Tangible Schizophrenia


Demons VII: Ticket to Heaven

Author: Guede Mazaka
Rating: PG-13. Violence.
Pairing: John/Balthazar, some Dean/John
Feedback: Good lines, typos, etc.
Disclaimer: Neither the SPN characters nor the Constantine characters belong to me.
Notes: AU begins right before the end of Home. Supernatural/Constantine crossover. Loose sequel to Snap, from which you only need to know the following: 1) John and Midnite resurrected Balthazar as a human and 2) John and Balthazar have acquired the ability to change into female forms of themselves.
Summary: Dean can do some cool stuff now. Unfortunately, he’s still got problems.


By the time they got back to L. A., Dean was dead-tired and just about ready to hit the sack. It was still two hours from dawn, which would’ve meant at least three hours’ sleep before they absolutely had to hit the road…if he’d known where Sam was. Till he knew that, he wasn’t going anywhere near a bed.

He pulled up in front of Midnite’s bar, which was dark and quiet. John moved a little, then turned over and sat up in the backseat, blinking at the outside world. He scrubbed the ball of his thumb over his eyes and started elbowing Balthazar, who’d ended up falling asleep on top of him. Once Balthazar was off, John predictably lit up.

“It’s not open. It should be,” John muttered. “Dean?”

“Sam called. He…” Normally Dean wouldn’t talk about it since it was a family problem, but he didn’t have a great chance of tracking down Sam without help. And Sam wasn’t answering his damn phone. “He said it’s a demon called Moloch, and that he and Midnite were planning something for him. Hung up before I could ask him what, but it’s probably stupid.”

John absorbed that pretty calmly. He rolled down the window on his side and tossed out his cigarette even though it was barely smoked. “Sometimes I want to just take a frying pan to Midnite’s head. He could’ve just asked me to deal with the bastard, but no, he sends me off to drag you out of a river.” His feet scuffled restlessly along the floor. “Why?”

“He doesn’t know what Moloch wants, and wanted to let him have a chance to tell Sam?” Balthazar lightly suggested. His suit might be able to stand lying on a couch, but it hadn’t made the round trip unscathed. He kept smoothing it down like that was going to help.

His tone was funny. And John thought so too, because John shot Balthazar a look. “I thought you said you didn’t know anything.”

“I didn’t. Then.” Balthazar haughtily looked down at John, which took a little doing since he was around two inches shorter. But he wasn’t so sure of himself that he didn’t scoot back when John lifted half-curled hands towards his throat. “Johnny, they’re brothers. And they’ve got the right blood. Maybe they’re not twins, but it’s probably still enough—”

Shit.” John jerked towards Balthazar, then turned around and damn near kicked out the door. He threw back an arm, hooked Balthazar’s wrist, and hauled him out of the car.

Dean scrambled to follow, wincing a little as his jeans dug into the backs of his knees and the creases where thighs joined pelvis. His little swim had resulted in the denim shrinking, but he hadn’t had time to change. “What? What’s that son of a bitch doing with my brother?”

“Why didn’t you say something! I thought you didn’t want to go back to Hell!” John was snarling, slamming Balthazar up against the car. His fingers clamped down on Balthazar’s shoulders till they were white and bloodless. He roughly jerked Balthazar to his feet, then forward for another bashing.

This was obviously an old fight of theirs, where they both knew the motions before they did them, but it was no less vicious for that. It was enough to shut up Dean for a second.

Balthazar shoved up his arms between him and John, forcing them momentarily still. “I don’t! But Moloch can’t be deported unless—”

“Unless he hurts someone. Unless he hurts Sam. Right? Right?” Maybe Dean had shut up, but he hadn’t stopped moving. He got around the car and was reaching for Balthazar when John suddenly jerked the other man away. “Where are they?”

John still looked pissed as hell, but he kept himself between Dean and Balthazar, who actually looked as if the shaking had gotten to him. He held onto Balthazar’s wrist and dragged them down the stairs of the bar. “No, Moloch could be deported without him hurting anyone. In theory, anyway. The rules are off now, remember? But we couldn’t touch him because he’s too strong—not in touch enough with his human side, so to speak.”

