“Bobby, glad you could come,” Xander said as he ushered the Hunter turned researcher into his office. Bobby Singer was one of the most knowledgeable researchers in the field of demonic possessions in the US. He was also a good friend of John Winchester, which meant that he had helped John with his own research, and right now they needed all the help they could get. He pulled up a comfortable chair for Bobby. Xander refused to be one of those people who had uncomfortable chairs in his office just to make those who came to see him feel insecure.
Xander’s office might as well have been a shrine to the Sunnydale Scoobies. Pictures of his friends and their families adorned all four walls. Bookcases held maps of every place they had ever traveled to; weapons with special memories both bad and good - such as the stake that Xander had killed his friend Jesse with, books that were no longer vital – such as the one that was a demon trap, and other odds and ends such as the key to his Uncle Rory’s car and Anya’s well worn copy of the Kama Sutra.
Bobby huffed when he saw that book, but indicated the window with a nod of his head where a Star of David hung. “That really work?” he asked, a bit skeptical. He’d noticed that Xander wasn’t being his usual comic relief self. Willow had once warned him about that and he hoped that a bit of shop talk could help. The only time Xander was this serious was when the shit was about to hit the fan.
“It works as well as a cross does. Willow found that out when her dad found the cross I’d nailed next to the balcony door in her bedroom. He wasn’t one of us, so he freaked about his little Jewish princess being contaminated by local Christian zealots; meaning me. She finally got him to calm down by telling him that she’d watched a marathon of monster movies with me and Buffy and the cross was there to help her ward off nightmares.”
“And she does the wards around here,” Bobby said. “You said it was urgent when you called me and told me to bring everything I had on Winchester’s demon, demonic possessions in the last century, any upswings in any sort of demonic activity that we Hunters had seen and anything I might have on a demon called Yknot. That’s one lousy pun by the way.” He placed a red netbook on Xander’s desk, along with a case of DVDs and a separate drive to play them. “Willow found me a kid who could put all of my books and research onto these.”
“I didn’t name it,” Xander shrugged, something that made Bobby tense. Xander should have taken the opportunity to make at least one joke. This was a lot more serious than he’d thought, and knowing this bunch it was probably another apocalypse. “I’m glad that you’re going along with Willow’s pet project though. It’s really going to come in handy right now. Yknot is the only offspring of the First Evil. It and its offspring are partially corporeal. They manifest as black smoke. Now, if I remember right your specialty is just that sort of demon.”
Booby sat a little further back into his chair. He had known for years that the Watcher’s Council had the best researchers in the world, but he had never thought that they would ever bother to research his sort of demon, or honestly even know they existed as more than a footnote in an ancient text. They had their hands full with the sort the Slayers dealt with, and his sort rarely made their radar. He had also never thought that any of them would ever admit that a Hunter knew more than they did, even if the Council was made up of a bunch of kids these days. Even if Willow had made his job a lot easier, she was still a kid, not that much older than John’s boys. Still, they did know what they were doing and being called up to help with an apocalypse was something that he couldn’t turn his back on.
“I know John’s demon has a preference for certain kinds of psychics; telekinetics, seers, persuaders, and the like. This file has everything I’ve managed to put together on tracking the bastard.” Bobby held up one of the DVDs before handing it over. “Possessions have been shooting up for the last five years. The demons themselves have also been changing, something that hasn’t happened in centuries. A couple of Hunters took out a demon that was causing plane crashes of all things, by possessing one of the passengers or pilots almost a year ago. A demon coming up with new ideas for death and mayhem is not a good thing. All sorts of haunting are up too, while encounters with monsters are going down. Those of us who collect information from the other Hunters are starting to think that they’re hiding from something, either an event or something a hell of a lot bigger that is coming down the pipe. When monsters start trying to find bolt holes, it’s time to pay attention.
“Now, if you’re right about Yknot being a child of the First Evil, and the parent of my sort of demons, then it’s going to be making a move soon. We used to get between three to five possessions a year. Last year we had over five hundred.” Bobby was sure that Xander would be able to put those clues together.
“Crap,” Xander muttered. “Even I know that these kind of demons like the number six.”
Bobby nodded. Xander hadn’t disappointed him. He handed over another disk. “This is everything I have on Yknot. It isn’t much and I never knew about its parentage. Now, why do you want to know about Winchester’s demon?”
“Yknot IS the demon John Winchester has been chasing for the last nineteen years. I’ve had our tracking division working on seeing what we could do to help him track it down as part of his and Dean’s signing bonus. Now that we’ve know that it’s Yknot we think we’ve managed to figure out why it keeps going after Sam or his family.”
