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Summary: Supernatural X over Alias - Dean goes back to hunting and searches for a way to get Sam out of Lucifer’s cage. If only Agent Sydney Bristow would stop getting in his way.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Supernatural > Non-BtVS/AtS Stories(Past Donor)CasFR18951,9762233,22227 Aug 1212 May 13Yes

Chapter 7

Dean had been right about the storms. They'd reached for each other several times throughout the night, and then again after his cellphone alarm sounded, letting them know it was morning. Getting dressed had been much harder than getting stripped down. Separated and outside the warmth of the bed, he swore he was gonna freeze his damn balls off.

Even as he used the butt of a rifle to try to break through the ice covering the cave's entrance, he could hear her laughing softly at all his swearing. "You think it's funny? You just don't understand the negative effects of cold on a guy's ..."

"Funny? No... not funny at all," Sydney quickly schooled her features, but dimples still pressed into her cheeks as she repressed her laughter. "It's just that scientifically speaking, there are other parts of your anatomy that would go first. Frostbite typically starts in the fingers and toes..." she could see he wasn't amused so she let it drop. "Why don't you try the other end," she moved her finger in a circle to suggest that he flip the rifle and try and blast through the ice. "We'll want to dislodge any loose shelves before we head out anyway or we'll just end up on the wrong side of another avalanche."

"Looking for soft spots," he said, turning the rifle around and moving a few paces. "Let's hope it's sunny out." He wasn't panicking but the threat of the ice hardening instead of softening was real. "Not that another night here, with you, would be double the... huh... got my soft spot." Turning the rifle around again, he started digging into the ice and snow.

Sydney grabbed a pickax from her pack and joined Dean, hacking into the barrier where he'd started digging. Pieces started falling away in large chunks and a gap opened up several feet above them, giving way to a thin stream of sunlight. "Apparently you're my good luck charm," Sydney grinned, happy to be able to actually see his smile again without having to shine a flashlight in his face.

"Funny, I thought it was the other way around." Putting his weight behind it, he rammed the rifle into the ice again, putting up one arm when some of the snow and ice showered him. "Sight for sore eyes. Hell yeah," his voice got louder as more holes started developing and the sun streamed right through them.

When they'd managed to clear enough ice to be able to get out, he caught her waist and pulled her close, bringing his mouth down over hers. He'd meant to give her a quick kiss but the instant her lips parted for him, his intentions fell away and he was kissing her for real.

Sydney melted into the kiss - literally and figuratively. The heat of his mouth on hers was all consuming and their escape suddenly seemed much less important than it had moments ago. Pressing herself up against him, she was tempted to drag him right back to the sleeping bags, but the thought of the frigid air hitting her burning flesh was enough to cause her to draw back and reclaim her secret agent posture. "Dean. Mission. Balthazar will be on the same trail by now..." she gave him a look and arched a brow. "If I didn't know better, I'd think you were trying to distract me with your sexpionage..."

"Busted. Guess I got some practicing to do." He had half a mind to talk her back into the sack now that they had secured the way out, but he knew she was right. Putting a little distance between them, he blew out a hot breath. "Who do you think he'll send after us? More Sark-types?" He went deeper into the cave to have one more look at the walls now that they had sunlight, then they'd clear out.

"I have no idea. You're the one with the angel boyfriend," Sydney smirked as she started rolling up the bedding to pack it away. "This is all new territory for me. What's his M.O.?"

He scowled at her. "I don't know the guy but, based on my experience with most angels... he's a dick. Could be anything. He could wait until we're headed back, try to hit us then. Or he could play mind games, if he's anything like Zachariah. Hey, take a look at this." When she moved closer, he nodded up, indicating to a groove along the stone surface. His brow knit into a frown as he ran his fingers along it, finding nothing.

Sydney tucked the sleeping bag into her pack and slung it over her shoulder before standing up and moving over to where Dean was standing. She examined the glyphs along the cave interior that they'd discovered last night, but seeing them bathed in sunlight brought out new details. Her eyes narrowed in on the carved surface and the markings above it. "Hey, that's the symbol from Rambaldi's book... the drawings." She looked over at Dean and then back at the mark. "The Chosen." Even as she said the word, her mind reeled. It was so hard to believe that this ancient prophet had envisioned both her and Dean - drawn their likeness with such detailed accuracy.