“You’re an exorcist.” Pieces were whizzing around Dean’s brain and colliding together, which usually wouldn’t be a great way to figure out what was going on. But they were going so fast and he was so furious that randomly smashing them together was actually producing results. “He’s got to get into something you can exorcise. He’s got to get into…how is this different from hurting Sam?”

“Fine, it’s not. It’s just even more fucking stupid than tackling Moloch head-on…oh, not now,” John hissed.

The bouncer hadn’t been out, but as soon as John had touched the door, it’d swung open and the door had filled up with around two hundred pounds of solid muscle. Not that that’d stopped John; he swung Balthazar forward so the bouncer struck out at him. Balthazar ducked—still got a fist glancing off his shoulder—and staggered under the bouncer’s raised arm. In the meantime, John had grabbed one of the velvet-rope posts. He whacked it into the bouncer’s head, then stepped back and lit a cigarette. By the time he was done, the bouncer was on the ground and John could easily stalk over him into the bar. Which he did. Which Dean did, too.

Inside was mostly empty. A couple people were cleaning up, but they didn’t look to have any more brains than the bouncer had had. They’d all paused as one to stare at John, who apparently needed to gaze blankly around the room to figure out what to do next. “I can’t believe you let us go out of town,” he muttered to Balthazar, who was still sitting on the floor. “What if everything had gone down while we were out?”

“What would you have done? You managed to put me down, but you couldn’t actually deport me—Gabriel did that. You couldn’t have finished off Moloch by yourself,” Balthazar snapped. He started to stand up, rubbing at his shoulder, but sat back down hard when he noticed Dean quietly coming his way. Then he started scooting towards John. “Midnite sent Dean out of town for reasons besides diversion.”

“Yeah…” Two long streams of smoke issued from John’s mouth, then curled back on themselves to ring his head. He glanced down when Balthazar touched his ankle, but didn’t look behind himself. “Dean, knock that off. Goddamn princess has a point.”

Really? Well, excuse Dean for interrupting such a Hallmark moment in John and Balthazar’s fucked-up little relationship, but he didn’t see the point and he really, really was sick of this bullshit--

All the bottles behind the bar suddenly shattered. They didn’t explode, but just seemed to crack and drop into little piles of glass shards while their contents streamed to the floor. Blue, clear, brown, red…it all swirled together into one gigantic river that came towards Dean. He threw out his hand—and it stopped.

Balthazar took advantage of everyone’s distraction to get himself on his feet. He tapped John’s shoulder and John shook him off, then deliberately stepped towards Dean. John raised his eyebrows.

Dean glanced at the floor, at John, and then back at the floor. He lifted his hand. One end of the river of booze obligingly rose as well, bobbing around in the air like a cobra. “Okay. So if it’d been, say, a fire spirit instead of a water one…”

“Just be grateful Midnite doesn’t keep anything but the normal alcohol in bottles out here,” John muttered. He took a step forward, then reached back and grabbed Balthazar again—for some reason this made Balthazar look very relieved—and began stalking towards Midnite’s office. “Come on, Dean. Midnite would have maps or something out—he never could do anything without planning it to the nth step.”

* * *

Midnite’s office was a little messy, as if he’d left in a hurry. Well, of course he had. Sam jumped the mark sometimes, but that didn’t mean he was brain-dead; give him enough time and his overthinking might lead to him actually figuring out the truth.

“There’s a disemboweled goat in one of the butchering rooms,” Balthazar said, coming into the room.

John was helping Dean sift through the papers on Midnite’s desk. He didn’t look up. “No shit. What’d he take with him?”

“Oil of Extreme Unction, the usual herbs, and everything else you’d need to expel a major demon back to Hell.” Balthazar sidled up to John’s side and tried to press into the other man. When John irritably shrugged him off, a flash of worry passed over Balthazar’s face. “The divination doesn’t look favorable.”

