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Chapter Six


It took less than an hour to fly from Nebraska to South Dakota. It took considerably longer to rent more SUVs and to drive to Cold Oak. And it looked like it was going to take even longer to get to the actual town, the way blocked by heavy woods.

“Looks like the rest of the way’s on foot.” Bobby got out. Dean followed him.

“I’m so glad I’m dressed for this,” JJ murmured, surveying the rough terrain. “Otherwise, I would have just slowed everyone down.”

Dean grinned at her. “A woman after my own heart.”

JJ winked at him, Emily smirked.

“Dean!”

“Yes, sir?” Dean presented himself to Bobby, smiling sheepishly at Bobby’s chastising glare. He bobbed his head in apology and set himself to loading himself with weaponry. It had been a bitch transferring everything they thought they were going to need from the Impala and Bobby’s car to the toy they had the nerve to call an airplane, then from the airplane to the SUVs. But it was worth it if anything they’d brought was going to help them get Sam back.

“You got enough in there for me?”

Dean smirked at Morgan. “You think you can handle it?”

“I can handle anything you can handle, Winchester. And then some.”

“We’ll see.” Dean handed him a sawed off shotgun and a machete. One by one, the other FBI agents came forward to gear up. Even the old professor type guy. He watched them all check their equipment. Once he was satisfied they could handle their gear, he nodded to himself. “Let’s go.”

~*~*~*~*~*~

“I think we can make it out of here now.”

Reid jerked around, away from Ava’s body, away from Jake, to stare at Sam. “We can?”

“But the Acheri demons…” Jake argued, waving towards the window.

“No, no, no. Ava was summoning then, controlling them. They shouldn’t come back now that she’s dead.” Sam grabbed both him and Andy, pulling them both downstairs and out of the house.

Reid gently shook off Sam’s hand, more than willing to believe the other man. He easily kept up with Sam’s long strides; Andy was jogging but didn’t seem to mind being herded out of this forsaken place.

“Hurry,” Sam urged. “We’ve gotta go.”

“Not ‘we,’ Sam.”

Reid froze, quickly turning so that Jake wasn’t at his back anymore. He also kept his hands at his sides, ready just in case. He desperately hoped that Jake hadn’t seen what he could do, having arrived after Sam made him pull down the firewall around Ava. Out of the corner of his eyes, Reid saw the surprise in Andy’s face. Sadly, he wasn’t surprised at all at the soldier’s action.

Neither was Sam. He seemed resigned, his shoulders dropping. “Jake?”

“Only one of us is getting out of here. I’m sorry.” Jake was shaking his head and even looked appropriately apologetic.

Reid was sure it was all an act. “Don’t believe him, Sam,” he whispered.

Sam shot him a pleading look, turning it on Jake as well. “Jake, what’s going on?”

“I had a vision. That Yellow-Eyed Demon or whatever it was, he talked to me. He told me how it was.”

“No, Jake, listen. You can’t listen to him.”

Reid watched as Sam tried to talk some sense into Jake but he knew it wasn’t going to work. Jake didn’t have the same look as Ava, power hungry traitor. Instead, he had the look of a survivor, doing whatever he had to do to get be the last one standing. But he had to admire Sam’s tenacity in believing in his fellow man. Reid, as innocent and naïve as his friends thought of him, knew better. Demons were created evil. Man chose it.

“Sam, he’s not letting us go. Only one. Now, if we don’t play along, he’ll kill us both. Now, I like you, man. All of you.” Jake looked at each of them, but not in the eyes. A sure sign of duplicity in Reid’s experience. “I do. But do the math here. What good’s it do for all of us to die? Now, I can get out of here. I get close to the demon, I can kill the bastard.”

Sam was shaking his head. “You come with me, we can kill him together.”

“How do I know you won’t turn on me?”

Reid nearly laughed. Not only because Sam was the least likely at this moment to turn on them, but Jake had just killed a woman with his bare hands. He was the biggest threat, no matter what. Andy seemed to realize it too, as he was inching away from Jake, closer to Sam and Reid. He was spearing anxious looks at both of them. Reid stepped forward, between Andy and Jake. He wasn’t heroic, far from it, but the instincts that drove him to join the FBI, drove him to protect the most vulnerable of them.

“I won’t,” Sam promised.

Jake looked doubtful. “I don’t know that.”

“Okay, look.” Sam pulled out the knife he had kept with him all this time. He showed it to Jake, holding it by the tip of the blade with only two fingertips. He slowly knelt.

“No, Sam.”

“It’s okay, Spencer.” Sam gave him a reassuring look even as he dropped the knife.

Reid really wished he hadn’t done that. Now, not only did Jake have superhuman strength, he had the only weapon, an iron wheel spoke.

“Just come with me, Jake. Don’t do this. Don’t play into what it wants.”

To Reid’s shock, Jake gave into Sam’s coaxing, placing the flat blade on the ground as well. Sam was relieved, shooting Reid a triumphant glance. Reid steadily returned his look but his eyes were filled with warning still.

Andy’s eyes were bouncing between all three of them. “Sam, are you sure, man?”

