass to South Dakota and get him outta there."

"And how do you intend to do that, Sam?" Dean asked, putting on his sunglasses as he stepped toward the driver's side door. "Somehow I don't think we can waltz in there and say, 'Release that man, he's being framed by a demon,'" Dean deepening his voice theatrically.

"I'll think of something," Sam insisted. "I did study pre-Law. There's bound to be a technicality or something I can find to at least get him released pending trial."

"And while you're sorting through mountains of law journals and red tape, the guy's a sitting duck. A man of the cloth's gonna be real popular in prison, Sam, and not because the inmates are all lookin' for salvation," Dean pointed out seriously. "The sooner we get him out, the better it will be for everyone."

"So what are you suggesting?" Sam asked, almost afraid of what the answer would be.

Dean raised his eyebrows and grinned suggestively.

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