“Here’s something.” Dean had spotted a binder on one of the shelves that stuck out a little more than the rest did. He took it down and opened it up at random to find it was filled with newspaper clippings. Obituaries. He flipped to the end and found a map of America on the last page. “Hey. This is where we’ve been, only the dates are late by a couple months.”

He deliberately pulled himself away from Balthazar, who was leaning over to look. The other man was contemptuous, but that rapidly disappeared when Balthazar noticed that John was doing the same thing. “This is tracking whoever Moloch sent to watch over you,” Balthazar said. He frowned and tapped at the map. “But they’ve jumped ahead…two months ago. They would’ve been right beside you.”

Rustling paper. Then John came up with a wad of newspaper, which he spread out on the desk. It had been folded to the obituary section when it’d been crumpled, and when it was smooth again, it revealed a hole in the middle. It was dated as yesterday’s.

“I was looking at this…this is my fucking copy,” John muttered. His eyes narrowed in concentration. He put up an elbow on the desk and pinched the bridge of his nose, trying to remember. Then he jerked over the binder Dean had and flipped to the last clipping in it. “Ravenscar Hospital. The children’s ward. Some kid died there.”

“Moloch would need the energy if he was attempting anything.” Balthazar leaned into John again, and this time John let it happen. The relief on Balthazar’s face was quickly chased off by wariness, but before he could back off, John had tossed an arm around him.

Whatever. They could be as freaky as they wanted as long as it was after Dean got his brother back and safe. “So that’s where Midnite would try to set up his trap? Okay, let’s go.”

“Dean, Ravenscar is a private hospital. You can’t just waltz in.” John stared meaningfully at Balthazar the whole time he was speaking. His grip shifted to holding the other man by the arms, tightening when Balthazar struggled. “Oh, no. You actually sided with Midnite, so you’re doing it.”

“I did not side with him!” Balthazar relaxed, then suddenly twisted around hard. It almost worked, but at the last second John let go so Balthazar overbalanced. He grabbed Balthazar again while the other man was teetered and yanked Balthazar back against his chest so his mouth was working behind Balthazar’s ear. “Dean would’ve been back-up to Sam if they’d gone to face Moloch directly. Now Moloch can’t take him so easily.”

John nuzzled Balthazar with apparent gentleness, but he left a line of little red teeth-marks in his wake. “So you still didn’t tell me. And I thought you liked me better than Midnite.” He made a clucking sound with his tongue. “You just were hoping Midnite would take care of Moloch first. Aw, poor princess, all terrified of his old friends…”

“Moloch was not a friend,” Balthazar hissed. He twisted again, then abruptly slumped against John. His head dipped so Dean couldn’t see his face. “I hate you.”

“Yeah, whatever. See you in a few.” With that, John let go of Balthazar and shoved him roughly out the door. John came back to pick up the binder from the table, then waved for Dean to follow him into the hallway.

They went the opposite way as Balthazar and ended up in an armory that would’ve made Dean very, very happy if Sam wasn’t with a manipulative piece of shit voodoo guy. “So what’s the plan?” he asked, reaching for the nearest gun.

“That’s not a good one. Only works on ghosts,” John said. After putting that one back, he handed Dean a shotgun and a box of shells. For himself, he got down a large jar filled with what looked like glass-ball Christmas ornaments. He started filling up his pockets from it. “The corpse we stuck Balthazar in had a badly-scarred uterus, which carried over a little. He’s going to go change and then we’re going to rush him in and fake a miscarriage. That ward’s right next door.”

“You go to this place often?” The shells didn’t look like anything special except for little crosses engraved into one end of them, but when Dean jiggled them around in his hand, he got a weird frisson from them. A similar though weaker vibe was coming from the glass balls, and for some reason Dean kept seeing a wide, muddy river cutting through a desert.

John grinned sourly and took a small glass case out of a cabinet. “You could say that. So here’s what I think—Moloch’s going to talk Sam into letting him take over his body so he can open a bridge between Hell and earth. He’s not going to just let Sam do it, though he could, because…never mind, not important. Let’s just say demons are really paranoid now.”

