• Chapter Three: Family Comes First

    If you had asked Camelia Walker to describe the world in a single word, she would have chosen “godless”. It was this that she had drilled into Marley and Cameron day in and day out, a simple truth that dictated their lives until the day they were able to escape the Hell of their childhood. Whether in existence or not, the God that so many believed in and loved had done nothing for those children in that house. Evil occurred daily all around the world and that God didn’t seem to care, didn’t want to cure children of cancer, didn’t want to end the wars, and didn’t want to pull a young brother and a younger sister from the grasp of a nightmare that would scar them for the rest of their lives.
    It was in a situation like Marley’s current that solidified in her that this was, in fact, a godless world. No God that deserved praise by millions would let his or her children be at the mercy of a demon, one single demon. No God that deserved the unconditional love he or she received from people all around the globe would allow that one simple demon to inflict the suffering and pain that it had on so many. So maybe there really wasn’t a God, or maybe he was just on vacation, but all Marley Walker knew was that there was no use relying on the Supernatural. ‘Cause all it would ever do is bite you in the a**.
    “It’s you, isn’t it? We’ve been looking for you for a long time,” with a hint of arrogance, Sam announced this, earning a glance from Yellow-Eyes. It was a strange sensation, seeing in front of him his father, but knowing that this was an entirely different being. The features were there, the face, the body, even the smell, but with those swirling golden eyes came a malevolence unmatched by any creature the Winchesters had faced before.
    “Well, you found me,” Yellow-Eyes stated blatantly, almost dully, comfortable in his position of control. Possessed, John’s voice became lower and gruffer than anyone had experienced previously; it separated John from the demon within him and was a constant reminder to the three younger in the room that there was a job to do here. This demon had to die, had to finally pay for its crimes, but there was still an obstacle in the way of that task’s completion. Could the brothers muster the courage to kill their own father for revenge? Could Marley lose her brother and mentor in the same week? She now almost regretted looking too much into their current situation, seeing that John wasn’t John, pulling the Colt on him, almost. Now was not the time for reflection.
    “Why didn’t the holy water work?” Sam questioned, his anger beginning to boil in his blood, pure hatred for the creature possessing his father obvious in his stare.
    “I’m not your daily run-of-the-mill demon,” Yellow-Eyes smirked the reply.
    “I’m gonna kill you!”
    “Oh, that’d be a neat trick. In fact-“ the demon released his grip on the Colt and set it unnecessarily gingerly atop the comforter on the bed beside him. “Here. Make the gun float to you there, psychic boy.” Marley was confused for a moment, as she only knew Sam to have visions as a result of his mental abilities. However, as she delved momentarily through his memories, she realized that he’d once moved furniture inexplicably when he thought Dean was going to die. This breakthrough of ability was most likely the cause of that traumatic stress he’d undergone, but Marley was curious to see if Sam could utilize that power once again here. Wrinkling his nose from the effort, Sam concentrated on the Colt but it didn’t budge.
    “How about you, little Ms. Know-It-All? Or are you still a one-trick pony?” Yellow-Eyed nodded to Marley and held his hand out in a “here, take it” gesture toward the Colt, the only weapon that could kill him permanently. She ignored his offer, though, and only glowered hatefully at the demon before her, ignoring that he was wearing John’s face. All the possible contempt she could conjure was in her eyes then, emerald daggers pointed for the kill. “You know, Johnny… he’s in here with me, trapped inside his own meat suit. Says ‘hi’, by the way. He’s gonna tear you apart. He’s gonna taste the iron in his sons’ blood,” Yellow-Eyes threatened and tightly wrapped his fingers around the Colt again, then strolled to Dean who was pinned by the far window.
    “Let him go, or I swear to God-“Dean began.
    “What?” Yellow-Eyes interrupted. “What are you and God gonna do? You see, as far as I’m concerned, this is justice. You know that little exorcism of yours? That was my daughter.”
    “Who, Meg?”
    “The one in the alley? That was my boy. You understand.”
    “Then why not attack us in the alley? Why wait?” Marley interjected, hoping to take the attention off of Dean before he got himself hurt. The demon shook his head coldly and sighed.
    “I could’ve killed you a hundred times today, but this… this is worth the wait. You’re not the only ones allowed a family, you know. You destroyed my children. How’d you feel if I killed your family?” Yellow-Eyed paused, seeing the change in Marley’s expression, loathe sliding away temporarily to be replaced by grief. He half-frowned in a sort of mock sympathy. “Oh, that’s right. I forgot. I did. Still, two wrongs don’t make a right.”
    “You son of a b***h,” Dean spoke furiously.
    “I wanna know why,” Sam announced, voice booming and brimmed with abhorrence. “Why’d you do it?” John turned to his son, still manipulated by the thing he hated most in the world. Watching the conflict, Marley wished for it all to be over, despite the outcome. She wanted the torture to stop, the pain to end; she wanted her brother back. The reason he was gone, the only reason, was this demon in front of her possessing the person she knew best in the world, the person she’d hunted with, the closest person she’d had to family in a long time.
