Chapter Thirty-One: Salt and Burn Baby Burn
A/N: Okay, apparently I can’t crank out these updates fast enough to satisfy your appetites! It was a good thing I had about ninety percent of this chapter completed awhile ago. Thanks for all the great reviews. You all rock! Lots of stuff happening in this latest update of “Pangs” – so I hope it fills you up! I hope you like it! Chapter Thirty-One: Salt and Burn Baby Burn (aka The Winchester Way)
Marysville, California – late evening
Dean wiped a thick coat of sweat from his forehead before checking on the progress of the fiery grave below him. He had spent an hour and a half locating the grave of the former sheriff of a small town in California. The family members of Winston Harper had been so ashamed of his reign of corruption back in the 1820s that they buried him in an unmarked grave.
Dean watched the flames dance around Harper’s skeletal remains. The smell of rotted flesh flared into his lungs and stung his throat. He backed away from the grave as the fire completely consumed the bones. He felt his phone vibrating in his pocket and fished it out.
“Hey Dean, it’s Buffy.”
Dean kept his eyes on the grave cautiously. You never knew what could spring up from the fire.
“Hey, what’s going on?”
“I was wondering if you and your dad were going to be in town for Thanksgiving.”
“We don’t really plan for the holidays. Your mom got something going on?”
The gray smoke turned black and pooled into the sky. Dean retreated back toward his car.
“No, mom is spending the holiday in Illinois with my aunt but I decided to have a gathering at Giles’ house. I’m cooking the turkey with all the fixings.”
Dean paused abruptly. “Wait, are you actually going to cook or are we all going to sit around and pick out a Swanson’s dinner?”
He chuckled as he rubbed out a knot in his back.
“Ha Ha so funny. I can cook,” she replied firmly.
“Since when? I’ve only seen you reheat.”
Buffy sighed into the line. “Can you guys make it or not? I just thought since you’re always traveling you’d appreciate a home cooked meal.”
“Is there going to be an unlimited supply of antacids available?”
He laughed until he heard her groan loudly on the other end.
“I’m trying to be hospitable here,” she replied, “If you don’t want to come then just forget I asked.”
Dean reached his car, unloaded the shovel and flask in the trunk and climbed into the driver seat. He shed out of his jacket and batted away more perspiration from his face.
“Let me mention it to dad,” he said. “I’ve been busting my ass all month so I wouldn’t mind a break but it’ll be his call.”
“Okay, it’ll be nice if you two can make it.”
“I’ll let you know,” he said. “Anything interesting happening out there?”
“You mean you haven’t stalked me lately to know?”
“I’ve got better things to do,” he said defensively.
“You didn’t last month.”
“Yeah well,” he grumbled. “Whatever. So no end of the world scenarios?”
“Not so far. Xander had a bit of a spell the other day, fell into this chamber that used to be an old Mission. Apparently it’s a big deal to the anthropology community out here.”
“That sounds incredibly – mundane.”
“Yeah, I kind of tuned out. Anyway, I’ve got to run. Call me and let me know about dinner.”
“Yeah, sure,” he replied. “Take care.”
“You too,” she said.
When he returned to his motel room, he found a note from his dad saying he went to pick up some dinner. The mention of food made his stomach growl loudly and he was relieved that he didn’t have to debate where to fulfill his appetite. He stripped out of his clothes and padded to the bathroom. After a long, hot shower, he shuffled out of the bathroom and was hit with the smell of tomato sauce and cheese. He grinned at the sight of pizza and beer on the table. His dad had already dug into a few pieces and was perusing through a stack of newspapers.
“Everything go smoothly with Old Sheriff Harper?”
Dean pulled off a few cheesy slices, snatched a beer can and collapsed in a chair.
“Smooth as silk. There won’t be anymore hangings in this town.”
“Good,” John replied, not looking up from the newspaper.
Dean watched his dad skimming the front pages, looking for new cases. No rest for the weary, he thought. He shifted in his seat as he thought about another visit to Sunnydale. He surprised himself when he realized he didn’t much like being away for too long.
John Winchester pulled his eyes away from the newspaper headlines and regarded his son.