“Yeah,” Sam whispered to Andy but never took his eyes off of Jake. It gave Reid hope. Sam smiled at Jake. “Okay.”

“Yeah,” Jake murmured. “Okay.”

Reid watched his body language. “Sam--”

Jake punched Sam.

Reid watched in absolute horror as Sam flew across a field, crashing into the ground with a bone jarring thud. Jake rushed after him, intent on finishing him off. “Sam!” Reid screamed. “Look out!”

Jake kicked the fence down, barely stopping.

“C’mon, c’mon!”

Reid spun at Andy’s harshly whispered demands. Andy was scrambling for the iron blade. Reid instantly knew what he was trying to do, trying to control Jake’s mind with his own. If it worked, he could help Sam. Sam, who was valiantly fighting Jake off. Punches were traded, kicks thrown and absorbed. Even with Jake’s power, Sam was more than holding his own. It was obvious who was the better fighter. “Andy?”

“It’s not working, damn it!” Andy growled, throwing the blade down.

Sam rolled straight for it. He popped back onto his feet, spun, using the flat blade to knock Jake out. Reid could read it in his body, in his eyes, Sam wanted to kill Jake for his treachery. His breath heaved in, out, for a single inhalation and his decision was made. Sam walked away from Jake and towards them.

“Dude! Sam!” Andy was victory dancing and cheering. “You totally kicked his ass!”

Sam huffed a tired laughed. “Let’s get out of here.”

Andy nodded enthusiastically, nearly skipping away as Sam followed him. Reid didn’t hide his smile but cautiously looked over his shoulder. Jake was still down. Reid watched him for a long moment.

“Spence! Dude! The train’s leavin’!”

Reid smiled at Andy’s enthusiastic shout. Up ahead, he and Sam stood waiting. He jogged to catch up.

Jake surged past him.

“NO! SAM, LOOK OUT!” Reid’s horror threatened to choke him as Jake ran full tilt at Sam, going at him from an angle, rusty knife in hand. He let loose with a fireball, aiming, hitting Jake in the side.

Andy’s scream said it was too late. He was struggling under Sam’s weight. Jake was getting back up on his feet. Reid ran to his friends just as Jake loomed over them. He threw another fireball; Jake flew backwards, slamming into building. It didn’t stop him; he stood, simply shaking off the dust.

“Spence, man, Sam’s in a bad way.”

“Keep pressure on the wound.” Reid did the only thing he could think of: he closed his eyes, held out his hands, and asked the fire to grow. Flames ringed the three of them, growing higher and higher. Soaring well above even Sam’s head had he been standing. Reid turned to Sam; Andy’s scared eyes watching him as he carefully looked at Sam’s wound. It was a long, ugly gash across the low of his back and deep, very deep. He was also unconscious. Sam had to have suffered a concussion from being hit in the head repeatedly by Jake.

“What do we do?” Andy asked, hands wringing and fluttering in anxiety.

Reid wished he had the luxury of giving into his anxiety as well. “We need to put pressure on his wound.”

“Do we need to, like, cauterize the wound or something?” Andy moved as Reid directed, helping him get Sam’s outer shirt off and using it as a bandage.

“Not unless we can’t stop his bleeding.”

Jake roared from the other side of the inferno, clearly pissed off.

Andy jerked, looking up. “Dude, I’m so damn glad you’re a pyro, Spencer.”

“You want to leave? Leave!” Reid yelled through the wall of fire. “You don’t have to hurt us! It said only one of us gets to leave. You can leave. We’ll stay here!” He had no idea if Jake was listening or not. He had no idea how long he could keep up the protective wall of fire surrounding them. He had no idea if Sam’s message to Dean made it through whatever barrier the demon had erected around the town. He had no idea if help was coming.

Reid only knew that he had to protect the injured his friends and himself long enough for their loved ones to come get them.

~*~*~*~*~*~

A cyclone of fire greeted them in Cold Oak.

“What the hell?” Dean stared at the column of flames.

Hotchner and the fibbies rushed ahead.

Dean jumped forward, him and Bobby following in their wake. “Hey! What’re you?”

“It’s Reid!” floated back over the still wind.

“Spencer!”
“Reid!”
“Reid!”

“Spencer, it’s Aaron.” Hotchner was the closest to the fire, standing on his toes as if he could see over or past the conflagration. He almost tipped over into the fire, would have if Morgan hadn’t grabbed him. “Spencer!”

“Aaron?”

“I’m here. We’re all here,” Hotchner assured him.

“Is it really you?” The question was plaintive, afraid.

“Hey, kid, it’s a little early for bonfires,” Morgan teased. “Why don’t you douse it?”

“Spencer,” Gideon added his own pleas. “Spencer, lower the flames, son.”

Dean got impatient. “Hey, kid, where’s my brother?”

“Dean?” That wasn’t Reid. It wasn’t even Sam.

It sounded suspiciously like, “Andy?”

“Dean, oh my God! Dean, Sam’s hurt! That rat bastard Jake shanked him in the back!”

That did it for Dean. “Reid! Lower these goddamn flames! Now!”