Her gloved hand traced over the indentations and her head tilted. Suddenly, Sydney pulled off her glove so she could feel it with her fingers. "Look. They're hand prints. Two right hands..." Swallowing hard, she looked to Dean. "Take off your right glove," she instructed as she moved her hand into position to fill one of the carved marks.

"You've got to be kidding me." He wasn't just skeptical about the Rambaldi prophesy, he also hated the idea on principle. Every time someone talked about fate or tried to shove destiny down his throat, nothing good came of it. Biting on the material of his right glove, he pulled it off his hand. "I'm gonna be pissed if this works," he admitted, his eyes meeting hers.

Sydney's mouth pulled into a half smile. "Gee, I'd think you'd be more open-minded, Mr. Supernatural Guy..." she bit her lower lip and coaxed him with a glance to place his hand in the marking. As soon as his flesh connected, the entire cave started to rumble and the stone beneath her hand vibrated. The agent sucked in a breath and waited, but when nothing else happened she said on a hunch, "Push."

It didn't take much effort for the cave wall to move back, stone grinding against stone as they continued to push it until there was an opening big enough for them to get through. Breathing hard, Sydney reached for her flashlight with her free hand and illuminated steps that seemed to descend down into the mountain itself. "Well? What do you say? Might get us where we're going without all that pesky snow in the way."

He gave a grunt of acknowledgement, telling himself it was possible any pair of hands would have done the trick. His gaze swept the area that she trained the light on. "Beats getting back on that ledge or climbing. Let's grab our things." Within moments, they had their packs on their backs. She slipped through the gap in the wall before him. "Careful," he said, following her inside and jamming the doorway open with an empty thermos. He hadn't just dug his way out of snow to find himself trapped in rock.

The instant they'd taken a few steps down the stairs carved into the stone, the ground started to vibrate under the force of the door shifting back and lodging against the thermos. The walls started to glow an eerie green, lighting their way. Switching his flashlight off and pocketing it, he caught up with her. "Well, we've got lights. Maybe there's a pot of hot coffee waiting on us at the bottom. And donuts." His stomach growled.

"Yeah, right... maybe if you bat those pretty green eyes of yours, the monks will throw in a sauna and massage," Sydney said with a wry smile as she switched off her own flashlight, not entirely trusting the strangely illuminated rock walls. It was all very cloak and dagger, very much in keeping with what she'd seen of Rambaldi's secrets, but that didn't make it any easier to accept. She still couldn't quite wrap her mind around the fact that both she and Dean were sketched in a manuscript written almost 500 years ago. But then all that paled in comparison to what she'd learned in the past few days about vampires and demons and angels.

Taking a breath, the agent forged ahead, moving down the narrow stone passageway that wound deep into the mountain. "So, assuming we find the warrior monks, we should probably work out a plan. I assume they won't just hand the spear over, no questions asked..."

"Maybe you can tell them about the prophesy," he said, giving her a look. "Old monk versus glock 17, I think the glock wins." With the lights turned on, he had to assume that the monks knew they had company, so he reached for his gun. Keeping it lowered for now, he started to take the stairs a little faster. "Ever see The Mummy?" he asked her.

"Boris Karloff or George of the Jungle?" Either way, Sydney was pretty sure she didn't like where this was going.

"Brendan Fraser, actually. Place feels more like a tomb than anything else. Let's hope what's guarding the sword isn't something like an ancient mummy, or worse." He was only half kidding. The further down they went, the heavier and mustier the air seemed to get. "How far down do you think we are? I can't see the bottom of the stairs," he said, just as he stepped on something that snapped. Glancing down and simultaneously pointing the gun, he saw he'd stepped on bones. Human bones. Down further was the skull that had once been attached to the rest of the skeletal remains.