“Something on your mind?”
Dean took a long sip from his beer as he noticed his dad had circled a few headlines. In the end, it didn’t matter what he wanted since he couldn’t have it anyway, not with the life he lived. A new town meant a new guise. A new bar meant a new line to feed a girl just to pass the time or pull him out of his dark world for a time. Nothing seemed real. He had tried to have something real, something true but it blew up in his face.
Dean snapped out of his train of thought.
“Uh, no….it’s nothing.”
Uneasy sitting down, Dean chose to get up.
“Thanks for dinner.”
Early the next morning, Dean heard the motel room door swing open. He drew weary eyes to his dad, who swept in carrying breakfast. He sat up in bed and took the coffee cup his dad handed him.
“Got a case,” John imparted.
Dean took the newspaper article his dad had ripped out. The elder Winchester dug into breakfast and watched his son’s sullen expression.
“Is something bothering you Dean? You’ve been awfully quiet lately.’
Dean drew an amused smile, “Oh, I’m not my wisecracking self, is that what you’re saying?”
John Winchester chuckled briefly before getting back to the matter. Dean felt the weight of his dad’s gaze and blew out a few breaths.
“Uh, it’s just…seeing how we’re in California and the holiday is coming up….I was wondering if we could make a trip down south since we sort of have a dinner invitation.”
Dean related his phone conversation with Buffy the other day. John cocked his head and drew an apprehensive look.
“Buffy is cooking?”
Dean chuckled, “That was my reaction too. She made it sound like a big deal though so I don’t know. What do you think? It can’t be as bad as a diner meal.”
John eyed his eldest son pensively when something on the television pulled his attention away. He picked up the remote and turned the volume up.
“We’re reporting live outside Sunnydale’s Cultural Center where the grisly murder of a staff member took place late last night. Police have not disclosed any details to the current investigation. As we learn more, channel six will report back to you…”
“So much for a quiet holiday,” Dean replied. “Should we check it out?”
“I’m sure Buffy has a handle on it,” John said. “She’ll call if she needs us. Let’s pack up and head on out.”
Dean masked his disappointment.
Something bothered him about the news report but he obediently gathered his belongings. Dad had a possible case five hours south of Maryville. As Dean veered onto the highway, his mind began to stir with thoughts about the murder at the Cultural Center. It could have been some random smash and grab although he was clueless as to why any petty criminal would want to steal some old junk. Then again, Sunnydale was sitting on a bed of evil and Dean had learned over the years to trust his suspicions. Body count was high and any new murder or disappearance was highly likely due to demon activity. Normally, he and dad would have dove into investigating but since the town had a Slayer as a guardian, they respected her territory. She rarely came across a demon she could not exterminate. He sighed. Dad was right. She would call if she needed help.
Dean drew out a breath as the opportunity for a holiday break faded away. He would have suffered a stomach ache at the chance to see her again.
After four and a half hours of driving, John and Dean stopped at a coffee shop in a small town that hugged the California coast line. Dean was surprised at how technologically updated the coffee shop was when he spotted a bank of sleek computers with full internet access. When his dad stepped out to make a few phone calls, Dean ambled over to a computer and logged on to the web. He wasn’t as internet savvy as Sam but he was schooled enough to navigate through search engines. He pulled up a couple of news articles and finished reviewing them when he heard footsteps coming up behind him.
“What are you working on son?”
John peered over at the screen, “Did Buffy ask you to help?”
Dean sat back and quickly read the last of the articles he had opened up.
“No, I – I just had a feeling about something.”
John looked more carefully at the specific articles his son had researched.
“UC Sunnydale had the opening of a new cultural center, followed by the discovery of an old mission that was buried under the town after a huge earthquake hit in 1812, then a museum curator was killed on the heels of the opening.”
Dean tapped his fingers on the table as his mind stitched together a theory.
“Remember how the Master was trapped underground since the thirties due to another earthquake? I’m thinking this can’t be a coincidence. Whatever killed that curator, it has to be connected to that old mission because in our experience…”
“Nothing stays buried.”