It seemed to work, the fire shrinking, but it took agonizing seconds for Dean to see past it. Sam was on his stomach, lying too damn still. “Sam!”

Dean jumped over the lessening ring of fire, feeling the heat but not caring. Andy scrambled back; Reid was still concentrating on extinguishing the blaze. Dean didn’t really care about them. He gently turned his brother, mindful of the wound Andy was still pressing on. “Sam! Hey! Come here. Let me look at you. Sam!”

His brother’s eyes barely opened. “Dean?” His head lolled dangerously.

Dean caught him, cradling his head in a palm. He slid in closer, supporting Sam’s wobbling body with his own, laying his shaggy head on his shoulder. He held his baby brother, unconsciously rocking him like when he was a kid. “Sammy? Sam! Hey, listen to me. We’re gonna patch you up, okay? You’re gonna be good as new. I’m gonna take care of you. I’m gonna take you care of you. I’ve got you. That’s my job, right? Watch out for my pain-in-the-ass little brother? Sam? Sam! Sammy!”

“S-stop callin’ me Sam-my.”

Dean’s laugh was watery but real.


~*~*~*~*~*~
~*~*~*~*~*~


Chapter Seven


Reid stared in utter fascination at the bookcases and stacks of books littering Bobby Singer’s home. They had come here after leaving Cold Oak, with only a side trip to a hospital for Sam’s wound. Bobby had indifferently offered them a place to stay, saying that he had plenty of room, but Reid and his friends had unanimously come to the silent agreement that it was his way of thanking them for helping Sam. It was so late, they agreed, especially since there still seemed to be unanswered questions. What happened to Jake? What happened now? Would there be repercussions for leaving Cold Oak? Their exodus from that hellhole had been ridiculously easily: they walked out without a demon in sight.

Hiking from the ghost town to the SUVs, Hotchner, Morgan, Bobby and Dean had carried Sam as to not further aggravate his knife wound. They’d made it to the hospital in record time, thanks to Morgan’s driving. Once at the hospital, Dean had refused to let his brother go anywhere without him. Security had almost thrown him out until Gideon had explained that the Winchesters had lost their father at nearly the same time last year. The sympathetic nurses and doctors of the small town hospital had reluctantly let Dean stay with his brother. They had even let Hotchner stay with Reid when he had been check out. Reid remained safely ensconced in his lover’s arms since practically the second he lowered the fire enough to see Hotchner. As for Andy? He had to be in heaven: both JJ and Prentiss had stayed with him. Sure, they were pumping him for information about what had happened, but he didn’t mind at all, not if the thumbs up he was shooting Reid was any indication.

Once the doctors had patched Sam up, he and Dean both demanded the DAMA forms and they all headed out to Bobby’s place. It didn’t take very long to get from the hospital to the junkyard-surrounded home. Once there, the cantankerous old hunter showed the BAU his three extra rooms, Andy he put on the couch, and had Dean and Sam bunked in his own bedroom. When asked where he was going to sleep, Bobby had smirked.

Dean said, “Don’t ask.”

Wisely, none of them chose to. The BAU quickly paired off, picked rooms, and went to bed. Reid, unsurprisingly, found himself sharing a room with Hotchner. He was relieved more than he could say. After having such a wonderful experience with Hotchner then waking to a demonic attack had been more than little stressful. Reid hoped that when he woke tomorrow, he would still be in Hotchner’s arms, safe and sound.

“I brought your go bag.”

Reid smiled at the black bag Hotchner held out to him. He took the bag and his courage in his hands. He leaned forward, kissing Hotchner in thanks. Hotchner smiled against his lips, as if happy with Reid’s boldness. The smile bolstered Reid even further. He dropped the bag, sliding his hands up Hotchner’s strong arms, up his shoulders and into his dark, thick hair. He pressed several chaste, soft kisses against Hotchner’s lips, cheeks, chin. Sighed against lips slightly fuller than his own when big hands smoothed up his back. “Need you.”

Hotchner reacted to his whisper by grabbing his ass, hoisting Reid up his body. Reid instinctively wrapped his legs around slim hips, grinding his erection against Hotchner’s hard stomach. Breath was knocked form his body as they fell onto the bed, clothing rendered from each other’s bodies with little care. Reid closed his eyes, all the better to feel the exquisite drag of skin on skin. He couldn’t breathe; each pant of air was a delicious pain, emphasizing the drag of his lover’s fingers against his skin. Hotchner’s gun-callused hands were perfectly rough, infinitely gentle, mind-numbingly arousing. They roved, caressed, stimulated the nerve endings in his skin. They made breathing so very difficult. He didn’t care if he never breathed correctly ever again. “Aaron.”

“Love the way you shiver whenever I touch you.”