Sydney turned at the crunch and followed Dean's gaze to see the skull. Great. "Well we were at about eight thousand feet at the cave," she reached to her belt to tip up the altimeter. "We've gone down about 500 feet. Unless this monastery is deep underground, which doesn't make any sense, we should run into it within the next 500 feet or so." She was assuming the monastery was nestled in one of the valleys between peaks, which was why it had remained hidden for so long.

"About that ancient mummy thing... please tell me you're kidding about that," Sydney said as she continued on past the bones. "And if you're not kidding... what's worse than a mummy?"

"Lots of things. Usually whatever the monster of the week is, what I'm hunting." Whatever was about to kill you was the worst thing at that moment in time. "Just how many gadgets you got stashed under that jacket? Never mind, I'll figure it out for myself, later," he added, tossing a leer her way but concentrating on their surroundings.

They were quiet for a while, conserving their air. The exertion was raising Dean's body temperature and he felt a sheen of sweat forming on his brow. If they weren't on the right track, if the sword wasn't here, he was gonna be pissed off. "There... looks like the landing," he said pointing with his chin and gripping his pistol. A few moments later, he slipped through a stone doorway, found what appeared to be an empty room, and lowered his weapon again.

Sydney was about to follow Dean through the doorway when she thought she heard something behind her. She stopped and listened, but she couldn’t be sure. “Did you hear that?” she whispered, straining her ears to pick up what had sounded like the far-off echoes of movement in the passage way from where they’d just come.

He took a step back and listened. Whatever the sound had been, it wasn’t there anymore. “Rats picking off the guy’s bones?” Waiting another long moment and still hearing nothing, he gave a shrug. It was too long of a hike to go up and check. “Maybe the entrance trying to close.”

“Maybe,” Sydney said uncertainly. But what else could it be? There hadn’t been any adjoining passages so either something had magically appeared inside, or someone had followed them through the cave entrance. Her agent training told her that either option was impossible, but since Dean had entered her life and turned it upside-down, now she wasn’t so sure anything was impossible.

Despite her reservations, there wasn’t anything to be done about it, so Sydney followed Dean through the door into the empty room. Torches lit the expansive circular chamber causing shadows to lick across the gleaming marble walls. Obviously someone knew they were coming -- but where were they? Aside from the doorway they’d just come through, there were seven other open arches carved into the marble walls. Which one to take?

Before they went any further, Sydney dropped her pack and stepped out of her snow suit before she overheated. She also wanted to be able to maneuver if things went badly with the warrior monks. Feeling better with her weapons within easy reach, the agent started moving around the chamber, looking at all the symbols to try and figure out which way they should go. She spotted the now familiar symbol for The Chosen that was carved into one of the arches and gestured to the door. “So Monty... should we see what’s behind door number three?”

“That makes it easy.” Too easy often meant trouble but maybe this wasn’t one of those times. Stripping his own jacket off and tossing it over her things, he headed for the door with her. Placing his hand over the groove in the stone, he waited for her to put her hand next to his, then they both pushed. Just like in the cave, the wall shifted, opening up into a large chamber.

At the other end of the room, there was a large alter. Seeing the spear laying across it, Dean’s heart gave a tumble. So close. So damned close.

He’d been about to take a step when a shadow moved. He put his arm out, barring Syd’s way, when another shadow moved, and another. Monks, dressing in long robes, started to step out of the pillared arches along the walls of the chamber. “Company,” he warned, lifting his gun and pointing it at the monk that was closest to them, and who was walking toward them.

“Don’t move. Stay right there,” he ordered, his jaw clenching tight when the monk continued to walk toward them.

Instinctively putting her back to Dean, Sydney raised her own weapon, sweeping it from one to the other as they stepped out and surrounded them. When they didn’t make any threatening moves, she lowered the gun and turned to stand beside Dean, while still watching his back.

The monk was silent for a long moment before he finally lowered the hood of his robe off his head. “You are The Chosen,” he said, his voice so raspy it was as if they were the first words he’d spoken in a very long time.

“So we keep hearing,” Dean acknowledged, his gun still trained on the man. “We’re here for the spear.” His tone made it clear he intended to take it.