“Exactly. Something may have been accidentally unleashed like that Inca Princess or conjured forth like that pack of hyenas at the zoo several years ago.”
John gave an amused smile. “It seems you have been listening to Buffy’s stories all these years.”
“Just the interesting stuff.”
“I admire your willingness to help but unless Buffy contacts us, we should focus on helping people who actually need it.”
Dean slumped down and let out a breath, “Yeah.”
He closed the windows and logged off.
“I know you like to check on her but she can take care of herself. She has for a quite a long time.”
“I know,” Dean said softly as his hope faded again.
Buffy strolled through the quiet church and called out for Father Gabriel. Giles had asked her to visit him since he was well educated in the history of the town. After making another pass through the interior of the church, she spotted a side door that was slightly ajar. She crossed over to the door and stepped out into a dark courtyard. Buffy called out for Father Gabriel as her internal alarm began to rumble through her body. She cautiously rounded a corner and let out a gasp when she saw Father Gabriel hanging lifeless from an archway.
Buffy set her eyes on the man in warrior garb as he brought up a shiny, wicked looking knife to Gabriel’s ear. The man sliced Gabriel’s ear off and tucked it in a pouch tied to his waist. Instinctively, Buffy ran toward the warrior and kicked out her foot, making contact with his solar plexus. The warrior staggered back but quickly charged forward, raising his knife. Buffy dodged as the knife slashed down toward her head. She answered his attack with a hard punch but he swiftly blocked her. When she hurled him across the asphalt, she battled him for the knife. The warrior began to impart an impassioned speech as he tried to break free from her hold.
Buffy blinked in disbelief when the warrior suddenly flashed in and out like a dying light bulb.
The warrior used the distraction to free himself from her grip. He got to his feet and transformed into a hawk. Buffy blinked again as the hawk screeched and flew away.
“Well, that was a waste of time,” Dean grumbled as he retreated to the car.
He had driven a total of eight hours to look into a possible haunted mansion. After only a few hours, it had become apparent that the mansion was only haunted by some bored teenagers looking to frighten the tour groups passing through town. He fished out his cell phone when he heard it ringing.
Dean heard a flurry of voices in the background.
“It’s Buffy, do you have a second?”
His sour mood drifted away.
“Sure, what’s up?”
“Hold on….will you guys hush up for a second?...sorry Giles and Willow are having a heated debate…anyway, I’ve got a bit of a dead guy problem and I could use your input since we’re kind of stumped here.”
“Really? You’re stumped?”
Dean eyed his dad escorting the teenagers out of the mansion as Buffy related the details of her encounter with a warrior spirit.
“These peas are going to be mushy.”
“Sorry, talking to Willow. Where was I?”
“Dead priest guy.”
Buffy continued her tale. Dean smiled as his eyes widened.
“No shit, he flickered?”
“Yep and then he…”
Dean blinked with excitement as Buffy continued to impart more details.
“He turned into a hawk?”
John Winchester approached his son and eyed him curiously when seeing the elated expression on his face.
“What do you think?”
“Congratulations, you’ve got one angry spirit on your hands.”
“I know that. I need to know how to get rid of it. Can you and John work this one? It’s your specialty right? I’m kind of up to my ears in potatoes.”
“Yeah, we can help.”
Dean hung up after digesting more information. After relaying the same details to his dad, Dean gauged his reaction. John walked to his truck and retrieved his journal. He thumbed through it until he stopped on a particular page. He crossed back over to Dean and reviewed his notes.
“The Chumash were indigenous to the land we now know as Sunnydale. They were a peaceful tribe until English settlers arrived to build industry and society.”
“I’m taking it the Chumash weren’t too happy about the American invasion.”
“As is common for people protecting their home, war broke out and tribal members were caught and either killed or forced into slavery and life imprisonment.”
As John described various atrocities inflicted upon the Chumash tribe, Dean noted the eerily similar methods used in the two recent murders.
“So this dude is taking the whole ‘eye for an eye’ philosophy to heart.”
Dean waited expectantly. John regarded his son’s anxious behavior.
“Okay son, Buffy has asked us for help so let’s head on out.”
