Dean sighed and tossed his magazine aside. What the hell did he care about American Idol, anyway? Sam and Jayme were still out getting lunch and there was nothing to do. His gaze fell on her bag, which was half-open on the bed. Maybe her sword—their blades needed sharpening, right?
He got up, reaching for the handle. His fingers brushed something else and he lifted the flap, staring at the ornate copper pendant on its corded string. In the center of the twisting design was a small, flat green jewel. He lifted it for a closer look, his fingertip touching its surface, which wasn’t shiny, but smooth and almost soft to the touch.
He could swear he’d seen it before. It was familiar, like a well-worn jacket.
All at once a memory came back; sitting on a soft lap, a gentle voice telling him the story of the pendant but all he could do was stare at it and stroke that gem, watching the pale green shimmer under his touch . . .
“Holy shit!” he cried just as the door opened, admitting Sam, Jayme, and several large bags of food.
“What’s that?” Sam asked as he set down his burden.
Dean turned to face his brother. “I think . . . we met Jayme’s mom before. Like way before.”
“What are you talking about?” Jayme asked.
Dean held up Delphinar’s pendant. “I remember this.”
“Dean, were you going through her stuff?” Sam said, glaring at his brother.
Dean blinked, then looked at Jayme. “No! I mean yeah. I mean I was just—”
“It’s okay, Dean,” she said. “I’ll just remember to put a live rat trap in there from now on.”
Sam couldn’t help smiling at that.
“I was just—”
“Dean, it’s okay,” Jayme said, touching his arm.
Sam nodded. “I bet he was looking for something to sharpen.”
Jayme picked up the nahya sticking halfway out. “Right in one.”
“Yeah, this just kinda came out,” Dean said, handing it back.
“Dean, maybe you knew someone with the same pendant,” Sam said, pulling the food out.
“I did. She babysat us.”
Sam looked at Jayme, who was standing rooted to the spot, staring at them. “Jayme? What’s wrong?”
Dean looked up, eyes huge in concern.
“Sam, this was made on Katarin. There aren’t any like it on Earth. The stone is a sannasahra—they only come from the riverbeds on the southern continent.”
“So . . . ” Dean said.
“That explains how he knew about us.”
“But I didn’t know about her being a neromancer.”
“Dean, how old were you? Five? Six?” Sam said.
“Six . . . I think?”
“And you never realized it the whole time we were with her?”
“No. I mean, there was something familiar about her and all, and I was gonna ask, but then Rolan was trying to wishbone me and it kinda got pushed aside.”
“She never told me she knew any humans that closely. Your father would never have left you with her if he didn’t trust her.”
“And Dad doesn’t trust anyone very easily,” Sam mused.
Jayme looked at them. “This changes everything.”
“It does?” they chorused.
“If your father and Ahma knew each other . . . then what else don’t we know?”
“How would we find out?” Sam asked.
“Dad,” Dean said.
Sam nodded. “Again—how would we find out?”
Jayme pulled out a small device from her pocket, one they had learned was only disguised to look like a cell phone. She opened it, holding it to her mouth and speaking in her native tongue for a few moments.
“They’re pulling it up,” she said once she’d gotten a response.
“Pulling what up?” Dean asked.
“Ahma’s reports from 1985,” she said. “Any references to human children and or your names.”
The device beeped a few minutes later. “That’s all of them. Looks like there are a few entries that mention you specifically,” she said, smiling.
Sam and Dean exchanged incredulous looks. “What do they say?” Dean asked.
I realize that this report was supposed to be a continuation of my prior narrative regarding the unusual reading habits of humans, but something has occurred in the interim that has placed the conclusion on hold.
A year or so ago I met a human named John Winchester. I was working in a different library then, and he came in asking for some obscure books on the town's history, relating in large part to werewolves; creatures of human mythology, many of whose characteristics come from one of our few failures at keeping our other forms secret. I helped him find the materials he sought, keeping close to him, since werewolf sightings usually signal Dominator activity. After a time I began to believe that his interest was not just academic, but that he believed in the creatures he wanted information on—not that they are neromancers, but that these creatures do exist apart from us. That intrigued me even more—humans are beings who are both highly superstitious, willing often to believe in the mystical and supernatural before rational explanations, and highly, overwhelmingly imaginative. That is when he learned the truth about me, the details of which I have laid out before. Despite his admission of his line of work—hunting not just werewolves but creatures who pose a threat to humans—it did not require much effort to convince him of my benign intentions.
Which leads me to last night. He called late in the evening, apologizing for the short notice but that he required a rather large favor. I said that if it were in my power to grant, I would.
“Would you watch my boys for a few days?”
At first I was surprised that he had children. Then I remembered when we first met in the library, and a small, sad-looking young boy, but I hadn’t been aware that there was more than one. “Ordinarily I’d never ask,” he said, “but I don’t have time to get them to anyone else I trust and they’re still too young to leave alone.”
“How old are they?”
“Six and two,” he said.
I gave him my address. “Bring them. Just one thing—why me? You are hardly the most trusting person I’ve ever met.”
He was silent for a long while. “Because you’re a parent, and they’re safer with you than almost anyone else.”
This at least was the truth.