Even his voice, drenched in sultry tones, made breathing hard. Reid didn’t just shiver; he shook from the intensity of pleasure. His mind couldn’t comprehend anything beyond Hotchner, his body, his hands, his mouth. The kisses that stole his air and feed him desire. He clutched Hotchner’s strong shoulders, needing the anchor of his body in a maelstrom of hunger, lust, and adrenaline. He dimly heard sounds echoing in the night but couldn’t think enough to identify who or where they came from but they were sultry, overwhelmed, incoherent. Dear God in Heaven, he needed to come. “Please, Aaron. I need--”

“Not yet,” Hotchner rumbled into his ear, nipping it with sharp teeth, soothing it with a wet tongue.

Whined high and long in displeasure when his lover pulled away, stopping only when he saw the lubricant in Hotchner’s hand. Reid grabbed him as soon as he was arms’ reach but Hotchner held himself away. “Aaron!”

Dark laughter answered him. “On your knees, Spencer.”

He swallowed, biting his lower lip. It made Hotchner groan and steal a kiss. Reid moved at his nudge onto all fours.

“So pretty,” Hotchner murmured, running a slow, heavy hand up his spine.

“Aaron.” It was the only word he could think to say. It imbued every want, every desire, every silent demand. It worked. At first. Big blunt fingers slipped in one by one, ratcheting his desire higher and higher, spreading him wide, touching him deep inside, sending sparks of pleasure with every touch. He breathed his lover’s name once more, demanding to be taken.

The evil bastard denied him. “I want to watch you ride my fingers.”

Reid nearly growled but did it, desperate for the climax. The bed squeaked and squealed with his every movement, as if protesting his wicked lover’s demand, too. The headboard thumped against the wall in an unmistakable rhythm. He was so close. So very close. Growled his lover’s name, low and angry, when Hotchner pulled his fingers out but gasped when Hotchner pulled him back on his knees. Reid could feel Hotchner’s hard cock pressing against his back, sliding against the sweat slickness, large thighs supporting his shifting, hungry body. Devilish hands urged him to lean back against a solid chest. Reid turned his head, lifting his lips. Hotchner gave him the kiss, licking into his mouth, but took away his hands, not letting him touch the powerful body surrounding him.

He whined his discontent into his lover’s mouth; Hotchner chuckled, low and selfish, into his. Reid writhed on Hotchner’ lap, spreading his knees, pushing up, thrusting back, anything to get that hard cock inside his desperate body. “Please, please, Aaron.”

“Soon,” he promised, kissing deeper, hands sweeping all over Reid’s sweat slick body. His touch was too heavy to be flirting, too light to be enough, causing perfect insanity. Finally, finally, Hotchner lifted him, positioned him, impaled him. Reid’s mouth dropped opened, his hands clenched in his own hair, his eyes stared unseeing as the agonizing bliss of Hotchner’s cock slowly slid inside. Couldn’t talk, couldn’t think, he could only wail his pleasure.

“Fuck, the sounds you make . . .”

Reid panted, harsh and low. “Now.”

Cruel, sensual laughter answered him. “No.” Hotchner licked his exposed neck, hand carding into his hair to pull his head back. Reid whimpered into the hungry kiss. “All night, Spencer. I’m going to fuck you all night.”

He kept his promise. Hotchner took him; long, slow thrusts that made Reid shudder, short, jabbing thrusts that made him clutch and moan. Hands that worked in concert with cock, stroking him, pinching his nipples, rolling and tugging at his balls, pressing against the outside of his prostate gland, making him scream. Kiss after kiss, on his mouth, on his neck, biting his shoulder, licking his skin. His cock was ignored; his hands thwarted when he tried to reach for it. Reid could do nothing more than clutch at Hotchner’s wrists and thighs, riding the cock that fucked him.

Time and time again, Hotchner made him climb to the pinnacle but never would he let him fall. Reid was so desperate to come, he begged, pleaded, threatened, sobbed for it. But Hotchner denied it all, asking for just a little more, coaxing just a little more pleasure, outright demanding more. Reid was helpless to deny him, the feel of Hotchner inside of him, surrounding him, was incredible. Damn Hotchner and his iron strong control.

It almost became too much.

Reid’s mind didn’t just shut down, it floated away. Facts and statistics crowding through, his mind trying to save itself from such overwhelming pleasure.

Hotchner sensed it almost immediately. “Spencer.”

“A-aaron?” He cried out at the first touch of Hotchner’s hand on his cock. The angle of the thrusts changed, hitting his gland straight on. He exploded, riding the sexual, endorphin high, slumping back into Hotchner’s arms, boneless, pliant, a willing vessel for his lover’s enjoyment. He heard Hotchner rumbled a low groan in his ear, felt his arms clutch him harder, felt one last thrust and then his climax deep inside. Reid sighed, smiling as he used the last of his strength to tug Hotchner down for one final messy kiss.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Morgan didn’t know how the hell Gideon could sleep with all that . . . that . . . Morgan refused to even think about or name what was happening in the next room. He dumped the bedding on the floor in his haste to get the hell out of the room. Gideon slept through it all without moving. He didn’t bother muffling his knock, nothing could compare with that . . . that . . . racket.

“Morgan.” Prentiss was not happy. “What’re you--”

“I will pay you to switch rooms with me.” Desperate was the bare minimum you could use to describe him.