Dean bolted into his car and veered onto the highway leading southbound.
Once the two Winchester men steered onto the off ramp spilling out toward Sunnydale, they turned in different directions. Dean was instructed to check out the old cultural center while his dad looked around the mission remains for clues.
The former center was a small and unimpressive one story building tucked between a newer looking civic auditorium and a convenience store. Yellow crime tape was draped over the entrance doors but Dean blatantly disregarded the warning, stepping over the thin barrier. The police must have shut down the center as there was no one around. Dean picked the lock and slipped into a blanket of darkness. He snapped his small flashlight on and moved down a short hallway. He swept the beam of light over various displays and noticed one case had been disturbed as shards of glass littered the floor.
He peered inside the case and read over the labels when he suddenly stiffened, feeling a presence behind him. There was a tense silence as an alarm rang through his body. If a cop had come upon him, he would have had his hands up in the air by now. He was convinced he was dealing with a looter, a nut or a demon. He leaned over the display case and feigned an intense interest. He heard the snapping of glass as the intruder clumsily announced their presence. He felt a hand on his shoulder.
Dean jammed his elbow into the intruder’s face and quickly retrieved his brass knuckled knife. The intruder staggered back and quickly charged him, sending his flashlight into the air. He was taken aback by the force of the blow. This dude was strong, like demon strong. He grunted as his body crashed back into a glass display. He threw a left hook and made contact with the intruder’s jaw. He followed with a hard uppercut to the chin and then a right cross both of which the intruder manage to dodge. The intruder delivered a head butt that sent Dean stumbling back several feet. He got winded and had to regain his balance.
He heard the familiar sound of a snarl as the intruder lunged toward him. He saw a blur of a fist hurtling toward his face. He blocked and countered with a right hook. The intruder caught his fist and flipped him down to the floor.
His blade was knocked out of his hand and he couldn’t see a damn thing without his flashlight. He swiftly retrieved the pistol tucked in his waistband and leveled it on the dark figure a few feet in front of him. He clicked the safety off causing the intruder to freeze. He spotted his flashlight rolling on the ground a few feet away. He snaked over to the flashlight and snatched it up, keeping aim on the figure in the darkness.
“Don’t shoot,” the figure said.
Dean swept the beam over the dark figure to identify whether his attacker was human or demon. He frowned with great dismay when he recognized the intruder.
“Angel. What the hell are you doing here?”
The two men exchanged ireful glares for a long moment. The tension in the room thickened with each second that passed by.
“I could ask the same of you,” Angel answered. “You can put the gun away.”
Dean regarded him with immense skepticism. “I’d rather not.”
“I’m not going to hurt you.”
Dean scoffed, “You just tried to kick my ass.”
Angel sighed, “I didn’t know it was you. I thought you were a - burglar.”
Dean lowered his pistol a millimeter when he thought of something. He frowned and leveled the pistol again.
“Bullshit,” he grunted. “You’re supposed to be able to see in the dark.”
“I hoped you wouldn’t have remembered that.”
Dean got to his feet while keeping a cautious eye and steady aim on Angel.
“What kind of crap are you pulling? You got your cronies lurking in the shadows waiting to take me out? You got Faith stored away somewhere to try and play me?”
“I’m not evil.”
“Yeah, I’ve heard that line before and it’s getting old,” he replied, completely vexed.
“Why does everyone think I’m evil?”
“Gee, you tried to kill me – twice - not to mention you knew it was me in here but you still attacked me. If you’re campaigning for absolution, you’re really doing a crappy job.”
Angel shoved his hands in his pockets. “Sorry. I guess when it comes to you I guess I feel the need to – hit you.”
Dean drew out an exasperated breath, “Yeah, well the feeling is mutual.”
“Look. I’m not here to kill you or hurt you so you can just put that gun away.”
“You tell me why you’re here and maybe I will.”
“You can’t kill vampires with guns.”
“I bet you can if you shoot their head off right at the neckline. I haven’t tried it myself but if you’re volunteering…”
An extremely irritated expression painted Angel’s face. “I’m beginning to understand why you drive Buffy crazy.”