    “You mean why did I kill Mommy and pretty little Jess?” Yellow-Eyed answered Sam casually again, as if murder was just another wishy-washy subject, unimportant to the greater scheme of things.
    “And Cam!” Marley added, fire smoldering in her lime eyes, not letting her brother be just another obituary. She would have mentioned her father in the mix, as this demon had killed him, too, but he wasn’t the sore spot now. Marley, like Sam, needed to know what was so damn important that families needed to be strained, broken, and decimated.
    “Right, right, the beloved brother. You want to know why?” Yellow-Eyes backed toward Sam as he spoke. “Because they got in the way.”
    “In the way of what?” Sam’s curiosity partly muffled his anger.
    “My plans for you, Sammy, and Marley, here, and all the children like you,” the demon managed to answer the question without actually providing any new information. Dean feigned a yawn and brought the attention to himself, again.
    “Listen, you mind just getting this over with, huh? ‘Cause I really can’t stand the monologuing,” Dean quipped, lips pulling into his signature sarcastic smirk.
    “Funny,” Yellow-Eyes retorted quickly. “But that’s all part of your M.O., isn’t it? Masks all that nasty pain. Masks the truth.”
    “Oh yeah? What’s that?”
    “You know, you fight and you fight for this family, but the truth is they don’t need you. Not like you need them. Sam – he’s clearly John’s favorite. Even when you boys have been looking for Daddy this past year, he’s been hunting with Marley, ignoring your calls. Though, even when Dad and brother fight, it’s more concern than he’s ever shown you.”
    “And you’re real proud of your kids, too, I bet, huh? Oh wait, I forgot. I wasted ‘em,” Dean smiled at Yellow-Eyes, proud of his humor, but the victim of the joke showed no signs of comedy, or a tolerance thereof. Stepping back, the demon lowered his head, but not out of shame for the loss of his children, for when he raised it again, Dean yelped in pain, the veins on his neck bulging against the skin out of strain. Every nerve in his body felt aflame, every possible point, angle, and curve entirely engulfed in agony.
    A wound burst open just above Dean’s collarbone and blood began to pour from it, oozing quickly down his chest and soaking his shirt. The same crimson seeped from his lips, the flow only breaking temporarily when he closed his mouth to inhale through his nose, but then more screams wracked his frame.
    “Dean!” Sam yelled desperately for his brother and struggled against the force holding him to the wall to no avail. He yanked and twisted against it, trying to end the pain inflicted on his family. “No!” Dean’s screams stopped and he inhaled sharply in an effort to gain strength even through the immense pain, then settled his gaze on the vile soul wearing his father’s face.
    “Dad! Dad, don’t you let it kill me!” He gasped between breaths but John just smiled and Dean’s body tensed again, shaking only from the cries escaping his lips.
    “Dean, no!” Sam bellowed once more and the blood streamed down Dean’s chin. Marley could only watch in horror, eyes flicking between Sam, Yellow Eyes, and Dean, trying to figure a plan in her head, but nothing could come to mind. Her thoughts jumbled, slid atop one another, ungraspable and incoherent. A way to distract the demon, maybe, anything for John’s sons, but nothing seemed good enough.
    “Dad, please,” Dean choked out, eyes becoming heavy.
    “John Winchester, I know you’re in there! Your son is going to die right now if you don’t fight that thing out of you, you hear me?” Marley shrieked through Dean’s cries as best as she could, attempting with all her ability to reach John and stop him from killing one of his sons. Dean’s head rolled forward then, and his eyes closed.
    “Dean!” came again from Sam and the room went silent. Marley’s heart thumped loudly in her ears, the silence seeming illusory for so abruptly following the excess of noise. Waiting for resolution, the very fibers of her being were wrung tight. Silence was only broken by the occasional drip of blood rolling from Dean’s chin to the carpet beneath. The air hung still and stagnant.
    Drip… Drip… Drip…
    “Stop,” John’s voice, his own voice. The force holding Sam and Marley to their respective walls disappeared and they were free, feet hitting the floor simultaneously. “Stop it.” Sam lunged for the Colt in his father’s hand and wrenched it easily away. Just as Sam had the weapon aimed at John and was a safe distance away, John turned around, eyes tainted with swirling gold.
    “You kill me, you kill Daddy,” Yellow Eyes stated with a knowing grin, the leverage he had making the odds ever in his favor, even without the Colt.
    “I know,” spat Sam, tightening his fingers around the weapon. He slid his index finger over the trigger. Without hesitation, he squeezed it, but in an instant had the barrel pointed at John’s leg, and that’s where the bullet hit, sending a wave of blue light through John’s body. John fell to the floor, as did Dean, and Sam ran to his brother, followed by Marley, both still somewhat in shock. The scene was calmer now, but anxiety thickened the atmosphere like black oil, staining any potential relief.
