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13 October 2013 @ 11:39 pm
Strange Truths (2/5)  




“Yes.” Dean is growling onto the phone, they’ve picked up a new car and are driving to the next town over. The FBI guy might have seen too much and they can’t be too careful.  Balthazar’s driving and Cas is staring out at the road as Dean barks breathlessly at Sam.

“Yes.” He says again, calming a little at whatever the other has to say. “Yes, she turned into a goddamn Christmas tree; I’m telling you it was a girl one moment and a salad the next. So it eats organs and makes girls out of leaves. Come on, that must be specific enough to find.”

Behind him, Cas has pulled out his phone, it’s smart, because he likes his internet and research just as much as Sam does. He types wordlessly; brow furrowing as he presses buttons, shakes his head and tries a different search.

Balthazar can almost hear Sam on the phone flipping pages as he drives, wishes idly for his powers back as they go.

“He wants to talk to you.” Dean hands the phone back to Cas, who takes it, placing it under his ear as he and Sam start shooting names of various creatures to each other, Cas’s fingers flying over his phone. Dean rolls his eyes, half fond affection, half amused exasperation – they really are nerds, through and through. For a moment, listening to Cas’s voice keep up its steady stream of information, he can almost forget another girl might be killed tomorrow, that somewhere a crazy freak is hiding, ready to strike again.  It’s nice, he muses briefly, eyes on the ex angel in the back seat, having other minds at their disposal, other people to talk through ideas with.  He didn’t think that he’d like it at first, but even Balthazar… He chances a look at the other angel, the other lifting an eyebrow in the same amusement that Dean’s feeling as Cas says something particularly convoluted.  For a moment their eyes meet in shared fondness, but then Dean looks away and the smile fades from the blonde’s lips. Even Balthazar has proven himself to be decent, as aggravating as he is, most times.  Their reactions to things run down more similar lines than he might have thought.

And Cas…after all the bullshit that’s come between them in the past couple of years, he’s glad they have a chance to figure some of the stuff out. Not that he’d ever say it, not that they’ve had any sappy heart to hearts, well…not in a while anyway, not since the first night Cas had stumbled upon them human and half dead, Balthazar trailing in his footsteps, only slightly better off.
“Not a ghoul.” Cas is saying, shaking his head, he’s pulled out a notebook now, scribbling in it, crossing things out, and writing notes in the margins. Sam’s voice echoes slightly in the quiet of the car, by turns protesting and excited.

They’d exchanged words right after Cas had a returned: a long, angry, broken conversation on both ends. But since…well, Dean’s never done well with words, has preferred to shove things away, to ignore them. And they haven’t done that exactly, but somewhere in the rhythms of hunting, the need to trust and depend on one another, they’ve grown closer again, comfortable, an easiness that he doesn’t really remember them ever having filling the ragged spaces that have been cut into them with everything that’s happened. And he likes that better, all in all, than some dramatic scene of apology under a full moon by the riverside, or some crap like they show in the movies. Not that he and Cas are like a chick flick or anything, even if they were a movie. He just means that he likes that it’s happened naturally, not as some big, over hyped, moment. Cas is a friend, he muses, and for the first time in a long time, he feels like one. It’s nice.

“Yes.” The words are loud as Dean tunes back in, “Yes, perhaps that could be it. It sounds…apt. And with the child. There are not many things that would be able to have managed that. Yes, I’ll tell them. We will inform you of the new hotel address when we get there.”

“Sam is going to return to our hotel and collect our belongings and the Impala. He will join us when we arrive at our new rooms.”

Cas pauses, but Dean prompts it out of him. “And the monster?”  Sometimes he could just shake Cas for being so obtuse: relevant information first, really.

The look Cas fixes him with in return says, I understand, I was getting to that. Dean huffs in reply, about to say something sarcastic, but Cas cuts him off.

“We believe it to be an Aswang.” Cas has put his phone away and his notebook down. Slumped back against the seat, he suddenly looks tired. Dean wonders if he’s been sleeping well, for a moment, before his mind reminds him they’re in a middle of an important discussion.

“It is much like a ghoul, featured primarily in Philippines mythology and oral traditions, but they’ve been spotted all over the world. They hunt for children, eating the hearts and livers of the young as well as the fetuses of the soon to be born.”

Dean’s fingers drum along the side of the car as he nods, making a face at the words. “But we’re think it’s our creature because?”