Dean relaxed slightly but held a steady grip on the pistol.
“Look a friend of mine had a vision about Buffy- she’s in danger – probably from whatever killed that museum curator.”
“The spirit of the Chumash warrior I’m guessing.”
Angel regarded him with surprise as he got to his feet.
“You know it’s a spirit?”
“I know a lot of things. I’m not the idiot you think I am.”
The two men exchanged another long glare before Dean lowered his pistol. He swept the beam of his flashlight across the floor until he located his blade. He fished it out of a pile of glass and examined it before putting it away.
“I came to help Buffy,” Angel replied.
Dean tensed as he kept a finger laced around the trigger of his pistol.
“Why didn’t you just call Giles?”
Dean went back to look at the broken display case, keeping a watchful eye on Angel.
“I could have…I should have but I…I wanted to check into this myself… “
“I’m sure she told you she can handle it.”
“I haven’t seen her – not in person, from afar mostly…”
“She’s not too keen on people watching her from a distance.”
Angel drew a brooding frown as he slowly approached the broken display case.
“I don’t plan on seeing her. It would just cause problems and I – I would only be getting in her way.”
Dean drew out a breath. “Yeah well, the problem is even when you’re away, you’re still in her way…..”
Angel realized what he was implying and gave a guilty look. “I didn’t want to hurt her but...”
Dean snapped his eyes to Angel. “Preach it to another choir because I really don’t give a crap.”
He counted the number of weapons in the case and noticed all were of Chumash descent and primarily made for war.
“All the missing weapons are made for war.”
Dean shook his head and replied derisively. “Are you still here?”
“I told you, I’m here to help Buffy.”
“She doesn’t need your help. She can take care of herself, she has for a long time.”
“Then what are you doing here? Does she….need you?”
“As a matter of fact, she does,” he replied arrogantly. “So just deal with that Gramps.”
Dean put his pistol away and retrieved a handheld device. He began to circle the exhibit room. Angel watched him curiously.
“What is that?”
Dean shot Angel an annoyed look. “It’s an EMF meter. It reads electromagnetic frequencies.”
"So you're a ghostbuster too?"
Dean swept the EMF meter around. "Kind of except much better looking and no lame jumpsuit."
The needle hardly moved on the meter. Dean put the device back in his pocket and started to head out. He stopped outside the door when he heard Angel behind him. He turned to see Angel hanging in the doorway.
“Let me help you.”
Dean let out a contemptuous laugh. “Do I look like a little blonde Slayer? I don’t form alliances with blood sucking demons.”
“I was just saying…”
Dean opened the door to the driver side. He set steely eyes on Angel. “I heard you and I don’t need your help. The best thing you can do is stay out of her life.”
He paused before getting into his car. The dismay on his face turned into a stone cold glare.
“And if you ever jump me like that again, I swear to god I will kill you, soul or no soul.”
He finished getting into the car, turned the engine on and tore away from the curb. He glanced in the rear view mirror and noticed Angel still standing on the sidewalk.
Angel watched Dean pull onto the street, his own discontent still stewing.
At the same moment, they both said, “I still hate that guy.”
Back at Giles’ house, Buffy was struggling to keep all the arguing at bay. Willow, Xander, Anya and Giles had been bickering for the past fifteen minutes. She let out a little whine as she watched the fury rise in Willow’s face. She pumped her fist at Giles.
“Kill! Kill! Kill!” Willow cried vehemently. “That’s always the solution isn’t it? The human race is so barbaric!”
Buffy heard a knock on the door and eagerly went to answer it, grateful to escape the chaos in the living room.
“Thank god you’re here,” she said when Dean stood before her.
Dean stepped inside and felt dizzy as a whirlwind of excited conversation smacked over him.
“We have never encountered a spirit that can change form,” Giles lamented. “We’ll need to do more research to find a way to kill it.”
“I will not do any research to help you kill – kill - kill!” Willow hollered.
“You really think even former demons should be killed?” Anya asked.
Xander gulped, “Uh, that was the syphilis talking.”
Buffy looked Dean over and saw the cut in the corner of his mouth.
“You’re bleeding. What happened?”