“And Midnite?”

“Midnite’s going to be around. He’ll be waiting for the moment when Moloch’s half-in, half-out: that’s when Moloch will be most vulnerable,” John said. The glass case had what looked like a white cracker in it; John tucked it into yet another pocket. “Except about a million things could go wrong with that, so you need to get to Sam before that happens.”

“Don’t have to tell me twice,” Dean muttered. He stuck the shotgun under his arm and walked out.

* * *

John and Dean were standing in the hall outside the room where they’d taken Balthazar, John chain-smoking and Dean nervously fiddling with the bag that held the shotgun. Luckily, all the doctors passing by seemed to take their expressions as normal for worrying boyfriend and cousin, respectively, of the poor miscarrying woman. They still glowered at John’s cigarette, but so far none of them had made him stop.

Dean coughed into his fist. “John? Why does Midnite have an extensive collection of women’s clothes in his storerooms?”

“You know, I’ve been asking about that for months now and I still don’t have the slightest goddamn idea.” After putting out his butt and tossing it in a nearby trashcan, John glanced a last time through the small window in the door. He snickered at whatever was happening to Balthazar and turned back, starting down the hall. “At least it’s all good quality. If Balthazar had had to borrow non-designer clothes, I might’ve strangled him to stop his whining before we ever made it here.”

They casually walked through the double doors at the end of the hall and headed for the elevators, as if popping down for some coffee. It occurred to Dean that it’d look weird if a doctor came out and didn’t see either of them and he was going to mention it to John, but then he realized he had no idea where the children’s ward was. He also didn’t exactly know how they were supposed to deal with Moloch; he remembered the Latin for the exorcism they’d done on the plane, but somehow he didn’t think that that would be enough.

Well, Balthazar probably could handle whatever came up at his end of things. He’d better if he wanted to make good enough with John that John would bother keeping Dean from killing him. Which Dean was still entertaining for the after-party.

“So…” Dean started, but he was cutting himself off before John even raised a warning hand. The hairs on the back of his neck were suddenly stiff and pointed as needles, and he had to force his hand away from the zipper on his bag. They were coming up on a corner and frankly, he didn’t want to go around it.

It was just a gut thing because a sleepy-looking twelve-year-old had just come around it from the opposite direction and she was fine—his instincts said she was okay—but then, ‘gut things’ tended to keep Dean alive. He glanced up at the wall and saw a sign, which said that this was the way to the therapeutic pools. Water.

Right about then, Dean decided that as soon as he’d gotten Sam and made sure he was okay, they were leaving town. He wouldn’t mind learning more about angels and demons and the Bet, if only for self-protection, and he was actually really starting to like John, but the coincidences here were insane. And fine, they weren’t really coincidences but minutely detailed plans. Which was worse.

They stopped in front of a wide set of double doors. One of them was propped open with a wedge and a tiny trickle of water came out of it. It was dim in the hallway, but Dean didn’t think that could completely explain the “off” color of the water. He suddenly tasted blood in his mouth and frowned, probing around with his tongue. All his teeth were okay, and he hadn’t just bitten himself, so…

He looked at the water again, then slowly crouched down and unzipped his duffel. The sound of that echoed weirdly on the side of Dean that was facing the doors. It made him wince and take out the shotgun so fast he accidentally clipped one end against the metal door.

Something else banged against the floor about a second later, so the two sounds almost masked each other. Dean jerked up his head and listened hard, but didn’t hear anyone moving. He looked at John, who was staring hard down the hall. The obit had said the kid had accidentally drowned here, but ghosts didn’t always stick with exactly where they’d died. The kid had to have had a room somewhere around here.

John reached into his pocket and pulled out two of those glass balls, which he tossed to Dean. He waved his hand down the hall, then held up his fingers in the universal “just need five minutes” sign.