 “Because…” Cas’s words sound faintly proud now, the sound of hard work paying off. “because it can transform into a creature, Dean. It appears human, but can become a bird or a dog, hands, claws, and teeth – all the things that marked up the girls.” He stops to take a breath, their eyes finding each other in the mirror. Cas’s gaze is excited, though still controlled. “And it is said to bring a changeling after it hunts  - one made of trees and dirt.”

“Eileen.” Dean breathes as it clicks into place, the memory of skin melting into wood still fresh in his mind.

Cas nods. “Yes. But the question is why?” The excitement fades again, blue eyes deathly serious. “Why these girls?” He sounds so much like a hunter in that moment, that Dean almost forgets that not so long ago this was a celestial being with the weight of the world on his shoulders. “It would seem there must be something tying them together.”

“You said this Aswang feeds on fetuses and the young?” Balthazar’s voice, thoughtful, interrupts and Cas makes a sound of assent. “And does it, perhaps, gain more power from eating both, from the same family?”
Even Dean has to admit it’s a good thought, and Cas dives back into his notes, flipping through the pages before looking up. “Yes, but –“

“Mrs. Johnson was pregnant.” Balthazar turns his eyes back onto the road with a shrug of his shoulders. “I believe Mrs. Cassidy was as well, and … whoever it was came before her. “

“So it’s going after expecting mothers with kids.” The words are rancid in Dean’s mouth as he says them. “And it’s gonna strike tomorrow. Fucking awesome.” He groans as he straightens again, trying not to feel the loss of Cas’s eyes. “How the hell are we supposed to find out who’s pregnant and where it’s heading?”

“We will go to the town as we planned, Dean. And…” Cas falters.

Balthazar picks up the thread of thought for him. “And we’ll see about baby stores in town, see if anyone’s expecting, hang about next to nursery schools.” His face has a defensive expression before Dean even turns to him with a smirk.

“Please.” Balthazar responds. “As though you’ve never thought you were going to have a child.”

Dean huffs at him, and Cas, as usual, brings them back to business before things get out of hand. “Yes.” He adds. “And perhaps Sam will have some insights into its hunting patterns by the time he joins us. This is an excellent contraption.” He holds up his phone. “But it is nowhere near as well suited for these things as a laptop.” There’s a note of almost longing in the last words, and Balthazar chuckles next to him.

“I think Cassy would happily trade us both for a laptop, don’t you?” He turns to Dean, who’s disarmed for a moment by the seeming camaraderie, then laughs as well. Cas glares at them from the back seat.

“I would do no such thing.” He protests, pulling out the phone again to continue his reading, Dean’s phone next to him on the seat. The laughter fades off, and Dean sinks into the thoughts of the case once more.
The car goes silent. Balthazar’s eyes on the road, Cas’s on the tiny screen and sometimes on the back of Dean’s head, and Dean’s staring straight ahead. It’s progress, but it’s not enough. Not yet.



“Finally going to go in today, are we?” Will ignores Dr. Chilton’s tone. The snide entertainment that the other gleans from all this is obvious, but it doesn’t matter to him right now.  Not really. His heart beats loudly in his ears; he feels at the same time too hot and too cold. Maybe he should turn around, go back. This is probably a mistake, definitely, what was he thinking, this is an awful idea.

He’s about to say as much, but the smugness on Chilton’s face stops him and he only nods, keeping pace with the other as they cross through secure door after secure door. The locking sound as they shut behind him still sends shudders up his spine, but he’s not here as a prisoner, he reminds himself, they’ll open up again when he wants to leave.  He knows that much is true, knows it. And yet a part of him is certain that he’s never going to leave again, that the darkness will swallow him up and not let him go.

“You know the rules, I trust.” Chilton stops with him at the last door, not waiting for Will’s answer before he plunges on. “If you learn anything from this er- conversation of yours, just know that we would be most interested to hear it. He has been…” Chilton’s eyes slide past the door, narrowing slightly. “He has tried to make us look like fools, you understand.”

“And we wouldn’t want that would we, doctor?” He can’t help the sarcastic response from slipping through his teeth, and Chilton fixes him with a cold smile that doesn’t reach his eyes.

“No.” He says slowly. “I should think not.” The coolness grows underneath his skin. “It’s very interesting that you should come to visit, I think. One might wonder why? After all that he’s put you through. Tell me Will, do you miss him? That would be quaint, as I find he misses you.”