Upon hearing this, Spike snapped his eyes to the door. “Is he bleeding a lot? Can I have a little? I can have blood from a human if it’s already been shed.”
Dean narrowed his eyes on Spike, who was tied to a chair. “What the hell is he doing here?”
“Long story, not important right now. How do we kill this spirit?”
Hearing Buffy, Willow stopped inflicting her wrath on Giles. She charged over to Buffy and Dean with a malignant frown.
“We’re not going to kill. No more killing,” she growled.
Buffy let out another whine. Dean digested the weird situation he had walked into and steered the discussion. He moved further into the living room.
“You can’t kill an angry spirit,” he replied.
Willow brightened with satisfaction. “See? I want to play on Dean’s team.”
Buffy sighed, “Then what do we do?”
“We find the place where this warrior was buried, we dig him up and then we salt and burn his bones. It should solve your problem.”
Buffy frowned. “You salt and burn the bones? That’s a weird way of doing things.”
Dean leaned against the dining table and grinned, “It’s the Winchester way.”
“Well, I trust you know what you’re doing or I wouldn’t have called. We should still warn the Dean.”
Willow got up as Dean eyed Buffy curiously.
“Giles identified a pattern in the murders. This Hus guy is attacking authority figures.”
Anya and a sickly Xander volunteered to go with Willow. Willow turned back to Dean after mulling over the solution.
“You should try the mission chamber, that’s where a lot of the tribe perished,” Willow replied.
“My dad is already out there. If we’re talking a lot more than one warrior, he’s going to need help.”
The group dispersed out the door. Several minutes later, an eerie scratching on the front door alarmed the remaining group. Buffy cautiously opened the door but found no one there. Suddenly, a jaguar lunged out of nowhere and threw Buffy to the ground, swiping its sharp claws at her head. The jaguar was fierce in its attack. Buffy held the jaguar off, taking scratches to her face and arms.
Dean hurriedly looked around the living room. He spotted a fireplace poker and snatched it. He lunged toward the jaguar. He swung the poker across the jaguar’s head. The jaguar shimmered, roared and then dissipated into the air. Buffy, Giles and Spike blinked in astonishment.
“A bloody fire poker killed the spirit?” Spike asked in disbelief.
Dean gripped the poker and grinned. “Iron. Repels the spirit. Buys us some time until we can light up that burial ground.”
He tossed the poker to Buffy and headed for the door.
“I’ll be back in a sec.”
A short time later, Dean returned with a couple of shotguns and a bag of rock salt. He saw Buffy swinging the iron poker at a flock of bats attacking Spike. The bats disappeared. Dean quickly loaded the shotguns and started to pour a salt line along the door and windows.
“This will keep the spirits out of the house.”
He picked up one of the shotguns and tossed it Giles.
“I trust you know how to use it?”
Giles cocked the shotgun without hesitation.
“I thought you couldn’t kill the spirit.”
“It’s loaded with rock salt.”
“Rock salt repels the spirit as well?”
Dean nodded and finished laying salt lines.
“Okay, I’m going to meet up with dad. If you run out of shells, anything iron should repel the spirit.”
He snatched the second shotgun as Buffy walked him to the door. When she swung the door open, a powerful wind blew inside, brushing away a layer of the salt line. Dean looked up and around. An eerie silence swept through the courtyard.
“I’ve got a bad feeling,” Buffy said.
“You’re not alone.”
Another powerful wind picked up and kicked the line of salt into the air. Dean looked down.
“Crap,” he said.
The cry of a bird caught his attention as he searched the sky. Suddenly, a dozen rats skittered over his feet. He jumped back as the rats were followed by snakes. Within minutes, the courtyard was bombarded by insects. Another powerful gust of wind blew through the door, removing the entire line of salt. Once the barrier snapped, an onslaught of spirit animals charged inside. A group of birds clawed at Buffy while rats nipped at her feet. Buffy staggered back, caught off guard by the attack. Dean aimed the shotgun above her head and blasted the flock of birds, causing them to screech and disappear. Buffy kicked the rats away, sending them sailing into a wall. They squealed and then morphed into a swarm of venomous snakes. The snakes hissed and began to curl up her body.