When the monk didn’t speak again and his eyes dropped to the gun, Sydney elbowed Dean in the ribs. “What my fellow Chosen One means is that we’re grateful your guardianship of such an important artifact. We understand the Spear of Longinus has been under your protection for many centuries.”

When Dean lowered his weapon, the monk nodded. “Our prophets foretold of your coming.” He shifted his steely gaze to Dean. “And you will attest that your woman is pure?”

Sydney’s eyes widened slightly, but she carefully schooled her features as she looked to Dean, willing him to answer correctly or there might be trouble.

“What now?” Beyond surprised, Dean blinked a couple of times, before turning to Syd. It was one of those questions that had no right answer, he was pretty damned sure of it. But he was equally sure if he said anything but ‘yes,’ they wouldn’t get the spear without a fight. They could take these monks, he was sure of it, but did he want to take the chance that one of them would slip away with the spear? This place was huge and who knew how many hidden chambers there were?

Clearing his throat, he looked back at the monk and hoped like hell that there wouldn’t be hell to pay for later. “Yeah. Perfectly pure. As pure as... Pure, you know, the detergent.” The monk had no sense of humor, at least from the way his lips thinned.

Certain she’d give herself away, Sydney didn’t dare shoot Dean the stink-eye. Pure as detergent?

“Very well,” he said after a long speculative look. With the spear held lengthwise in both hands, he extended his reach toward Sydney, speaking in an unfamiliar language that agent assumed had to be Enochian.

Swallowing hard and then drawing in a breath, Sydney held out her hands to accept the ancient weapon. As soon as her fingers closed around the shaft, the tip started to glow a molten red. Her eyes widened slightly and she instinctively feinted back just as the monks started to close in around them, drawing weapons from under their cloaks.

“That just means she’s smokin’ hot,” Dean quickly inserted, stepping between the monks and Syd. “Let’s go home.” Even before he finished the suggestion, Syd had turned and was on her way out. “Dudes, we got this,” Dean told the monks, raising his hands to gesture for them to stop. Why did that only worked in his dreams?

As the monks advanced, Dean ran for the door, overturning a large chest next to it to slow them down. It worked much better than he’d expected because an oil lamp had gone crashing to the ground and the chest and some tapestries hanging on the nearby wall caught fire. Some of the monks were shouting about sacrilege and bending to pick up the items that had fallen to the ground, while others were beating at the flames and trying to put them out. It sucked that the closest fire department was hundreds of miles away.

Seeing that Syd was already at the other end of the large chamber, Dean went to grab their duffel bags, threw them over his shoulder and followed her. “Stairs are...”

A door flew open and several more monks came rushing toward them, swords drawn. “There!” Sydney said gesturing behind the newest threat to indicate the door they’d just come through where she could see a steep set of stone stairs leading upward. Fighting her instinct to draw her gun, she used the spear instead to maneuver her way past them - flipping and spinning around them as best she could.

“Don’t shoot,” she warned Dean. Despite their current predicament, these were the good guys and she had no intention of leaving any casualties behind. But when one of the monks got her in a choke hold, she wasn’t above using the molten tip to encourage him to release her, spiraling away as he let out a pained shout from the brand impression that was seared into his flesh. “Look, purity is kind of a relative thing, don’t you think?” she tried to reason with them, but it wasn’t working.

“Easy to say when you’ve got a spear,” Dean muttered, using one of the duffle bags to shield himself from a sword tip, then kicking the monk’s legs out from under him. “You know, bullets don’t kill, it’s bad aim that does.” He wasn’t above shooting below their waists if needed.

Reaching her, he aimed for the knee of the monk about to go after Syd again, but had a better idea. “C’mon, dude, you wouldn’t want the spear to accidentally break, would you?” He tossed Sydney a look and moved in closer, guarding the sword from the others.

Following Dean’s lead, Sydney let the spear slide through her hands until she was wielding it like a baseball bat ready to slam it against a stone sculpture. It was a damn sturdy weapon and she wasn’t even sure she’d be able to break it, but from the way they instantly halted their attacks, it was clear the bluff works. “We’ll take good care of it,” she promised. “We’re the Chosen Ones. Isn’t that what really matters?”