Bobby groaned and shook his head in denial. There was one thing the Council was famous for; besides training Slayers and being the best at demonic research in the world, and that was finding and figuring out prophecies just in the nick of time to stop them. Xander didn’t disappoint him.
“We found part of a prophecy. Unfortunately the only copy we have of it was partially destroyed. What we could make out was: Hunting Seer who watches his own blood/His blood watches over Artemis’ daughters/ there’s a chunk missing there /Yknot born from the mind of the First/Children of the mind, his followers become/Hunter’s blood…something…something… floods the world in darkness. Usually we can find a complete copy of any prophecy, but so far we haven’t been able to find anything else. We’re hoping you have some ideas on where to look if you don’t have one.”
Bobby shuddered. If that wasn’t a description of Sam, he’d eat his hat. “How much time do we have?”
“If Giles is right, and we’re not sure of that because we don’t have a complete copy of the prophecy, then we have less than a week.”
Jordan stormed into the Slayer House at top speed. Hanna was right behind her. There wasn’t anyone in the kitchen, at least no one from their family. There were six of the students from the study groups, but they knew that their Watchers would have chased everyone who was not involved in their latest hunt out of the library. The girls dumped their bags on one of the counters and headed upstairs.
“Dean, please tell me there’s something I can kill,” begged Hannah as the Slayers came into the library.
“Sorry Hannah,” Dean smiled. He knew both Slayers were strung tight with stress from the tests. “This one’s non-corporeal. Plus you have a final tomorrow afternoon.” He was pouring over a pile of blueprints while John was counting shotgun shells with one hand. John had Johnny leaned up against his shoulder, with his other arm under the baby’s backside. Johnny was out cold. Poor baby had a case of the sniffles.
“If I don’t know it by now, I never will,” Hannah said firmly. She took Mary from Sam who was looking through missing persons reports on his laptop. Detective Evans had the paper copies of the ones that hadn’t made it into the system on the other side of the table, well away from the reaching hands of the little girl.
“Thanks,” Sam said. “She’s starting to fuss. I think she might be coming down with Johnny’s cold.”
“Even if it’s a ghost, we can still help right?” Jordan asked.
“What do we need in the way of physical supplies?” John rumbled.
“Rock salt and solid iron buckshot shells, cast iron fireplace pokers, gasoline, loose rock salt, matches, body bags if the remains are not in a grave, shovels if they are, Sam’s exorcism book, chalk and string, spray paint, snacks and a babysitter for the twins,” Jordan rattled off.
“Ok, most of that list makes sense,” Evans interrupted, “but why would you need iron buckshot, fireplace pokers, chalk and string, spray paint and snacks?”
“The snacks are for our Slayers mostly,” John said with a grin. “I learned a long time ago that a hungry kid does not help when you’re hunting.” Memories of Dean’s whining during his hollow leg years were amusing for John now, but it had been a real pain for him to deal with at the time.
“Pure iron, like cast or wrought iron, acts like salt does on ghosts. So if you can’t shoot a ghost, most often because a person would get hit, swinging a fireplace poker works just as well to disperse the ghost for a while,” Dean explained.
“And the chalk, string and spray paint are for more serious things, like if we have to do a full on exorcism or something. There are a lot of protective symbols and the like that we can use in our work, and the surface you have to work with determines if you use chalk or paint,” Sam finished up. Evans shook his head and went back to his search. It was amazing to him how practical these people were in such an extremely impractical field.
“Why is it that every time a woman went missing back then the cops decided she ran off of her own free will?” Sam asked. He had found far more of those than he had expected, even after a lifetime of doing this sort of research.
“Two reasons,” Evans said. “The first is that it was the height of the depression. Cops were busy dealing with a lot of petty crime as well as more serious ones committed by people who were just plain desperate. Almost every woman who went to college in those days was looking for a husband, or at least that was what most people thought. So, as most of these women are college students and not from around here, it was easier for them to assume that either the girls’ parents ran out of money or she found Mr. Right and didn’t need to be here.
"The second reason was more pragmatic. If someone actually had money in those days, they could get away with anything. I’m sure there were more than a few incidents of rape swept under the rug. If a woman was assaulted it wouldn’t surprise me to learn she had left because she couldn’t get any justice against a moneyed young man or older man for that matter.”
Sam looked disgusted, but accepted Evan’s theory. They were dealing with a vengeful ghost after all. They went back to pursuing anything really suspicious in the files, although Sam was less than confident that they would be able to find anything useful.