“Giles! Lay down another line!”
Dean stepped back and took aim at the coil of snakes near his feet. Buffy ripped the remainder from her body and chucked them to the carpet. Dean blasted them away. Giles scrambled toward the bag of salt as a coyote ran inside. The coyote snarled, leaped into the air and crashed into Giles, knocking the shotgun out of his grip. Dean snapped around and fired at the coyote. Spike yelped as angry scorpions stung him numerous times. He jumped in his chair, trying to shake them off.
“Ow! Help me! Someone help me!”
Dean eyed Spike as the scorpions crawled over his face. Salt blasts hurt like hell. He always tried to avoid hitting a person to spare them discomfort. He was about to intervene when he saw Giles snap the shotgun toward Spike’s head. Giles blasted the scorpions away. Spike howled. Dean shrugged. At least he didn't have to waste his ammo on a dead guy.
“About bloody time!” Spike hollered.
“They just keep coming!” Buffy hollered. Fear knitted her face as she swatted away an army of bees with the iron poker.
John Winchester stood in the mission chamber, his face riddled with great apprehension. He had found a bowl of herbs that had been used in some type of spell. After he spent a half hour arduously digging into the dirt, he discovered not one but several remains. He felt a painful knot in his stomach when he continued to dig and found more remains. When he had dug up nearly every square inch of dirt blanketing the chamber, he drew out a long breath and eyed his flask of gasoline.
He picked out his phone and dialed Dean. After a few rings, voicemail picked up. The dread sunk further into his stomach as he dialed Giles’ number.
Willow, Xander and Anya raced into the courtyard and gasped at the scene.
“Holy cow!” Willow exclaimed.
More rats plowed past them as crows and vultures circled the house. Inside the living room, four Chumash warriors suddenly appeared, gripping weapons Dean recognized from the culture center. Giles scrambled away and rummaged through his cabinets. He yanked out a bunch of iron skillets. Snakes poured into the house as Willow, Anya and Xander were attacked by wild dogs. Dean eyed the door. They weren’t going to be able to hold down the line for too long. He prayed his dad was making quick work of the burial ground. He couldn’t risk taking his sights off the ongoing spirit attack to make a phone call.
A warrior changed form into a mountain lion and roared at Spike.
“Nice kitty, pretty kitty,” he gulped.
The mountain lion dove into Spike, taking him to the floor. Giles emptied the shotgun on the mountain lion and squirmed his way over to the telephone when it rang.
“Hello? Yes, we’re being attacked by….everything! Can’t talk now!”
Buffy snatched the iron poker and began charging at the birds attacking her. She jumped into the air and slashed the poker through another set of birds. Buffy grabbed the iron skillets from Giles and flung them through the door.
Xander and Willow caught the skillets and regarded them with confusion as a group of Chumash warriors appeared before them. Xander hit the warrior with the skillet, making him disappear into thin air. He grinned. He struck another Chumash warrior.
“Take your syphilis back and shove it!” he said.
The fight continued inside and outside as Angel dove in to drive a warrior off of Anya. After several attempts to knock him out, he was stunned when the warrior flickered. The warrior ceased the advantage and drove himself into Angel.
"Die already!" Willow growled as she attacked the warrior in front of her.
Dean checked his ammo and felt his heart thunder. He had three shells left in the chamber and only a handful in his pockets. He pooled his thoughts together to formulate a backup plan. He glanced at Buffy who was tackling another warrior but she looked exhausted.
“Come on dad, come on.”
John Winchester did the only thing he knew when faced with a dire situation. He improvised. When he spoke to Giles, he heard the complete chaos in the background and sensed he didn’t have much time. He charged back to his truck, retrieved a tank of gasoline and dumped it all over the dug up remains. He fished out a couple of grenades, pulled the pins, chucked them in different areas around the open grave and ran the hell out of the chamber.
It seemed like hours they had been warding off the onslaught of spirits. Dean loaded the last of his shells and aimed at the warrior in front of him. Another warrior replaced him. He fired and cocked the shotgun. Another warrior replaced him.