    Sam knelt beside his brother, holding his shoulder, and looked him over worriedly. Unconscious still behind them was John, and Marley glanced back toward him. With the demon still within him, she couldn’t discern his condition, so she focused back on the Winchesters in front of her. She felt considerable concern for Dean and yearned to reach out and help him but she kept her distance, knowing that the brothers weren’t as familiar with her as she was with them, which would make things a bit strange in the times to come, she thought.
    “Dean? Dean, hey. Oh, you’ve lost a lot of blood,” Sam’s voice became soft and full of distress for his sibling’s wellbeing.
    “Where’s Dad?” Dean, much to his character, seemed to be more concerned about his family than himself, and his thoughts were racing with apprehension.
    “He’s right here, Dean. He’s right here.”
    “Go check on him.”
    “It’s okay, Sam, I’ll be here with Dean. Be careful,” Marley interrupted and nodded to Sam, offering a sympathetic, almost sheepish, smile. The younger Winchester returned the gesture and stood to tend to their father.
    “Dad?” John was still lying motionless on the floor, chest rising and falling but no sign of consciousness. “Dad?” His father shot up in a half sit up, eyes bulging and muscles tensed, but it wasn’t the position that was straining him.
    “It’s still alive! It’s inside me, I can feel it,” John shouted through clenched teeth, pleading to his son. “You shoot me. You shoot me!” Sam kept the Colt aimed steadily toward his father, grip tight but his will slowly faltering. “You shoot me in the heart, son!”
    “Sam, what are you doing?” Marley yelled while pulling Dean’s head into her lap. Her eye began to throb again from the adrenaline slipping away, a feeling that didn’t match the circumstances at hand.
    “Do it now!” The eldest Winchester shouted upwards, literally begging for the end of his life. Sam could do it, John thought, he was the strong one. They were on the same page; they would sacrifice anything to permanently defeat this demon.
    “Sam, don’t you do it. Don’t you do it,” Dean spoke firmly, voice becoming weaker as he lost more blood. The crimson was oozing into and between Marley’s fingers now as she held his head, so she pressed her index and middle finger against the wound on Dean’s neck, applying moderate pressure to hinder the outward flow of blood. He winced at her touch but settled into it unconsciously.
    “You’ve gotta hurry! I can’t hold onto it much longer! You shoot me, son! Shoot me! Son, I’m begging you! We can end this here and now! Sammy!” Sam was conflicted between his brother’s and John’s orders. His eyes wetted, threatening tears of frustration to spill.
    “Sam, no,” sputtered Dean weakly, his eyes fluttered a bit.
    “You do this! Sammy! Sam-“ John attempted to continue his plea but was cut off by the sudden expulsion of a thick black cloud from his mouth. Swirling, violent, so dark, was Yellow Eyes in his true form, throwing himself from John’s body and dissipating into thin air at the ceiling. And like that, it was gone. Again.
    They had been so close to ending their suffering and killing the vilest creature they’d known that had terrorized them for so long, but the opportunity slipped through their fingers like air. Accusing eyes from John to Sam, a wordless expression of his disappointment, but Sam had done the right thing. If they were going to really destroy this demon, they’d do it on their own terms.

    ~*~ ~*~

    An encounter entirely too close for comfort was the only way Marley could begin to describe the events which had transpired only moments ago. She sat in the back seat of Dean’s 1967 Chevy Impala, the man himself unconscious and slumped against the window in the seat beside her. Sam was driving, eyes pointed ahead and fiery as he sped the muscle car to speeds it shouldn’t normally reach. From the passenger seat, John grunted in pain, sitting up straight to avoid falling asleep.
    “Look, just hold on, alright? The hospital’s only ten minutes away,” Sam pronounced hurriedly, focused on getting his three passengers to said hospital in one piece.
    “I’m surprised at you, Sammy,” John finally spoke after the silence that had held their company thus far. “Why didn’t you kill it? I thought we saw eye-to-eye on this. Killing this demon comes first. Before me – before everything.” The arguing woke Dean, and he gazed at his brother through the rear view mirror, and Sam met his look.
    “No, sir,” he disagreed. “Not before everything.” His eyes became trained on the road again. “Look, we’ve still got the Colt. We still have the one bullet left. We just have to start over, alright? I mean, we already found the demon-“
    Glass shattering, metal crunching and folding in on itself, frame breaking and rubber screeching. Burning asphalt, then darkness. The scent of cut grass. A cool breeze slithered over Marley’s skin, painfully raising goose bumps through the lacerations on her arms. For only a moment she saw the three men in the car, all with fresh wounds and now all with their eyes closed and their heads hanging. The idea of their deaths didn’t so much as cross her mind, but her own became an inkling as she creaked her neck to the right, seeing the grill of an eighteen-wheeler snugly fit against the passenger side of the Impala. Her eyes traced down the contours of the door beside her, and her right arm, quickly becoming covered in blood. She couldn’t feel it, couldn’t waggle her fingers.
    The headlights began to dim, or was it her eyes closing? Marley couldn’t decipher which, but quickly she fell unconscious, and all she knew was darkness.