He was walking off before Dean could nod, which more or less left Dean with no choice but to squat on the floor and wait. Dean managed to do that for about twenty seconds before he carefully leaned down on an elbow and peeked through the crack in the door.

Tile, tile…wet tile…wet and bloody tile…dead black rooster. Okay. Well, now he knew Midnite had been in. He twisted his head around a little more and saw the edge of a tub with something hanging over its side. Something flesh-colored. The blood taste in Dean’s mouth got stronger, and now to go with it was a weird slithering sensation just beneath his skin. It was like a cross between crawling fear and somebody sluicing him down with cold water.

Dean carefully swung the shotgun around so it wouldn’t tap against the floor, then stretched forward his hand till his fingers just touched the door. He gave it a light push. The door didn’t move. Biting back a sigh, Dean gave it a harder push.

A little too hard; the hinges creaked like hell. Dean would’ve sworn like a bastard except that he was too busy jumping to his feet and lunging in gun-first—when surprise wasn’t an option, attack as quickly as possible. “Stop whatever the hell you’re doing—Sam?”

“Dean? I thought you weren’t going to be back for another couple of hours.” Sam looked…fine. Really wet since he was hanging half-out of a full tub of water, but normal. His expression was equal parts startled, worried, and annoyed.

Around his tub was a ring drawn in the chicken blood. Four fat candles were spaced at equal intervals, and in between them were a bunch of symbols. Some of them looked like the ones carved into John’s doorframe, some others looked like they were from Christian apocrypha, and the rest looked like a dog’s nightmare.

“Well, we got done early. Damned good thing too, since Jesus, Sam. I can’t turn my back on you for a minute, can I?” Dean lowered the shotgun and got down to look at a couple of the symbols. There were faint reddish swipes leading off of them, as if they’d had parts erased and rewritten. “What the hell do you think you’re doing? I thought we were after this thing together.”

“We were, but there was a prob—look, Dean, I don’t need this right now. Moloch’s going to be here any minute,” Sam hissed. He made a swipe at Dean, as if to shove him away, but Sam couldn’t reach that far unless he got out of the tub. Which he didn’t.

Some of the symbols had been changed. The ghost of the original of one could still be seen, and Dean recognized it from an old lesson of Dad’s. The original sigil was supposed to give protection from demons. This new one…“Great. I’ve been wanting to talk to him.”

Dean. You—you can’t screw this up for me. He’s got Jessica’s soul!” The second attempt Sam made to get Dean came closer, but still no banana. “If I don’t do this right—”

“Wait, what? How can he have Jessica’s soul? Was she a mass-murderer by night?” Dean rocked back on his heels and got ready to smack sense into Sam. Yeah, yeah, Jessica. To be goddamn honest, Dean was getting really sick of that girl, and maybe that was unfair of him, but he couldn’t help it. What about Mom—oh, wait, Sam didn’t remember her. “He killed her—he didn’t seduce her. Now, I’m not up on everything, but I’m not sure how that…Sam?”

Sam’s fingers were bloody. Bloody, and the symbol had been changed in a way that’d let demons into the summoning ring…Dean dragged his eyes up to Sam’s pale face. He opened his mouth, but the obvious conclusion was so unbelievable that Dean just couldn’t—

And then really he couldn’t because something had seized the back of his jacket and whipped him across the tile so fast the world went from clear to blurry in a second. He thought he tried digging into the floor with the shotgun, but it didn’t matter because the gun just ripped out of his hand.

Water. Dean opened his eyes and saw the curved bottom of the tub coming up at lightning-speed. If he hadn’t had his arms in front of him, his skull would’ve smashed into the porcelain and he probably would’ve been out for the count. As it was, he thought he felt something in his wrist break. The pain flashed up through him and shocked him senseless—though not unconscious. He was awake, but he wasn’t getting any sensory input for a couple seconds.

Everything came back pretty fast and Dean started pushing with his good arm and his knees, trying to get his head above the water. But whatever was holding him down had a grip like iron; he twisted and pushed and nothing. Not even the feeling of any give. His nostrils were burning.

