It was a quiet morning in the small town. Barely anyone was out in the streets at 7 AM yet, which was why a black Chevy Impala was noticed as it cruised towards the nearest diner.
Dean was not in a good mood though. He was not an early riser---that was more Sam’s thing---but it was his turn to get breakfast. They were in between hunts now, which was a good time for them. Time to rest up, stock up on supplies, and maybe even have a good time at the local bar, which Dean was looking forward to. Maybe he could hook up with a pretty waitress, which would mean something good coming out of this trip afterall, along with the food. He just hoped he wouldn’t have to wait too long for the food. He didn’t want to be away too long, even though he left a note in case Sam woke up before he got back.
The diner was, much to his relief, not too crowded. Probably most were still soundly sleeping at home, like normal people, Dean noted as he sat down at one of the tables to wait for some service. At least he didn’t have to wait too long.
The waitress coming out to take his order was a pretty brunette. "What can I get you sweetheart?” she asked. Her nametag read Shannon.
"Some scrambled eggs, bacon and sausages and coffe and can I have it as a take out?” Dean gave her one of his killer smiles. Maybe he was getting lucky enough to get a date tonight.
"Sure thing.” She blushed while scibbling down his order and left.
That’s when the static hit, so sudden that it made Dean almost jump in his seat. Dean groaned. Not now. Always at the worst possible times, he thought. The noise was punctuated by talking, or rather murmuring, he couldn’t really make out any distinct words. It was as if someone turned on a TV with a very bad reception. Eventually, while concentating hard, he was able to make out what was said.
The words still sounded far away and disorted, like they were being spoken inside a can with the lid on. More voices joined in and it was impossible to make out anything for a whie. But the voices sounded agitated. Nervous, like something was about to happen.
"Demons have been visiting him. They want him to join.”
Dean could hear the voices clearly now, so vivid and loud that they made him actually jump. The phrase was said by a male voice, sounding older.
"He is still in Limbo, right?” Another voice asked.
"Yes, and I think we need to talk to him.” Came the answer.
"It’s not in our hands, Bob should be the one talking to him.”As suddenly as it begun, it was over, the voices cut off and Dean was left there, blinking and confused. Whatever this was, it wasn’t good. He moved to get up, all thoughts of breakfast and the hot waitress forgotten, but a voice stopped him.
"Hey! Your order is ready. Are you ok?” It was the waitress from before.
"Yeah, yeah, just better hurry before my brother wakes up.” Dean said grabbing the bags and paying for the order, leaving the waitress staring after him.
He needed to get back to the motel room and tell Sam what happened. If he'd heard right, a spirit of a hunter was in limbo and demons were trying to turn him and Bob was involved in some way. He left the diner in a hurry, not bothering to care about the weird looks he was getting or the speed limits as he drove back to the motel. He could feel this was something big. Which ever way one looked at it, demons getting a hunter on their side was never good.
The room was empty by the time he got back, but he could hear the shower running, which meant Sam had gotten up. All the better. He would have hated waking his brother up and having to deal with a cranky Sam all day.
"Hey,” Dean yelled over the sounds of water running. "Got breakfast and we need to talk.” He said hurriedly as a way of greeting.
" I'll be out in a minute,” came the answer and Dean could hear the water being shut off. He unpacked the food and the coffee, placing it on the table as he turned on the laptop.
A few minutes later, Sam walked out, already dressed and toweling his hair dry. Dean was already researching, his breakfast already half eaten by his side.
" What is it?” Sam asked sitting down at the table. Dean sounded serious.
" Have you heard of hunters working with angels?” Dean asked.
Sam scratched his head."Except you tuning in to angels radio? No, but I guess it’s possible,” he said. "Why do you ask?”
" Apparently, there is some hunter's spirit stuck in limbo and demons want him and angels aren’t too happy about it. Oh, and Bob has something to do with it.” Dean filled his brother in quickly.
Sam looked surprised. "How do you know that?”
" Heard it on the before mentioned ’radio’ when I was getting food in the diner. Worst timing possible, I tell ya.”