“One might wonder,” he says through gritted teeth, ignoring the way the words make something twinge through him. He feels something a lot like compassion for the figure looming beyond the doors, and he hates himself for feeling that, for wanting Chilton’s words to be true.

“Let John know on your way out.” Chilton says instead of goodbye when he finds that Will is going to say no more. He taps his key against the door and turns on his heel. “It’s past the other cells. At the end of the hall.”  The words call back to him and then die away. With a breath, he takes a step forward.

It feels like the hall stretches on forever. There are other patients in their cells, most of them muttering to themselves or asleep.  There are other dangerous minds in the bowels of this place, he knows that much, and they’re smart, he supposes, not to let Hannibal near them.

His footfalls are loud against the stone, and he knows that’s probably enough to identify him, but he doesn’t bother to muffle them. Does it matter if Hannibal knows for a minute more that he’s here? Perhaps it might if he cowards away before he makes it to the cell.

But his feet carry him forward, spurred on by what he’s witnessed today and the deep rooted feeling that only Hannibal would actually listen, would not discount his words as insane, which is ironic in many ways. His lip curls sardonically to himself, but it’s the truth, all the same.

Five cells, then three cells, then he’s paused. At the edge of the normal prisons, in the gap before the last one in the row. He knows that he’s shaking, not from fear, but a residual emotion that he has no name for. They haven’t seen each other since the trial, since Hannibal was declared the Chesapeake Ripper, his eyes meeting Will’s where he lurked at the back of the room. Since he was taken away, thrown to Chilton despite Will’s protests. No one had been listening. But even after everything, no one deserves Chilton for life. Not even Will’s enemies deserve that, and he scarcely knows what to call Hannibal.

He takes a breath. It’s go forward or turn back, he can’t stay here in this little limbo. There’s a killer on the loose. People are turning into plants, and he doesn’t know why he thinks Hannibal can help, but he does. The thought spurs him: he takes a step, and then he’s there standing in front of the glass, frozen.

Half of him expects Hannibal to be standing against the glass, to be lurking, looming, waiting for him. But he isn’t. He’s sitting on his cot, back against the wall; his legs are tucked underneath him, eyes glued to a book. He looks strange in a prison suit, his hair falling into his face without its usual gel slicking it back. Will supposes he’s not allowed it here.  He looks, strangely enough, content, Will thinks to himself. Unbothered, at least, by the sudden change in situation that has befallen him.  But the image hits Will wrongly anyway, seems as though he’s seeing something surreal. Even though Hannibal deserves it, he reminds himself, for all that he’s done. He deserves it.

The flare of anger, which is more of a hurt, but he prefers to think of it as the former, comes and goes, and he doesn’t know exactly how to start the conversation he’s come here seeking, for weeks now, perhaps. Doesn’t know how to say Hello, even, after all that has passed.

Hannibal saves him the trouble, always a step ahead.

“Hello, Will.” He says softly. There’s a layer to the voice that Will hasn’t heard before, that seems to provoke a flicker of thought even in the speaker’s face, before the other continues speaking, looking up slowly from his book and setting it aside. The little tone has disappeared. “Would you like a chair, or are you not intending on staying long enough to find yourself in need of one?”

Their eyes meet, and the gaze disarms him.

“I think perhaps a chair, John.”

Hannibal addresses someone behind him and Will jumps as the orderly brings a plastic folding chair to the window.  Will sits, Hannibal waits, and it’s now Hannibal’s eyes that are doing the appraising, jumping across the other man in a way that might almost be greedy, if a gaze could be as such.

“You look well.” He remarks after a few more moments. “The disease has left you.” He sounds almost relieved, as though it were not he himself who allowed it to grow. “I trust they have returned your dogs to you with your release?”

In his line of work, and being who he is, Will’s had a lot of truly bizarre conversations, but this one, he must admit, ranks. The humorless laughter bubbles out of him before he can stop it, gales of it, his body shaking with the sounds. Hannibal’s lips quirk a little at the edges.

“Yes, Dr. Lecter.” He speaks finally, finding his tongue. “Yes. They gave me back my dogs. If you were concerned, please don’t be.”

“Good.” Hannibal sounds satisfied, as though this truly has been bothering him. “I inquired with Dr. Chilton, but he is not a very accommodating man.” Hannibal’s tongue tuts a little. “I would not want you to find yourself alone.”

“Oh, what?” Will is still laughing, but it’s dying down, just the last whispering edges of it as his voice grows hoarse. “Alone. Without you, you mean?”