Rapid-fire discussion broke out among the monks. “Is that good, or bad?” Dean asked, since the monks had switched to Italian, probably not realizing at least one of them spoke it. Before she answered, new sounds started filling and echoing in the chamber. Turning his head sharply toward the door that went to the stairs, he saw a bunch of men in dark suits entering. Had they been followed from the cave down to here?

“Now that can’t be good,” he said, jerking his jaw. “We got company. Vamps,” he said loudly, not only to Syd, but to the monks. The light clothes and the sunglasses tucked up on their heads or hanging from cords around their necks were the giveaway.

Dropping the bags, Dean popped off a couple of rounds, slowing the approaching vamps slightly. “Gimme that,” without permission, he wrested a sword out of a monk’s hand. “Decap, it’s what you gotta do to kill them,” he explained, as he quickly pulled a large jar out of the duffel bag and dipped the sword tip into dead man’s blood. “This will paralyze them. All of you, use it.”

Leaving it on the ground,” he looked at Syd, “dip the spear in too,” he called out, pushing forward and demonstrating the effect of the blood and how to kill a vampire.

Sydney’s mind whirled, years of agent training leaving her woefully unprepared for what Dean was suggesting. It took a flash of jagged, razor-sharp fangs ripping out the throat of one of the monks to move her to action. But before she could reach the blood, one of the monks rushed her, speaking in clipped Italian warning her not to taint the sacred spear.

All the while, warrior monks were dropping into the chamber from high ledges and it appeared that they were at least holding their own against the dark-suited vampires. First bike, now mafia types? What was next... ninja vampires? The thought barely registered before Sydney found that both she and Dean were being ushered through a passage she hadn’t seen before.

“They’re saying they’ll hold them off... give us time to escape,” Sydney translated for Dean before she responded with a grateful thank-you. Apparently there were worse fates than leaving their precious spear in the custody of a Chosen One who was less than pure.

It went against the grain, to run when others stayed to fight, but more than anything, Dean wanted to get the spear out of there. It was his one chance at getting his brother back. And yeah, maybe he should be more worried about just keeping the spear from others, but screwed up priorities were nothing new to him.

As they ran, a loud rumbling sounded. Syd’s hair whipped against his face when she abruptly turned her face. They saw that a wall was sliding out of place and, beyond it, was snow and sun. He gave her a nod, and then they both ran for it, lengthening their strides when they saw that the wall was already sliding back to close.

“Go, go, go,” he shouted, putting his hand on her back and giving her a shove right as she got to the exit. In the next instant, he felt her hand clamp around his clothes and he was pulled out after her.

Most of their equipment was gone. Their jackets had been left behind and if they didn’t get out of the cold soon, they were toast. “Cas, get your ass down here,” Dean shouted as they continued to run, hoping that since this was the base of the cliff, Cas could get to them.

Sydney’s adrenaline was pumping hard enough so that she didn’t feel the cold, despite the subzero temperatures whipping around their bodies. When it seemed clear that they weren’t being followed, she pulled Dean into a crevice in the rock wall. Pushing her hair off her face, she turned to him, cheeks and nose pink as numbness started to settle in. “You think they’ll be okay? If those... those vampires are anything like the Death Lords...” her voice trailed off with worry. Were the monks prepared to deal with the supernatural element? It didn’t seem fair that they’d just left them.

She gripped the spear tightly and her jaw set in a hard line. She had to stay on mission -- even if it was no longer CIA mission. It was Dean’s mission to get his brother back.

He opened his mouth, wanting to tell her he was sure everything would be fine, but the lie stuck in his throat. “I don’t know,” he admitted. “Last I saw, there were more monks getting there so they might have the numbers. They know how to fight and they know the temple, could give them an advantage.” He took a deep breath but the air was so frigid, it hurt his lungs. “Everything they gave up, everything they did to keep the spear protected would be for nothing if we’d stayed. We had no choice.” He knew damn well that having no choice didn’t ease the guilt and didn’t make you any less sad about a tragedy.