“What?” JJ was wrapped in her blanket behind Prentiss, sleepy and mussed. Obviously they couldn’t hear that . . . that . . . ruckus because they had both been asleep.

“I will pay you, I will do your paperwork, whatever. Just let me stay in here.” He was this close to dropping down to his knees and begging.

“Why?”

Morgan grabbed both of them, ushering them into his room, just in time to hear a keening wail right through the damn wall.

JJ immediately clamped her hands over her mouth. Her eyes were huge and glistening with laughter above them.

Prentiss was staring at the wall, mouth open, finger pointing, eyes wide. “Is that?”

A loud moan interrupted her.

Morgan plastered his hands to his ears. He couldn’t hear that . . . that . . . noise for another second. Not if he ever wanted to look Hotchner or Reid in the eyes ever again. “Please, please, please let me stay with you.”

JJ, bless her soul, nodded. Her hands were still clamped over her mouth. He idly wondered how she could breathe. Prentiss was still staring at the wall, having hadn’t moved a single inch. Her expression was more than shocked. It was shocked stupid. As if comprehension of what was going on next door completely stopped all mental processes in her brain. JJ had to tug her away from the wall and out of the hallway but she only used one hand. The other hand was still firmly pressed over her mouth. Morgan followed them before they could change their minds about sharing.

Bobby passed them in the hallway, then banged on the door. “Keep it down in there! People are tryin’ to sleep!” He walked away muttering, “Goddamn horny bastards. No consideration . . .”

JJ started hyperventilating.

Prentiss blinked.

Morgan would have groaned or laughed but he was too busy muffling that . . . that . . . that . . . that.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Dean chuckled softly at Bobby’s shout. He didn’t get the guy on guy thing but more power to them for getting some. He almost started compiling a list of jokes but reminded himself that the younger man had saved his brother’s life. Besides, Dean figured, Reid’s friends would do plenty of teasing for him. He never thought he’d be grateful to the FBI for anything, let alone his brother’s life. But there you go, hell could freeze over.

“De’n?”

“Right here, Sammy.” Dean sat down on the bed, carding his fingers through his brother’s hair. The doctor had forcefully reminded them that Sam was not to put any pressure on his back, whatsoever. No sitting back, no lying on his back, no carrying anything heavier than a paperclip. At least not for a few days. Sam had been damn lucky, an inch deeper and he would have been dead or paralyzed.

“Everybody ‘k?” The kid was slurring, still under the influence of the painkillers the doctors had loaded him up with.

“Yeah, everyone’s good.”

“Gotta stop ‘im.”

“Stop who, Sammy?”

“‘ake.”

“Jake?” That was the name of the guy who had stabbed Sam in the back. The name of a dead man walking.

“Yeah.”

“Why do we need to stop him?”

“W’rks fer d’mon.”

Dean nodded even though Sam probably couldn’t see him. “We’ll find him. But you need to get your rest. We got time.”

“Noo.”

“Sam, oceans aren't boiling, okay? Frogs aren't raining from the sky. Let's get you your strength back first.”

“Call t’oadhous?”

“Yeah.”

Sam must have heard something in his voice because he lifted his head, hand tugging on Dean’s jeans. “De’n . . . what’s’t?”

“The roadhouse burned to the ground. Ash is dead. Probably Ellen -- a lot of other hunters, too.” He didn’t soften the news. There really wasn’t any way to soften shit like that.

“‘emons?” Sam asked softly, eyes closing against the news.

“Yeah, we think so. We think because Ash found something.”

Sam dropped his head back on the pillow. “W’at?”

“Bobby's working on that right now. Go to sleep, Sammy. We’ll work on it in the morning.” Dean soothed him, kept his voice low and quite, kept up the smoothing of his fingers through Sam’s hair. Sure enough, Sam relaxed back into sleep. He propped a pillow behind his back, letting his eyes close but dozing only lightly. He also made sure his fingers stayed in Sam’s hair. That bastard wasn’t taking his brother again.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Hotchner noticed he was one of the last people down for breakfast. Reid would be the very last. He had made sure of that, wanting a chance to smooth the way for his lover. He knew that after last night, they would be in for a world of ribbing. Hotchner hoped that by coming downstairs first, he would bear the brunt of it of it. He just hoped it wouldn’t be that bad. “Good morning.”

“I hate you.”

Hotchner laughed at Morgan’s opening salvo as he poured himself coffee. “I hate you, too.”

“I can’t respect you anymore.”

“That’s okay, Reid still does.”

“Oh Jesus God, don’t remind me.”

Snickers, they were all snickering into their food, trying to hide their laughter. Hell, Hotchner was trying not to laugh too hard, too. He looked up just in time to see his lover sliding into the room. Reid smiled, eyes sparkling, skin glowing. Hotchner felt like he was quoting from a romance novel, but he couldn’t help it. Life was amazingly good. His friends were laughing, safe and sound here in a hunter’s home. His lover was bright and joyous and smiling at Hotchner like he was the center of his world. Hotchner couldn’t resist reeling Reid in by the waist and giving him another kiss. “Morning.”