“Without me, perhaps.” Hannibal responds, calm in the face of Will’s tumult. The sitting man wonders for a moment, if he feels anything at all. “Do you feel as though you are without me?”

Will snorts. “Are you psychoanalyzing me, doctor?” His words have a dark edge of amusement to them, but also something different, something half wary and half longing.

“We are merely having a conversation.” Hannibal tilts his head as he rises from the bed, moving closer.  Standing now, impossibly tall.  “Though you did not come here to talk about you and I, or you would have come in any other one of those times when you lingered just outside my door.” There’s no accusation in the words, no mockery either. “And I have no wish to keep you here with meaningless words. Though,” He inclines his head slightly. “It is lovely to have someone to converse with.”  He continues before either of them can say anything to that thought. “So tell me Will. Why have you come?”

“I …” He rises himself, crossing his arms and pacing. He wants to demand Hannibal give him back control of the conversation, but a large part of him is also pleased that they’ve so smoothly arrived to this point. He shakes his head a little; he ought to have expected it really. “There’s this case, children are being killed, little girls.”

He’s looking at the wall, so he misses the way Hannibal’s face clouds over for a moment, the film of memory laying over him eyes before he tucks it away again, so far into his mind even he cannot reach it.

“And so I went, to see the house. And  - “ He pauses, shaking his head, hands grasping the chair, leaning over it and facing Hannibal again. “And the girl I saw dead on the table, she was there, only it wasn’t actually a little girl, and for the grand finale, she turns into greenery.”  His face colors with the recollection, the same disbelief as before rushing through him. “And I’m not nuts anymore, so tell me, tell me what can explain that?”
“Was the mother pregnant?” Hannibal inquires as though that is a perfectly normal question to be asking with no information at all.

Will throws a hand up in the air, shaking his head. “I – yes, she was.” He remembers the belly and the nursery. “But what –“

Hannibal doesn’t seem to be listening though, has stepped closer at the motion he’d made, sniffing the air. “Interesting company you have been keeping, Will.” He murmurs, turning on his heel and going back to his desk, drawing something on a piece of paper with a felt tipped pen.  His fingers fly across the page, and before Will speaks to question what he is doing, he has returned.

The lunch tray slot opens up and Will, his eyes never leaving the older man, reaches in to pick up the carefully drawn page that has been handed out to him.

“What is this?” He asks, eyebrow raising when he finally glances down, a complicated spiderweb of lines and symbols threading across it, words in Latin written on the side. “I don’t understand.”

“Return home.” Hannibal says instead of an explanation. “Draw it on your floor, say the words. I think you will find your answers.”

Will heaves a sigh, “And what, the magic spell will bring the killer right to my door?” He doesn’t even bother to try and disguise his disbelief.  “Seriously?”

“Not quite the killer, no.” Hannibal crosses his arms, moving to lean against the wall of his cell closest to the glass partition between them. “And yes. Seriously. You came to ask for my help, did you not? And I am giving it to you. Even if you are unwilling to believe me, what damage might it do? More to the point,  you claim you saw a girl change into a tree today, and you struggle to believe that what I offer might have some value?”

That...that might be a point. He looks from the paper to Hannibal and back. “Maybe you just want to turn me into a tree.” He mutters and Hannibal laughs, the sound of it familiar to Will’s ears, it makes something ache in his chest.

“I have no wish.” Hannibal’s eyes are brighter somehow as he looks at him. “for you to become greenery of any sort.” There’s a bad joke there, somewhere, that lingers between them and Hannibal looks at him for a long moment as though daring him to make it, but he doesn’t and they move on.

“I believe you will not be disappointed.”

His shoulders shrug as he nods, finally – he supposes it wouldn’t hurt to try. He doesn’t buy anything will happen, but he’s curious enough, especially after today’s events, to attempt.

He hesitates as he goes to turn away, Hannibal still standing at the glass. Somehow, it’s even harder to leave than it was to come in the first place.

Hannibal’s voice catches him in midstep. “I think sometimes.” He says, quiet again. “often, perhaps, about all that has passed between us, and I.” He doesn’t think he’s ever heard Hannibal sound so unsure. “I - . I miss you, I suppose.”

It takes a moment for him to find his voice again, and it’s only to croak out an “Okay.” before he’s turned on his heel and gone.