Sydney nodded. She knew he was right, but it didn’t make it any easier.
She leaned into Dean, slipping her arms around him. But body heat wasn’t going to save them this time. Without any kind of protection, they’d succumb to hypothermia before they could find shelter. Blinking rapidly to fend off the emotion, she tilted her face up to the heavens. “Castiel?” she swallowed hard, not feeling like she had any right to call on an angel. “Uh... we need an extraction.”

After waiting a moment, Dean called out again. “C’mon Cas, we need to get outta here, pronto. Freezing out asses off...” He made a face when nothing happened. Rubbing her arms, he looked upward. “It’s now or never. Balty’s right behind--”

Appearing before them, Castiel sharply turned his head to the right, then left, as if waiting for something, and then Dean felt Cas’ hand on his shoulder and braced. In a split second, they were yanked out of their snowy surroundings and found themselves standing next to the Impala, in front of a small motel.

The sun was beating down on them, though it wasn’t overly warm. Dean wiped his hand over the hood of the car, then wiped the dust off on his jeans. “Looks like me and you are gonna have to find some alone time,” he told the car, shrugging off the looks from Syd and Castiel.

“Balthazar was nowhere near.”

“My mistake,” Dean answered Cas. “Hey, I was freezing my dick off... no not literally,” he rolled his eyes as the angel’s gaze travelled downwards over his body.

“Thank you,” Sydney flashed the angel a grateful smile. “We got it,” she lifted the spear and saw that the tip was no longer glowing hot. She hoped that was a good sign. Her gaze bounced between Cas and Dean. “So... this means we can get your brother back... Right?”

“You’re welcome,” Castiel gave Sydney a nod, then put his hand out to stop Dean from answering. “You should reconsider. There is a strong possibility that if you’re successful, he will come back wrong. Dean, this is not like me pulling you out of hell. You were part of the general population tortured by demons. Sam is in a small cage under the constant attention of Lucifer himself. There may be nothing left of him to save.”

Dean felt like he’d been kicked in the gut, even though he knew everything Cas said was true. Sam had been in the cage for much longer than Dean had been in hell. If he felt he’d come back a little wrong, what would Sam be like? He lifted his chin. “Maybe. But you can’t know that, you don’t know Sam like I know him. He’s a stubborn sonovabitch.” Looking away, Dean ran a hand through his hair and turned back, looking more determined than ever. “I can’t leave his soul there like that, I can’t. Even if it means I might have to...” He closed his eyes for a moment, his father’s last words still haunting him. Wouldn’t it be ironic if he had to kill his brother, not because he’d been evil, but because he’d done, if not the right thing, the thing that saved the world?

The color drained from Sydney’s face as she listened to the exchange. Dean had been in Hell? And Castiel had... brought him back? It seemed impossible, but wasn’t that just exactly what the spear was supposed to do for his brother? It’s what she’d been fighting for. She wasn’t sure why she’d accepted that as a possibility, but the idea that Dean had died... it struck her hard. But she couldn’t lose it now. She could see the anguish in his face and she went to him, her hand on his chest so she could feel his heart beating beneath her touch.

“It’s not going to come to that,” she told him with firm conviction. “You’re going to get him back, and he’ll be just fine. Just like you.” She was scared to death that it wasn’t true, but she didn’t let it show on her face as she looked up at him, her jaw set in a hard line. “So let’s just do this. What is it going to take? My blood, right...?” Her fist tightened on his shirt for a moment before she drew in a breath to steel herself.

Exhaling in a long slow breath, she held Dean’s gaze without wavering and held out the spear. “Take it.”

The tug on his shirt brought Dean out of it. There were a thousand ways it could all go wrong. He knew that. Cas knew that. Maybe she knew that, and maybe she didn’t. But she believed, and that had to count for something. Believed and was ready to help, to give her own blood for his brother.

Dean gave her a smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes. “It’s going to be fine,” he agreed, reaching for the spear. As he closed his fingers around it, his hand touched hers. A soft, electrical hum was all the warning they got before the spear started to vibrate. “Yeah, we’re getting him back, in one piece,” he said with more certainly in his voice.

Sydney sucked in a sharp breath and her eyes darted to the shaft of the spear that vibrated beneath her touch -- their touch. Further validation that this is something they were meant to do together. That they were meant to be together.