"Ok, what exactly did you hear?” Sam asked, still trying to make sense of what he just heard.
"What I told you. Nothing more than that, not even a name.” Dean said frustrated. "How are we supposed to help this dude if we don’t even know his name? And I am not getting anything from here.” He motioned to the laptop.
"We could ask Bob.” Sam suggested. ”I mean, he was the one involved with him.”
"It’s worth a shot.” Dean agreed. Bob was their best source of information, providing he told them what this was about. Demons getting a hunter on their side was never good and in times like these, it would be a disaster. Every card they held could be laid on the table and they'd probably be scewed over with their own tricks. "But we’ve never summoned an angel before,” he continued.
"There has to be some lore about it somewhere.” Sam said. "Maybe we should call Bobby on this, he might know the guy,” he pondered, deep in thought.
"Maybe, but Bob seemed the one involved with how he got banished to limbo, so I say we ask him first.” Dean said. Then he motioned for Sam.
"Why don’t you put your geek-fu to use and see what we can find on ange calling rituals?” Standing up, Dean freed the chair for Sam
"Right.” Sam said settling down in front of the laptop. With that the research started. Their break was over; they were officially on a hunt.
Dean came back from his run to the store to find Sam still in front of his laptop. They found a ritual that worked, but they needed to get a few things first.
”Hey, did you get everything?” Sam asked, looking up from his computer.
”Yes, we have everything, but next time you are doing the shopping run.” Dean stated. ”You are the one old ladies have a soft spot for.” He grumbled while putting down everything on the table.
”So, are you sure this is going to work?” Dean said looking a little skeptically at the laptop screen with the ritual.
”It’s the best I could find.” Sam said, then sighed.
”What is it?” Dean asked, knowing something was bothering his brother. Sam had looked uneasy all morning.
”Nothing, it’s just that I’m not sure about this. I mean this is not something I imagined an angel would do. Putting someone in limbo for eternity is cruel.” Sam said, sounding unsure of himself. He had never seen this side of the angels before and certainly not with Bob. Angels were supposed to be merciful creatures. It was part of why he had faith. Faith that they would see the good in him despite his demon blood. Now he wasn’t so sure and that scared him.
”Whoa, whoa, hold on a minute, you were the one insisting we do this and now you’re backing off?” Dean asked incredoulus. This was not like Sam.
”No, I am just not sure if we should do this. Or if we can trust the angels with this.” He said finally.
”You mean you think Bob would lie? Angels don’t lie, that’s something a demon does.” Dean said surprised at his brothers answer. But this wasn’t why his brother was hesitating and he knew it.
”Maybe not. But think about how many times demons told the truth,” Sam pointed out.
And Dean knew he had a point there. Demons loved to taunt with the thruth when they knew it hurt more. But that brought back images and memories from a certain cabin and a certain demon he would rather not dwell on, especially right now.
”Look, we don’t know what happened exactly, why they did this, so let’s not jump into conclusions here, ok? Bob is the only one who can tell us what is this about, so let’s ask him first.” Dean said finally. He had a feeling there was more to this and he needed to know what.
Sam nodded reluctantly and stood up to clean the table for the ritual. ”All right, let’s do it,” he said finally.
Twenty minutes of preparations later, the boys stood in the room ready to summon Bob. They had cleared the table and moved the furniture to make space. Sam had printed out the instructions and the spell.
It was simple: say the spell and after finishing, burn the herbs with the candles placed out. Sam volunteered to say the spell and Dean dropped the herbs into the flames. So far, so good, Dean thought as he waited for Sam’s Latin to finish. Finally, the spell ended. The brothers looked up, waiting for Bob to appear.
But nothing happened. No Bob, not even a gust of wind in the room. It was quiet.
”Are you sure this is the right spell?” Dean asked. They had done everything as the paper Sam printed said.
”Maybe we forgot something,” Sam said looking at the paper.
Dean went over to take a look himself, which was when they heard the unmistakable sound of flapping wings. They looked up to see Bob standing in the middle of the room and he didn’t look very pleased about having been summoned.