“Morning.” Reid immediately blushed as the Winchesters whistled and catcalled them. Andy was giving him the thumbs up and a wide smile.

Morgan was smirking. “Hey, Reid--”

Oh, it was definitely time to nip this in the bud. “Morgan, do you really want to piss off the guy who can make you the first example of spontaneous human combustion?” Hotchner raised an eyebrow at him.

Morgan’s mouth opened and closed, glaring at Reid’s smile, somehow smug and shy all at once.

The Winchesters and Bobby snickered. Prentiss, JJ, and Gideon tried to be nice by hiding their wide smiles. Andy obviously wanted to laugh but was scooting away from Morgan before he let it out. As for Hotchner, he smirked at his friend, smirk growing into grin when Reid propped his chin on his shoulder and whispered, “Thanks.”

Hotchner turned his head and pecked Reid on the lips. “You’re welcome.”

“Oh Jesus God, my eyes!” Morgan howled.

Hotchner laughed, along with everyone else. More laughter filled the kitchen as he and Reid served themselves breakfast, joining everyone at Bobby’s table. From the marks on it, Hotchner could tell the man used this table more as a weapons cleaning platform and book storage than as an eating surface. Looking around the house, he also knew this place hadn’t seen so many laughing people in a long, long time. Hotchner absently wondered what had happened to Bobby to make him this way because the house also bore the marks of a once happy home.

“When’s your flight home?” Sam asked them in general.

Hotchner was pulled out of his musings by Sam’s question. “Whenever we’re ready.”

“We can’t leave,” Reid countered him, turning to more fully face him. “We have to stay and help Sam.”

“No, Spencer, you don’t have to--”

“It’s big, right?” Reid interrupted Sam, turning to him now. “Whatever Yellow Eyes wanted us for, it was something big, right?”

Sam reluctantly nodded.

“Wait, what’s going on?” Prentiss asked, leaning forward, food forgotten. Everyone else was similarly affected.

“The demon that kidnapped us,” Sam explained. “Yellow Eyes, he said Cold Oak was a test. He wanted us to fight each other. The winner would lead his demonic army.”

“Jake’s out there, alone,” Reid pointed out. “He’s the one the demon would most likely approach for whatever he had planned.”

“We’re looking into it,” Sam reassured Reid. “You guys don’t have to worry, we’ll stop him.”

“But can you stop him alone?” Reid projected that intensity of his, when he felt the most passionate about the subject. “Jake has superhuman strength, he’s demon blessed. He nearly killed you. You’ll need help. And all the hunters in the area were at the Roadhouse.”

The three hunters looked at each other, clearly debating the use of the FBI to their mission.

Reid wasn’t satisfied with pushing his case with just them because he then turned back to Hotchner and Gideon, knowing that they would be the ones he would have to convince.

Hotchner held up his hand for forestall his lover, raking his eyes over his team. He saw what he knew he would see. “We’ll stay, if they need us.”

“We could use the help,” Bobby announced. And that was that.

After breakfast, JJ packed up to take Andy to the airport. She was going to see to it that he made it back to his van/home before flying back to DC herself. When the FBI had agreed to stay and help the hunters, Andy had announced that he would be more of a hindrance than a help in whatever was going to happen. Sam and Reid had been sad to see him go, but both were realistic enough to know that Andy was right. So, Andy shook hands with everyone but grabbed Reid in an enthusiastic hug and Sam in a careful one.

“Dudes! If you’re ever in Guthrie, Oklahoma, you come see me, okay? We’ll bong a load together!”

“Andy,” Reid gently reminded him. “FBI.”

Andy blinked, then waved his hand at them in a move reminiscent of a Jedi mind trick, grinning mischievously. “Forget I said that, you will.”

Dean snorted so hard his coffee splattered his hand. Sam and Reid grinned so hard it had to hurt. Morgan and JJ rolled their eyes but were smiling. Prentiss couldn’t help her geeky self and played along. Neither Gideon nor Bobby had any idea what they were laughing about, muttering at the younglings’ foolishness. Hotchner rolled his eyes at the old codgers. Andy stuck his head out of the rental’s window to wave goodbye. Once he was out of sight, they all trooped back into the house.

“What now?” Prentiss asked the room at large.

“We look for demonic omens.” Bobby pulled out his computer and starting typing.

Hotchner looked over his shoulder. The man was pulling up one search window at a time. It looked like a time consuming process, especially with the slow internet connection Bobby was working with. “Bobby, could you give me a list of what you’re looking for?”

“Yeah, why?” Bobby peered at him.

Hotchner grinned and pulled out his phone, putting it on speed dial.

“The office of supreme wonderfulness, how can I help you be wonderful today?”

“Garcia.” Hotchner couldn’t help the little spike of satisfaction when Garcia meeped a little at his voice.

“Yes, sir?”

“Mr. Bobby Singer is going to give you a list of occurrences, search for them all and give us a call back.”

“Yes, sir.”

He handed the phone to Bobby, who was still peering at him. Hotchner grinned. “Garcia’s plugged into every database on the planet. She can search for whatever you’re looking for much faster.”