--

They’re sitting in the hotel room, waiting for Sam to get back. One moment, Cas is there, mouth open to ask some question or another. The next, he’s disappeared.

--
For a moment, Castiel wonders if his grace has returned to him. The flutter of air that surrounds him is similar to flying, and yet, when the air stops moving around him, the glow fades and no welcome brightness fills him.
He does not know where he is, he realizes, that is the first thing. And neither Balthazar nor Dean are present any longer. Instead of a hotel, he is in a large room of a house, standing in front of a fireplace, and he is stuck in a binding spell. There is a cacophony of howling around him.

He turns angrily in place until he finally spies the man standing in the corner.

“Where did you get these sigils from?” He growls at the other. He might be human now, but there is a gun in his waistband and phone with gps enabled in his coat: Dean is already on his way, he is certain. He puts any panic out of his mind and instead concentrates on the situation. The summoning spell entrapping him is ancient and it’s angelic, he kneels to examine for a moment, ignoring the man’s mumbles and then rises, eyes narrowing at him. Does this man know where the angels are being kept? Does he have some hand in their disappearance, is that why he has called Cas here with angelic words even he can barely read. “Are you in league with Metatron?”

“Metatron, I -  What?” The other seems as shocked as Cas feels internally, and is doing nothing to hide it: a human then. He watches the fumbling - most definitely not an angel. A human who seems to have no idea that he just summoned an angel…using a spell that…that requires them to have met before, he reads more of the marks on the ground, but when –

“You were at the Johnson’s today.” He surmises after a beat of thinking. “You’re not the Aswang are you?” Even though it is a relatively clumsy question, he feels that it’s worth it to ask. It would save them much trouble, if that were to be true.

“No.” The man sounds more frustrated now, though the shock doesn’t dissipate, as though he’s trying to follow but can’t. “I’m not…that, whatever you said. I’m just FBI, and I’m sorry but I really don’t have a clue what’s going on here.”

Cas sighs, a very inept human then. “You are the one who has summoned me and you would like me to tell you why?”

“I’m Will.” The man offers as he goes to sit down the couch, muttering something that sounds an awful lot like Dammit, Hannibal. But it’s hard to be sure. The name strikes him as odd: he last heard it on the battlegrounds of Rome, but who is he to comment.

He ponders the greeting for a moment longer, and supposes, his eyes sharply focused on the man, that it would do no harm to return it. It is not as though his name is in any of the FBI’s records. “I am Castiel.”

“Of course you are.” The words come out in a jumble, more like a groan than anything else.

Castiel frowns at him, unsure of what that is supposed to imply. “That is who I am, yes.”

“Yes, right - sorry, it’s just. It’s been a long.” He runs his fingers through his hair as they twitch for something to do, Castiel’s  eyes follow his actions. “I guess you saw that girl turn into a pile of plants today, too.” He nods over at where the little shrubbery version of Eileen Johnson that sits by his desk.

The blue gaze flits over it, he had debated taking it with them at the scene, but there had been no time. More interesting to him is the grief he sees in the other’s eyes, a deep unhappiness that he understands, a murderer escaped, another body for the count.  At least, his shoulders relax a fraction, at least whoever this is does not seem to want to cause them more trouble.

“And now I’ve summoned you.” He repeats Cas’s words, a dog comes up to him, nudging his leg. “What exactly does that even mean?”

Cas frowns at him, still attempting to figure out whether or not this man really had no idea at all about what he was attempting.  “You said the incantation, you drew the sigil, that is what you do in order to summon an angel. Was that not your intent?”

Will swears quite loudly, at that, and Cas fondly thinks of Dean for a moment.  “I’m sorry, you’re a what exactly?”

He is really tiring of repeating himself though. “I’m an angel, Will.” He says before he remembers he is no longer. “Or at least, I used to be. But I suppose this means there is hope. “ He gestures at the chalk drawn around his feet and then waits, looks for some kind of reaction from the other. At least a hint of the reason for why he has been brought here, but he’s disappointed. They stand there looking at each other silently for what must be another five minutes, Cas shifting, and Will shaking his head, his hands glued to his forehead. He wonders if the human is experiencing some sort of illness or shock, but he is ill experienced to help with either. In the end, he settles on letting the other be, killing time, as it were, for the rumble of a familiar car to come take him…home.  It takes longer than he’d hoped it might, but in the end it comes, the sound of tires screeching across gravel. The dogs barking starts up again, spurred to noise by all the new excitement.