“…let…go…don’t…Dean’s not…” Sam yelling. Sounded panicky.

“…open up…” From right above Dean. Fucking Moloch.

Dean temporarily ran out of steam and slumped, which was a bad idea because Moloch took advantage of it to push Dean down another couple of inches. Bastard. But fine, direct way wasn’t going to work. Moving side-to-side sloshed the water so Dean could get a feeling of depth; the tub wasn’t that deep, and one thrash even let his foot briefly come above the surface, so maybe he could knock all the water out. Or maybe—maybe he was missing the obvious. He wasn’t the same, Sam wasn’t the same, but did Moloch know that?

Bar. Exploding bar, exploding bar, explode, explode, explode, Dean frantically thought. He had no idea if it’d work since John hadn’t exactly had time to explain about magic, but…

whoosh. Next thing Dean knew, he was sopping wet and choking in the middle of a bone-dry tub. He fell over on his side, then heavily pushed himself up with injured wrist cradled to his chest. The floor was completely flooded. “All right, you goddamn demon. Get the fuck away from my…brother…”

Sam didn’t normally have glowing red eyes, was the first thought that came to Dean. There wasn’t a second thought because Sam also didn’t normally float two feet above the ground with wings out, looking like a big angry eagle. No way was Dean letting the bastard take Sam’s body out of here.

“How about in your brother?” That wasn’t Sam’s voice. It was deeper and nastier, and it forced Sam’s face to twist into a revolting leer. “Don’t worry, Dean. You’ll get to see your father soon.”

“Bet you’re goddamn lying,” Dean grunted, lunging off the tub-edge. At the last second, his boot slipped so he ended up hitting Sam in the knees instead of the waist, but that turned out to be a good thing. Hitting Sam there made him too bottom-heavy and skewed his sudden upward movement so instead he wheeled into the floor.

His wing bashed Dean in the shoulder and there was serious power in that blow. Numbed Dean’s whole side for a second, then set it on fire while he was trying to scramble further up Sam. He gritted his teeth and ducked a punch from Sam—Moloch—then slipped around to grab the bastard by the throat. Slammed him against the floor; his wings snapped outwards to send waves crashing against the walls.

Moloch snarled and snapped at Dean, then threw his weight hard up and to the side so they rolled. Something cold and hard knocked against Dean’s knee, then went away: the shotgun. He let Moloch throw him to the side, then caught the demon off-guard and rolled them back. Dean threw out a hand, felt the edge of the shotgun, and yanked it up just as Moloch was about to rip at his belly. He shoved the tip beneath S—Moloch’s jaw, which jarred his wrist badly, but that couldn’t be helped. “Get the hell out of him,” Dean snarled.

“Or you’ll shoot—” hard grimace, then open eyes and they were brown, not red. “Dean?”

Sam.” Dean’s hand had relaxed just for a second, but Moloch was damned fast. He came back and slapped the gun out of Dean’s hand—went for the injured wrist, the fucker—and while Dean was reeling, dragged them towards the other tub, which was still full.

Somebody banged through the doors. “Dean!” John shouted. “Water! Get him in the water!”

Yeah, Dean had kind of figured. He saved his strength for the last moment, when Sam was hauling them over the edge, and then suddenly flipped over so Sam went in head-first and underneath. Moloch immediately tried to buck Dean off, but Dean got his good arm around Sam and—and Jesus Christ, what was that? Dean yanked out his arm to see jagged teeth-trails raking red over his hand. Something had—had come out of Sam’s stomach and bitten him.

“Get him back down!” John tried to come forward, but a big wall of invisible smacked into him. He staggered back, got himself braced against the wall, and starting doing something Dean couldn’t see because Moloch was trying really hard to slam something into Dean’s crotch. His wings couldn’t slap back far enough to hit Dean, but they damn well were trying for that.

Dean lost his hold and almost slipped off, but at the last second kicked up and pinned Moloch back to the edge. But Sam’s face wasn’t even touching the water, and…fuck. This was going to hurt.