”I take it you have a good reason for practically kidnapping me from a very important meeting.” He said, evenly but glaring at them.
”Actually, yes, we wanted to talk to you about something very important.” Dean spoke up. ”About a certain spirit stuck in limbo, who is wanted by demons.” He continued before Bob could speak.
Bob blanched at that. This was exactly what he had wanted to avoid, to have the Winchesters involved in this.
”I can’t talk to you about that.” He said simply, trying to avoid the subject.
”Why not?” Sam asked, confused. Surely the angels didn’t want a hunter on the demonss side.
”Because you can’t get involved in this,” Bob stated, hoping the brothers would understand.
”Too late. We already know about the spirit, we know he was a hunter and demons want them on their side and we know that you were involved with him some way, so you might as well start sharing,” Dean said, using his authoritive voice.
Bob looked actually scared for the first time since they met him. ”You can’t interfere. It has nothing to do with you!” He was more forecul this time, hoping to get his point across. This had nothing to do with the Winchesters.
”But Bob, this is big. It’s the Apocalypse and we need all the help we can get and you are willing to let a hunter going over to demons?” Sam asked looking incredoulus. ”Look, we just want to help,” he said more softly.
”I know, but…” Bob started.
”Then why don’t you let us?” Dean asked, interrupting him.
”Trust me, it’s for your own good,” Bob stated with a hint of finality in his voice.
”At least tell us what happened,” Sam pleaded. ”What did he do to deserve beeing in limbo?”
”I can’t tell that and it was not just my decision anyway.” Bob said. Then he turned to leave. ”Sorry, I need to go. Like I said, I was in the middle of an important meeting.”
”Wait! At least tell us his name,” Sam spoke up.
Bob turned back to look at him. ”Patrick O’Brian. Sorry, but I really can’t tell you more.” With that, he disappeared as suddenly as he had come.
The brothers shared a look.
”Well, that went well,” Dean mumbled under his breath as he went over to the table to pack up before the motel staff saw the rearranged room.
”At least we have a name now. We know who he is,” Sam pointed out. ”We can ask Bobby if he knew him.”
”I will call him. You could try and see if we can summon the spirit. Or at least find out more about what happened to the guy,” Dean conceded.
”All right. I will try to see if there is something about him online,” Sam said. It was worth a shot; maybe the hunter was in some articles or he was reported as a missing person. Dean nodded in acknowledgement as he went out the door to phone while Sam booted up the laptop again.
Bobby picked up his phone after the first ring.
”What is it?” Came his voice over the line.
”Hey listen, Bobby, did you happen to know a hunter named Patrick O’Brian?” Dean asked, cutting straight to the point.
”Yeah, I knew him. But he has been dead for years. What about him?” Bobby asked.
”Yeah, I know he is dead. But apparently he is in limbo, ’cause angels put him in there and demons are trying to get him on their side.” Dean answered in a rush.
Bobby felt uneasy on the other end of the line. For once, he was glad Dean couldn’t see his face. He knew something bad happened to Patrick then and hearing it confirmed, especially now, was making him even more nervous.
”How do you know that?” he asked Dean.
”I heard it. From the angels.”
Bobby could hear Dean’s uneasiness through the phone. His angel radio was a touchy subject. Even with Bobby, despite knowing the older man wouldn’t tell a soul.
”And then we summoned Bob. He wasn’t very talkative, though, barely gave us the hunter’s name. And we thought you might know about the guy.” Dean finished his tale.
Bobby sighed. These two sure knew how to find trouble.
”And what are you planning on doing? Busting him out of limbo? That’s not going to be a cakewalk,” he. That was true, no one got to limbo and came back to tell about it.
”That’s the plan, yeah, but first we want to try and summon him,” Dean told him.
”That’s not easy, either. But I think I have more about this in my library. How far are you from here?” he asked.
Dean looked in the general direction of the town. They weren’t far from Bobby. ”We can make it in a few hours,” he said finally, after doing a mental claculation of the distance.
”Good, I will look through my books and will expect you two.” Bobby said and ended the call.