 Will hears it too, because he jumps to his feet, but it’s too late. Dean has already kicked in the door and all but tackled him, pushing him into the wall as he splashes the shorter man with holy water.  If Dean didn’t look like he were about to choke Will, Cas would chuckle. He’s not exactly sure why he has an issue with Dean hurting the other, but in the end, he’s fairly sure he’s decided that Will, while a bit unsteady seeming, is not their enemy.
Balthazar and Sam trail in behind the other hunter, making a bee line for Cas, concerned looks on all their faces. He holds up a hand in greeting, with an extra nod for Sam. Behind them, Will splutters under the holy water, trying to scramble out of Dean’s grasp.

“Dean, don’t.” He calls sharply as Dean reaches for his knife. “He didn’t mean to do it. I think this is all a bit of a misunderstanding.”

“Dean?” Will gargles, falling to the floor as Dean drops him where he stands. “Winchester, Christ.” He’s scrambling to his feet, reaching for his own gun now.  His fingers close around it, raising it but not aiming, though his eyes are wary.

“The FBI thinks you’ve killed all those people.” He says evenly, his eyes are racing, trying to find the quickest exit should he need to escape. He doesn’t know if he believes it or not, not yet. The evidence is scattered at best, disconnected and with no notable pattern he can find. Not even when he strains. He knows Jack believes it, but sometimes Jack only sees what he wants to. Dean sighs, and Sam pushes him away, stepping towards Will with his hands up. But it’s Cas who speaks first.

“Will, we haven’t killed anyone.” He tries to say calmly, but Will’s face doesn’t change, he barely even hears him. He’s lost in his thoughts, jumping through the evidence he’s seen, the prints at all the crime scenes, the pictures of them tacked to the wall, red handed. And yet he can’t feel them there. Not really, every case rings with a slightly different tone, as though committed by different people. And they are so random and so scattered, even the best killers would struggle to manage so well across that many states without getting caught.

“There are pictures,” He says finally, hesitantly, because how can he really contest that. They were there, weren’t they? He’s been wrong before after all.  But even as he thinks it, his mind is rebelling. There’s no logic to blaming the Winchesters, they might be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and clumsy as all hell, but he still can’t parcel out how they’d have committed so many crimes and managed to get away quite so smoothly. No, his mind is telling him, there’s something else to this.

 “What they saw was a shape shifter.” Cas says calmly as Dean balks, the other ignores him though continuing to speak in his even tone. “You summoned me because I was an angel. Today, you saw an Aswang’s victim, what the FBI has photographed are shapeshifters and the Winchester’s leave prints in  crime scenes, not because they are killing people but because they are saving them.  In these cases, it is no ordinary human killing people.  They kill monsters.“ He tilts his head, meeting Will’s gaze as the other  finally turns to look at him. “You know it to be true.” He adds gently. “I know it can be difficult to accept, but we are not lying to you.”

Will’s eyes dart from one of them to the next, the hand on his gun lowering with his resolve. He might have ignored the sights he saw from today, wrote them off as the tail end of his madness, but Castiel…Castiel appearing before him, and Hannibal’s suggestion that it might happen. It’s too much evidence piling up in front of him. “I know that you believe it.” He says finally. “But I can’t.” He feels he has to protest, he’s just finished being crazy, he can’t be like that again, he really, really, just can’t.  “It’s ridiculous, these things.”  His voice is soft, almost a whisper. “They’re not real.”

Sam steps carefully towards the dresser, where Eileen’s straw doll of green sits, reminding him all over again of the nightmares he’d seen come to life. “It is real.”

He sounds calm, together, trustworthy. Castiel wishes Dean hadn’t rushed Will quite so viciously at the outset, but he wasn’t to know. And it’s flattering, really, that Dean feels so strongly for him that he  attacked. Family - the word flutters through his thoughts as he looks out at the room.

“It’s real, and you’ve seen it and if you want to stop a girl from dying tonight than you’re going to need our help.”  Dean now, unmoving, but his face set, resolved.

Will sinks into his chair, his face going into his hands, wondering for the last time, if this is all a dream, if he’s still in prison even, if some fevered reaction of his cells is making him hallucinate this whole case. But he can tell what’s real and what’s not now, he knows who he is. He’s worked hard to find the difference again for himself, and he won’t let it slip away. It would be more madness to ignore this than to accept it. His fingers dig into his palms.

“Okay.” He says to the floor. “Tell me about this Aswang.”