Bobby grudgingly took the phone.

Less than fifteen minutes later, Morgan answered his ringing phone, turning on the speaker phone after looking at the caller ID. “Hey, Mama.”

“Hey, sugar. Everyone make it through the night okay?”

Morgan glared at Hotchner and Reid. “Yeah, some better than others.”

Everyone snickered, Reid blushed again, holding out his hands in a threatening manner. Morgan rolled his eyes at him. “What’cha got for us?”

“Well, I looked for all those demonic omens Mr. Singer asked for.”

“Find anything?” Bobby asked, sipping his coffee, but looking interested.

“Oh yeah. I have no idea what it means, but I did find something.” They could hear clicking through the phone line.

“What is it?” Sam asked, leaning closer to Morgan’s phone.

“The number of cattle deaths and lightening storms in Wyoming has skyrocketed. Awww, all those poor moo moos.”

“Garcia.” Hotchner had to work to keep the laughter out of his voice. Everyone else was softly laughing or smiling.

“I wanna meet this Garcia,” Dean whispered to his brother only to be smacked by Sam and glared at by Morgan.

“Uh, sorry, sir. Well, the numbers have gone up all over Wyoming except in one place: Southern Wyoming.”

“Wyoming?” Dean immediately looked to Bobby and Sam for answers. Both men shrugged.

“Yeah,” Garcia answered instead. “That one area's totally clean -- spotless.”

“What is it?” Sam asked, not of Garcia but of Gideon.

Hotchner turned to his mentor and raised a brow.

Gideon shot Bobby a look, as if deferring to the hunter. Bobby motioned for him to go on. “It’s almost as if the demons are surrounding that particular area.”

Bobby nodded. “Makes sense. Must be something there.”

“Any idea what?” Dean asked the room at large. No one had a clue.

Bobby stood. “Time to research.”

Hotchner watched with amusement as Dean and Morgan had the same sour look on their faces while the others enthusiastically volunteered to help. Bobby had looked at them like they were all crazy but let them at his books. He gruffly told them what to look for before bending over his own stack of books. Hotchner knew he had enough hands so he decided to make sure their absence this weekend had gone unnoticed by the upper echelon of the FBI. He even had JJ arranged for them to have leave for a few more days, just in case.

Steady research and silence had reigned for a few hours but when Bobby’s dog lifted his head, Dean, Sam, and Bobby all jumped for their guns. Well, Dean and Bobby jumped, Sam winced his way to his weapon. The BAU people knew better than to ask, reaching for their weapons, too. Bobby and Dean signaled for all of them to stay in the house, then left. Only to return mere moments later with a blonde woman in tow. She was older than Hotchner but not by much. She had the look of a woman who had lived a hard life and was made stronger by it.

“Ellen!” Sam lumbered forward, arms opened, relief on his face.

With just the call of her name, Sam explained her identity. She was the owner of the Roadhouse. When they had helped Dean and Bobby dig graves at the burned wreckage, the two men had search furtively for her, but the bodies had been so destroyed by the fire that identification had been impossible. It seemed she wasn’t among the bodies they’d buried that day.

“Sam.” She opened her arms but jumped when Dean growled, “Careful.” Ellen looked at Sam more critically, noticed the wound on his back and adjusted her arms so they didn’t touch it. “How’re you, kiddo?”

“Glad you’re not dead.”

Her laugh was bitter and painful.

“Drink, Ellen?” Bobby held out a shot.

Hotchner and the others of his team all looked at Bobby strangely, not understanding why he was offering her a drink so early in the day.

It was obvious she didn’t think it was strange, but she did roll her eyes. “Bobby, is this really necessary?”

“Just a belt of Holy Water, shouldn't hurt.” Bobby didn’t smirk, didn’t even look vaguely amused. He was dead serious.

Sam softly explained to them all that demons couldn’t and wouldn’t voluntarily consume holy water.

“Whiskey now, if you don't mind,” she said, after draining the shot glass dry.

Bobby chuckled, others laughed softly. He left to get her that whiskey she ordered.

Ellen seemed to notice them for the first time.

Hotchner held out his hand. “Aaron Hotchner. My team.” One by one, he introduced them.

Ellen shook their hands, critically eying them. “You don’t look like hunters.”

“We are,” Gideon smiled at her in a way Hotchner knew he reserved for his lady friends. “We hunt monsters of the human variety.”

Her expression said, “Huh?”

“They’re feds,” Dean announced with some kind of mischievous glee. “FBI.”

Now her expression was turned on him and Sam and it said “What the hell?”

Sam quickly, succinctly filled her in. After the explanation, she smiled and patted Reid’s hand. “Thank you, sweetheart.”

His lover blushed and smiled.

Bobby came back with that whiskey and handed to her. “Ellen, what happened? How'd you get out?”

All of the levity in the room evaporated.