“God damn you bastards are relentless!”
He fired his last shell and quickly retrieved the ammo from his pockets. Buffy and the main warrior Hus were sparring in the corner. She had the upper hand at the moment, blowing him back with a hard kick. Hus flickered then suddenly threw his head up and wailed. A tornado of fire consumed him. The remaining warriors inside the room all wailed as well before flames ate away at them.
“What’s happening?” Spike asked. “I can’t see anything, what’s happening?”
“Dad,” Dean replied.
All the warriors outside screamed before bursting into flames. Silence slammed into the courtyard and living room.
“Is it over?” Buffy asked.
Dean drew a confident smile. “Yeah, it’s over.”
“Yeah, we’re all okay – exhausted but okay,” Dean replied.
He and his dad had spoken shortly after everyone reconvened in the living room. He put his phone away as the gang helped to clean up and get the dinner table set. He eyed Xander who had much more color in his face now. Xander placed the television back on its station and turned it on to see if it still worked.
Buffy returned to her frantic worrying in the kitchen, checking on every side dish and watching the timer on the oven. She swept out of the kitchen and ambled over to Dean.
“Everything is ready. Should we wait for your dad?”
“No,” Dean answered, “He said to go ahead and start without him.”
He watched her brows furrow with a pained look.
“Is he being polite or is he afraid of my cooking?”
Dean chuckled, “Uh, should he be afraid of your cooking?”
“Hey look,” Xander said.
Xander was fixated on a breaking news report concerning the mission chamber. He cranked the volume up. A dark haired anchorwoman appeared on screen.
“A mysterious explosion rocked the grounds of Sunnydale’s newly discovered historical find.”
The gang gathered around as an aerial camera displayed an enormous black cloud of smoke that had billowed into the air. A raging wave of orange and red flames consumed the entire Mission. Buffy glanced at the television and then at Dean.
“Uh, is that the Winchester way too?”
Dean cracked a proud smile, “Hell yeah.”
Dinner was served and eaten with minimal conversation as everyone was completely battle weary. Dean sat back and flashed a contented smile.
“I have to say, that meal was pretty – edible.”
“Yes, everything was quite tasty,” Giles added.
“Speaking of tasty,” Spike interjected. “Can I eat someone now?”
Everyone ignored Spike.
“I feel horrible,” Willow lamented. “The meal was delicious. Me, I’m horrible. In a moment of extreme duress I reverted back to the human race’s barbaric tendencies to inflict – violence.”
“It’s the fight or flight philosophy,” Giles noted.
“Yeah and I chose to fight instead of fly away,” she grumbled.
“Well, overall you did a splendid job Buffy,” Giles praised.
“Hey, do I get any credit?”
Giles regarded Dean who was looking for praise.
“Yes, yes. Sorry. You were instrumental in ridding the spirit.”
“Dude, I was awesome.”
Buffy rolled her eyes, “Don’t be modest Dean.”
“Hey, you the Slayer, called me for help. I think I’ve got a right to rub it in your face.”
“Well, I guess I shouldn’t have expected a quiet Thanksgiving.”
“This wasn’t totally unexpected. I mean a quiet night in Sunnydale usually ends with us all battered and sleepy,” Xander noted.
Dean stole a glance at Buffy as the group continued to converse.
“Yes, it seemed like the good old days, all of us working as a team,” Willow said.
“Yeah, it did, everyone fell into line, even Angel,” Xander added.
Everyone at the table stopped their actions and stared at Xander who drew a guilt ridden face.
"Yawg," he gulped.
Whew! Feedback appreciated.
Another taste of what's to come in the next update....plus Buffy gets a real eye opener from Dean that drives her wild.Buffy kept a close eye as they passed several storefronts.
“Can you stop here for a minute?” she asked.
Dean pulled to the curb, outside a business office. Upon closer observation, he noticed a very minimalist sign. On the outside of the door was a simplistic white outline of an angel. He felt a pang in his stomach as he read the name of the business: Angel Investigations.
“You got to be kidding me,” he groaned.
Buffy drew out a breath when she saw the wide disapproval spread over his face.