I was trembling as I held Lydia tightly. I could blame it on the Adrenalin wearing off, but that wouldn't be entirely true. When Dick had her trapped on the ground under him, about to devour her, I was terrified that I was about to watch her die. I grabbed her face and started lavishing it with desperate kisses, relief flooding in to replace the fear.
"Um... Chief?," Benny called softly from behind me. I looked back at him and he gave me half a smirk. I think it's time we were goin'. Before we have anymore visitors from Christmas past." I just nodded at him and looked back at Lydia.
"Where is that cabin you stayed at before you got here?" She stared far away, deep in thought.
"Just southwest of Little Rock, in Benton. Off Route 30, on Pinewood Rd. The cabin is the only thing on that road after the blacktop ends and it becomes dirt. Probably 10 miles off the Highway." I wanted to ask her about how she died, but we really didn't have time for long stories. I turned to Benny again and waved him over next to me.
"OK, Brother, time to go," I whispered. Benny was almost bouncing with excitement and I couldn't say that I blamed him. We had been waiting for this moment for so long.
"Almost home, Chief!," Benny said with a smile. He grabbed me around the neck and hugged me tight for a long moment.
"Almost home," I whispered back. My emotions were so intense that I had to blink away the tears that threatened to fall. I bent down before Benny could see my wet eyes and grabbed the pocket knife out of my boot. I wiped the moisture from my eyes before standing up again. I pulled my jacket off, rolled the sleeve of my shirt up passed my elbow, and laid the blade of the knife on the inside of my right arm. "Conjuncti sumus," I began to speak the incantation as I cut into my flesh. "Unum sumus."
"See you on the other side, Brother!," Benny breathed, smiling at me one last time. He grabbed my arm, slapping his palm over the cut. Benny suddenly turned into a stream of red and white lights and was sucked into the wound. Searing pain shot up my arm for a moment before fading into a dull throbbing ache.
"Alright, Sweetheart," I said, turning to Lydia. "It's your turn." I made an identical cut on my other arm and recited the spell again. She looked at the cut and then up at me with trepidation. "It's OK, Babe. We're goin' home!" I gave her a reassuring smile and nodded at her. She just nodded back and grabbed my arm. She jerked me toward her and pressed her lips into mine in a passionate kiss before her body faded out and became that swirling stream of light and disappeared into my arm. I groaned and pressed my hand to the cut as the pain hit me again. I rubbed at the cut gently, caressing it like I would have caressed Lydia's cheek if she were here.
"Well, it's sure has been fun, huh?," Kate said with mock cheerfulness. Her voice shook and the smile faded just after she stop speaking so I knew she didn't mean a word of it. I just held my arms out wide and she ran into them without a second's thought. "Bye, Dean," she croaked, her voice thick with emotion.
"Aww... don't cry kiddo!," I sighed. "You know, if you cry, I will too!" She let out a sad laugh and wiped her noes with the back of her hand as she stepped away from me. "I wish I could bring you back with me, Kate." I stared down at my boots, unable to meet her gaze.
"It's OK, Dean," Kate said softly. "I'm happy where I am. I like helping these people." When I looked up at her, she was staring far away. "And besides, I have no idea where he kept me before I died. I don't know where my body is." I just sighed and looked around at the bodies laying all over the place. I had to change the subject quick. This conversation was getting too depressing.
"Hey! Don't leave these bodies too close to their heads for too long. They'll reattach." Kate just waved away my concern with a scoff.
"It's OK, Dean. I got this." Kate flashed him a wide smile. "Nobody's reattaching anything!" She walked around the bodies, grabbing each head by the hair and stacking them up in a pile off to the side. "Go! Stay safe!"
"You too, Kate", I said in a tone that made her stop what she was doing and look back at him. "And thank you... for everything."
"You're welcome." Her eyes suddenly became serious when she spoke again. "You better be good to her, Dean! Or I'll come back there and rip off your important bits! You hear?"
"Yes, ma'am!", I stood up straight and gave her my best military salute before I turned and marched off toward the portal. I could hear her giggling behind me and it made me smile. But then I stopped. "CAS!," I bellowed without turning around. With everything that just happened, I nearly forgot about my other best friend. Cas ran up and stopped next to me and I started walking again.
"How do you know this is going to work?," Cas muttered as we both looked up at the portal sticking out of the side of the rocky slope.
"I don't." I started to climb and Cas reluctantly followed. "But we're gonna find out." As I climbed, I could see the portal flickering like someone was playing with the on/off switch. "Cas! Hurry your feathery ass up, man!" The closer we got, the stronger the sucking wind pulled on us. It was getting hard to keep a grip on the rocks. I turned and grabbed Cas' hand and jerked him up the hill so that he was ahead of me. When he got farther ahead, he turned and pulled me up so that I was in front of him. We did this back and forth several times until we were both standing in front of the ever shrinking portal.
"GO, DEAN!," Cas yelled over the howling wind, shoving me forward.
"NO WAY, MAN!" I grabbed his hand and looked back at the portal. "WE'RE DOING THIS TOGETHER!" And I stepped forward into the blue, swirling vortex, pulling the angel along with me. In a flash we were gone. Being yanked violently through space, time, and whatever else was out there. I landed hard on my ass and my tailbone screamed at me in agony. I fell over backward and rolled on my side, groaning, and saw Cas laying flat on his back a few feet away.
"Cas," I moaned. "You OK, man?" His eyes suddenly went wide and he gasped for air like he's gotten the wind knocked out of him. He exhaled and it came out as a long string of racking coughs.
"Yes...Dean," Cas wheezed. Another coughing fit hit him and he rolled on his side, facing me. "I'm... fine." I looked around and noticed that we were in a thick forest and it was dark. If it wasn't for the moon shining above, it would be pitch black out here.
"Can you tell where we are?," I asked, getting to my feet. I walked over and helped Cas stand up and he looked around for a long moment, getting his bearings.
"I believe we are in the 100-mile Wilderness in Maine." He pointed off to his left as he spoke again. "The nearest road is about 10 miles that way." I could feel the souls trapped in my arms moving like they were eager to break free. Especially the one in my right arm. Benny was very impatient. I pressed down on the glowing spot, trying to get Benny to be still and curb the sting.
"Let's get the hell outta here and get down to Louisiana before Benny busts loose all on his own!," I grumbled, bending down to pick up my trusty axe, and stalking off in the direction that Cas had pointed. I tried to ignore Benny's incessant writhing by focusing on Lydia. As I walked, I ran my fingers gently over the skin hiding Lydia's soul inside me. It helped to dull the throbbing pain of Benny's soul straining to break free. But dwelling on her brought a whole new set of problems to the surface.
I could almost feel her emotions. The mix of fear and excitement made me shutter and my Alpha switched on. The agitation only drove me to move faster. I hated not having her in my arms. To Not be able to sooth her worries and fears. My only comfort came from the fact that she was safe. I had to keep reminding myself that we would be together soon and this separation was only temporary.
"Just hold on, Baby," I whispered as I continued to stroke my arm. "Not long now."