Dean headed back to the room to see what Sam had found. He was sure his geek of a brother found something on that Patrick guy. Just as he’d expected, his brother was sitting at his laptop fully engrossed in his research. But he looked up when he heard the door open.
”So, how did the call go?” Sam asked curiously.
”Bobby will be waiting for us. He did know our guy and he said he’ll look into his library for a ritual to summon him,” Dean said. ”And did you find anything?”
”As a matter of fact I did. But not much,” Sam answered. ”He died in an explosion, according to a police report. And his family was killed under strange circumstances. According to an article, he was almost charged for their murders. Both cases had gotten closed ages ago. And no rituals to summon him that I could find. But summoning a spirit straight from limbo is not that common,” he sighed.
”That’s not much, but it’s a starting point. Now pack up. I want to start as soon as we can, ’cause I promised Bobby we would be there in a few hours. You can continue your research in the car. So hurry up, Samantha.”
Sam made a face while shutting off the laptop. Dean grinned while starting to pack himself. In about ten minutes, the boys were packed and they pulled out of motel parking lot.
They traveled in silence, punctuated only by whatever rock music Dean was playing. This time, it was Metallica. But it was comfortable. The rumbling of the car and the rock music were the sounds of home to Sam ever since his childhood, so he was used to listening to them while doing research. But he couldn’t find anything he didn’t already know about summoning a spirit from limbo. Or more on Patrick.
He shut the laptop and let out a frustrated sigh. ”There is nothing more out there on how to summon a spirit from limbo or on Patrick we don’t already know,” he said, frustration clear in his voice. He’d hoped to find something that would help that hunter.
Dean looked over at his brother. ”At least now we know he probably died in an explosion and we still have yet to look through Bobby’s books,” he offered as a way to cheer his brother up.
Bobby’s library was like a treasurehouse for a hunter and for a geek like Sam it was heaven. But Sam’s lack of reaction was unnerving. He was staring out at the scenery passing by, not even acknowledging that Dean talked to him. Something was bothering the kid and Dean was going to find out what it was.
”Hey, we are going to help him,” he said to his brother with a little more force then intended.
Sam turned his head towards him again and gave an unconvincing nod. But Dean wasn’t about to complain. He would take what he could get at this point.
”You know, it still makes me wonder, what did he do to deserve this? I mean, angels aren’t putting people in limbo for nothing,” Sam mused aloud. ”Do you think he went, you know, dark side?” he asked suddenly.
”Sam, don’t go jumping to conclusions,” Dean warned. ”We don’t know that,” he said finally. ”Whatever it is, it’s probably not that simple anyway,” he concluded.
Sam sighed and seemed to deflate. Dean hated how this case was messing with Sam’s head already.
”You’re right. When was anything that simple,” Sam muttered.
”At least we never do anything half way.” Dean said, trying to lighten the mood and was rewarded with the corners of Sam’s mouth twitching upward. Small victory, but a victory nonetheless. The brothers settled back into a comfortable silence while the Impala carried them closer and closer to their destination.
When the brothers arrived at Bobby’s, he was already on the porch waiting for them just as he’d said he would be. His expression was a mixture of grim and nervous. He walked up to the car as soon as the brothers had gotten out. He didn’t like the sounds of what he heard. He knew Pat and knew he didn’t have an evil bone in him, to hear that demons wanted him came as a shock to the grizzled hunter. Even with the fact that Pat was never the black-and-white kind of guy. Pat would never go over to the dark side.
”Hey, Bobby,” the brothers greeted him, jolting him out of his thoughts.
”Hey, boys.” Bobby said. ”So, what is this all about?” he asked them.
The boys shared a look before Dean answered him. ”Maybe we should head inside for this Bobby,” he told the older hunter.
He also looked grim and Bobby knew he wasn’t going to like what he was going to hear. ”Well, then, come on in.”
Bobby led the way into the house. He seemed uneasy and that left the boys confused. They followed him into the kitchen, where Bobby told them to sit while he got them all a drink. He had a feeling they would need it.
”So what kind of trouble did you get yourselves into?” he asked when they were settled. The brothers turned to him and Dean began tell his tale, in details this time.