“I think it’s telling us to get this show on the road, huh?” her expression broke into a dimpled smile. He looked so serious. He should be happy. They were almost there. “So what’s next? Isn’t there usually a chicken or goat involved in these ritual things...?” she said only half-joking. She hoped that wasn’t the case.

“Sacrifice is often an element.” Some say it is a barter but in truth...”

Dean’s mind tuned Castiel’s explanation out as he was reminded of his earlier fears. A blood sacrifice was required. Sydney’s. But how much of it? What was the true cost of getting his brother back? What if the cost was too high. What if the ritual would harm her? Even if he hadn’t fallen for her hard, if she hadn’t come to mean as much as she did to him, he could never have traded her life for Sam’s. She wasn’t some demon, something to be used as a bargaining chip. There was a real chance that he was about to hit another road block.

“Dean,” Castiel repeated.

“Huh, what?” Dean raised his gaze, then looked at the two of them, his hand tightening around the spear.

“The ritual. What does it entail?”

“I don’t know, I haven’t finished translating it. It’s complicated. All we know is Syd’s blood might be needed.” Dean glanced at Sydney, “hopefully a few spoonfuls will do it, or else I don’t know how your guy Sark planned to take it from you.” There was a world of fears behind his words, though Dean did his best to hide it.

“That’s unlikely. Let me see the manuscript, I will aid you in this.”

Castiel’s words gave Dean no comfort as he went to the back of the car to get his notes and the manuscript out.

Letting go of the spear so Dean could take it with him as he moved away, Sydney stood stock still, her smile vanished. The look he’d sent her when he’d talked about her blood -- he was worried. He was worried that this ritual would kill her. Despite knowing that couldn’t be true, Sark had told her as much, she was struck by the thought that it was in Dean’s mind. Would he trade her life for his brother’s? She swallowed hard. She couldn’t put him in that position. Not even hypothetically.

She joined him as he was fishing around in the trunk of his car. She touched his back. “Dean, it should only take a small amount. A couple vials. Sark told me...”

He didn’t say anything for a long moment, not until he found the book he’d put the manuscript page in. Then he closed the secret compartment in the trunk and turned to look at her. “I hope so. They lie. Demons, angels... Balthazar.” Hearing her draw in her breath, he realized he might be scaring her. And if she was, she had good cause. Her survival instincts must be screaming at her to run, and the fact that she wasn’t doing that, that maybe she trusted him that much, it humbled him.

“Syd,” he put his own hand on her back, then drew her close to him, resting his chin on her shoulder. “I won’t hurt you, or ask you for anything you don’t want to give. Not saying there wasn’t a time when I wouldn’t have done anything, anything to get him back.” In the weeks after he’d first lost Sam, there were times he’d been ready to visit a damned cross roads demon and start the cycle all over again. Then he’d numbed those thoughts out of himself with alcohol. “Not now. And never to you,” he said, pulling his head back so she could see his eyes.

Sydney’s heart swelled and emotion filled her eyes. She nodded wordlessly and pushed up on her toes to give him a meaningful kiss, her lips lingering against his even as she dropped back down. “I love you,” she told him, never more certain of anything in her life.

Sliding his hand up to the back of her neck, he caressed her jaw with his thumb. “Me too. I love you,” he answered simply, his voice low and a little rough edged. Lifetimes ago, he’d dreamed of finding someone he could share his life with, have a home and pets with, live a “normal” life with. But life had shown him over and over that there was no such option for a hunter. He’d given up on it, really. But now...

Leaning in, he kissed her again. Maybe there wouldn’t be a house, with a two car garage, a picket fence, and scheduled date nights. But maybe he didn’t want that anymore. He could be with Sydney, could love her and wouldn’t have to hide the fact for fear of bringing danger to her doorstep. This woman, she could deal with anything a hunter could, of that he was sure.

Just as he molded her body closer, he felt the book he was holding against her back get pulled out of his hand. Lifting his head, he found Castiel standing right behind her and staring down at the manuscript.

Rolling his eyes, he let out a hot breath and gave her a smile.
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