“I wasn't supposed to. I was supposed to be in there with everybody else.” Ellen scoffed, a harsh, bitter sound. “But we ran out of pretzels, of all things. It was just dumb luck.” She slammed back the whiskey like the barback she was. She nodded for him to pour her another. “Anyway, that's when Ash called. Panic in his voice.” She sighed, not meeting anyone’s eyes as she reflected. “He told me to look in the safe. Then the call cut out. By the time I got back, the flames were sky-high. And everybody was dead. I couldn't have been gone more than fifteen minutes.”

“Sorry, Ellen.” Sam wrapped a big hand around both of hers and the empty glass.

She smiled at him but it held little mirth and a whole lot of sadness. “A lot of good people died in there. And I got to live. Lucky me.”

Hotchner gave Gideon a look that he correctly interpreted by moving closer to Ellen and taking her hand. Everyone watched in silence as the two of the studied each other. Finally, Gideon spoke, “We’d like to help you avenge them.”

Ellen nodded, exhaling shakily.

“Ellen, you mentioned a safe,” Bobby asked.

“A hidden safe we keep in the basement.”

“Demons get what was in it?” Dean asked.

“No.” Ellen pulled out a large piece of paper from her pocket. She carefully unfolded it, smoothing it out on the tabletop.

Everyone crowded around. It was a map, covered with black lines and X’s.

“Wyoming.” Dean muttered.

“What does that mean?” Prentiss asked, nudging the map closer for a better look.

No one could answer her.

Bobby grunted. “Back to the books.”

Dean and Morgan groaned.

Bobby glared at them. “You two go clean and load all the weapons.”

Dean whooped a little, Morgan grinned, everyone else rolled their eyes.

“I don't believe it,” Bobby declared a couple of hours later.

“What? You got something?” Sam asked.

“A lot more than that.” Bobby motioned them all closer to the map.

Everyone stopped, putting their books or weapons down.

“Each of these X’s is an abandoned frontier church -- all mid 19th century. And all of them built by Samuel Colt.” He pointed to each of the marks, then looked up at his fellow hunters.

“Samuel Colt -- the demon-killing, gun-making Samuel Colt?” Dean asked incredulously.

Hotchner noticed how Reid was carefully studying the map while Bobby played professor again, explaining the importance of Samuel Colt to the BAU. “Reid?”

“Bobby, did Samuel Colt build something to connect all of these churches?” Reid asked, fingers tracing the partial black lines.

Bobby smiled at him like the star pupil he was. “Yep. Iron railways.”

Reid absently groped around on the table. Hotchner nudged a black marker into his lover’s hand. Reid was so absorbed he didn’t even say thank you, but Hotchner knew he was absently thinking it. Reid used the marker to extend the lines completely, connecting the churches, forming a seven-pointed star on the map. Then he leaned closer, biting his lip in that way of his as he thought. He drew more lines, short bars that connected one point to the next. Then more lines, curved ones this time, forming two concentric surrounding the star.

“Tell me that's not what I think it is,” Dean demanded.

“What is it?” Prentiss asked, looking from Reid to Dean.

But it was Sam that answered. “It's a Devil's Trap. A 100-square mile Devil's Trap.”

“That's brilliant,” Dean breathed, obviously awed by its creator. “Iron lines demons can't cross.”

“I've never heard of anything that massive.” Ellen turned to Bobby for confirmation.

“No one has.” Bobby eyed Reid. “Good job, kid.”

Reid smiled, nodded in thanks, then scooted back into Hotchner’s space. He smoothed a hand through Reid’s hair, praise and connection in one motion.

“And after all these years none of the lines are broken? I mean, it still works?” Dean looked straight at his brother and Bobby for the answer. It would have been insulting except this was their territory, their specialty.

“Definitely.” Sam nodded to emphasize.

“How do you know?” Morgan wanted to know.

Sam pointed to Morgan’s phone. “All those omens Garcia found. I mean the demons, they must be circling and they can't get in.”

“Yeah, well . . . they're trying,” Bobby grunted.

“Why?” Ellen asked.

“What's inside the trap?” Prentiss asked at the same time.

“That's what I've been looking for.” Sam grinned sheepishly. “Didn’t even realize I was looking inside a Devil’s trap. And, uh, there's nothing except an old cowboy cemetery right in the middle.”

“Well, what's so important about a cemetery or . . . what's Colt trying to protect?” Dean asked.

“Unless . . .” Gideon hedged.

“Unless what?” Bobby asked.

“What if Colt wasn't trying to keep the demons out? What if he was trying to keep something in?” Gideon proposed. “You did say it was a devil’s trap.”

The effect was clear as the hunters exchanged horrified looks.

“Well, that's a comforting thought,” Ellen muttered.

Everyone nodded. Whatever was trapped inside such a power devil’s trap had to be bad. Apocalyptic bad.

“Yeah, you think?” Dean snarked, glaring at the map as if it was at fault.

“Could the demons get inside?” Hotchner asked mostly of Bobby but glanced at all of the hunters just in case.

Bobby shook his head. “This thing's so powerful, you'd practically need an A-bomb to destroy it. No way a full-blood demon gets across.”

“No.” Sam paused, exchanging telling looks with Reid. “But we know who could.”


~*~*~*~*~*~
~*~*~*~*~*~

Section Four
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