No kidding. Soon as Dean switched to his hurt wrist to hold him, Moloch started twisting and kicking like a bastard so little white dots of bounced in Dean’s vision. He did his best to ignore them and groped furiously in his pockets. His fingers touched a smooth sphere and he jerked it out just in time to use it to crash Sam’s head into the tub. The ball shattered and Moloch—Sam—there was screaming. Screaming and smoke coming up, and Jesus Christ, this was bad.

Gritting his teeth wasn’t going to be enough because if Dean did that any harder, he was going to break a couple. This was helping Sam, he reminded himself.

This was a fucked-up way to fight a demon. Moloch recovered fast and pushed so hard that Dean slipped off his foot. Another twist and Moloch would be free, and that could not happen.

Dean didn’t see what happened. He just felt something like a hood of water close over them and then yank them in, and then he was too busy moving to avoid landing head-first that he didn’t notice he was underneath. By the time he did, it couldn’t be helped because John and somebody else were chanting Latin above them and Sam needed to stay underwater. He couldn’t do as much to Dean that way and if they did it long enough, it’d force Moloch out of Sam. If they did it too long…

Sam’s wings were still out and though they were restrained by the small space, they still could make life really hard for Dean. He hooked his good arm around one and got a mouthful of soggy feathers plus a noseful of water for his troubles. No good snorting out the water, because if he was distracted at all, that’d give Moloch a chance to make a break for it. Just had to let it burn into his lungs.

Though by the time it got there, it wasn’t so much a burn as a slow, insistent itch. Kind of numbing, actually. It almost made him want to open his mouth. Which would be a bad thing, and ow, somebody was hitting him. Ow. Ow.


Okay, game over. Curiously relieved, Dean opened his mouth. There was a pause, and then a fierce uprush that just carried him along.

It was kind of nice to not have to do anything for once. He could just lie in place and think about how disgusting L. A. water tasted till suddenly he had air being forced into his mouth. Tasted like cigarettes. Gross.

“Dean. Oh, my God. You’re okay.” Somebody squeezed Dean’s arm and wouldn’t let go.

“Sam, if I turn around and you’ve still got freaky eyes, we’ve seriously got to talk. Actually, we need to talk period because I’m—” Being kissed. The nicotine taste was still there, but it was better this time. Sort of. Not enough to keep Dean from remembering Sam and God knows who else was there watching.

The somebody on Dean’s arm choked a little. “Hey! He’s breathing already!”

“Yeah, yeah. Look, if I have to get plowed into by a ten-foot water-spout, I’d better get something for it,” John said. “Jesus, Dean. You couldn’t have watched where you were putting all that water?”

Dean slapped at him, then rolled over so he could spit out a mouthful of water. Somewhere along the line, they’d all moved to the floor. They were all really wet, too—down to Midnite squatting on John’s other side, nursing some nasty cuts on his face, and Balthazar scowling from the doorway. Balthazar was still a girl, Dean idly noted. Bad idea to wear that white blouse…well, from Balthazar’s perspective, anyway. “Did we get him?”

Sam looked at John, too. John hesitated, then moved his shoulders. He didn’t exactly look triumphant, but he wasn’t depressed, either. “Midnite destroyed Moloch’s human body while Moloch was in Sam. So he’s a lot weaker. It’d be hard for him to find another one he can really use; he can’t just possess people for too long without their bodies breaking down.”

“But he’s still out there,” Sam said. His hand was cutting off the circulation in Dean’s arm again. “And after us.”

“Yeah.” John actually looked a little sorry for them.

“Noncorporeally,” Dean muttered. He dug up a smile from somewhere and weakly hit Sam on the shoulder. Later on he was going to be mad as hell at Sam, but for the moment, he just wanted to be relieved. “Can’t say I’m too disappointed. I want that son of a bitch myself.”

One corner of Sam’s mouth went up, but the rest of it stayed moody. He dug his fingers into Dean’s arm again. “Yeah. Yeah. We’ll do that.”


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