The headquarters of Niveus Pharmaceuticals appeared, at face value, to be a stereotypical corporate building. The average Joe would never have guessed it was run by demons, of course when you consider the behaviors of a lot of corporate executives, demons fit right it. At least that was Sam’s thought as the glass and steel building appeared in front of his eyes, though in reality it was he who had appeared—with some angelic transportation provided by a deceptively Californian blonde, cheerleader looking Michael. The fact that their atypical arrival wasn’t even noted by the corporate drones milling about the streets that were home to clusters of high rises that included Niveus was a bit puzzling. Even those without the knowledge of the supernatural should have noticed.
“There is a field surrounding the area that lessens the awareness of anything out of the ordinary,” Michael explained, having noted the look on Sam’s face and correctly interpreted it. “I landed at the edge of the field, instead of inside the building, because I was unsure if there were any other wards—particularly those that can inhibit angels.”
Sam nodded in understanding. “Are there any?”
Michael turned her head this way and that, peering at planes beyond human sight. Finally she answered, “It appears there was an Enochian ward against angels at one time, but it is no longer in effect. Most likely it was broken because they did not wish to offend my brother when he was released.”
The hunter shifted uncomfortably at the slight reminder that for all his evil Lucifer was still an angel. “Well that’s good for us, right? We can take the fast way in,” Sam said, eager to get his hands on the demon that he had thought was his friend.
“We do not know where this Brady is in the building, if he is in fact in there. I can sense dozens of demons throughout the building,” Michael pointed out.
“Since he is the CEO, his office will be on one of the upper floors. So we will start at the top and work our way down if necessary,” Sam reasoned. He paused as a thought occurred to him about the plan. “We need a way to keep him from escaping from his human body.”
Michael waved off the problem. “I can seal a demon into a body as easily as I can exercise one out of,” she assured him. Radiant eyes gave the skyscraper another considering look. “I believe there is an empty room on the top floor I can set us down in.”
After double checking to make sure that the demon killing knife was strapped to his side, hidden beneath his bulky flannel shirt, Sam told her he was ready. Michael nodded in acquiesce, gripped his arm firmly before transporting them into the building that housed Niveus Pharmaceuticals.
They reappeared in a laboratory clustered with medical equipment. Sam quickly looked around for any personnel, but fortunately Michael had been right about the place being deserted. Besides the archangel and hunter, the only living occupant of the space was a test monkey in a plastic cage.
Upon seeing the new arrivals, the monkey went spastic—throwing itself against its cage, shrieking with an ascending pitch. Fearing the noise would be heard; Sam attempted to sooth the simian. “Nice monkey, it’s okay. Good monkey.” The monkey just kept on, frantic to reach the intruders.
Michael’s only reaction had been to frown and narrow her eyes at the psychotic little beast. Giving up on trying to calm the animal down, Sam turned to the stoic archangel and urgently said, “Do something before someone comes to investigate why the monkey’s flipped.”
There was no acknowledgement that she had heard him, but Sam knew she had because she walked forward and placed her right hand upon the monkey’s cage. A pinched, sour look appeared on her face and she gave a hiss of distaste, drawing back temporarily before replacing her hand on the glass once more. Without warning a bright red light emitted from the monkey and it burned up into ash without warning.
“Why did you do that?” Sam hissed in shock.
Eyes still bright with Grace, glanced at him. “The animal was infected by what you humans would call the Croatoan Virus,” she explained.
Horror painted his face as Sam remembered the devastation the virus had caused in one small town and what Dean had had encountered in his forced trip to the future courtesy of Zachariah. “We knew that releasing the virus was part of Lucifer’s end game, but I didn’t think he would start so soon,” Sam said, after explaining everything the Winchester’s knew about the Croatoan virus.
“Finding out how far the virus has been spread will be another piece of information to be extracted from the demon Brady,” Michael concluded.
“Hopefully not very far,” Sam said. He sent out a silent prayer that they’d stop the virus before it got out to the global population. Even though he knew God was leaving the Apocalypse issue in His children’s hands and refused to directly interfere, Sam had hope that He would still help out in subtle ways.
A quick look from Michael let him know that the archangel had heard the prayer. “I will do my best to stop it,” she promised.
The seriousness of her expression gave credit so her sincerity. If Dean had been there he would have called it a chick flick moment as Sam gave a brilliant smile.
The aforementioned older brother strode into the demon infested diner like he was the cowboy protagonist in an old Western walking into an outlaw infested cantina. The Clint Eastwood aura was broken when he shouted in his best Ricky Ricardo voice, “Fammy, I’m home!” Not the best entrance, but Dean was successful in drawing the diner’s occupants’ attention.
The first impression Dean had of the Horseman of the Apocalypse, Famine, was of a frail, ancient man in a wheelchair. Surrounded as he was by his Demons-in-Black goons gave even more credence to the illusion, that was until he spoke. “Dean Winchester,” Famine said, sounding surprised, “just what are you doing here?” He gave the bald-headed demon that the angel/hunter group had followed a sharp look when Dean gave a quick glance at the demon. “I see,” Famine sighed, “good minions are so hard to find.” The Horseman glared at the demon and made a gripping motion.
The bald demon started convulsing and black smoke poured out of his mouth, which Famine sucked in like he was taking a deep breath of fresh air. As soon as the smoke escaped the bald man, the body collapsed in a limp heap.
After watching Famine eat the demon-for what else could that have been-Dean felt a bit intimidated. The steady presence of Castiel watching his back gave him confidence to work through his fear long enough to give Famine a brave look.
A curious expression appeared on the Horseman’s face. “How odd,” he stated. “The angel’s connection to Heaven makes him immune to my power, but you should be overcome by hunger—I can’t even sense a stirring, you’re just a black hole of nothing.”
Famine’s remark brought to the surface Dean’s fears that he didn’t come back from Hell right. A brief glimpse of red hair brought him out of his funk. “Yeah, well at least I’m still pretty,” he said weakly, trying to keep the attention on him.
The supernatural being gave a snort in response. “Hardly worth my attention,” he scoffed. “Now your brother on the hand…tell me where is dear Sammy?”
It was obvious to Dean that Famine was hoping to cause Sam to fall back into his demon blood habit, most likely to make him vulnerable to Lucifer’s influence.
He could see Gabriel just out of the demon brigade’s sight, the archangel signaling they were ready. Stealthily, one hand crept towards where he had tucked the Colt. A deep breath later, green eyes hardening, Dean told the Horsemen, “You’re not touching my brother.” The Colt was drawn, Dean aiming for the demon’s first. Behind him, Castiel exploded into action, targeting another of the black suit contingent. Gabriel and Anna joined the fight before Team Famine knew what had hit them.
Several flashes of light later, Famine was the only enemy left standing—relatively speaking. The Horseman’s lips pursed into an angry grimace, as Dean taunted, “Am I worthy of your attention now?”
Gabriel opened his mouth, probably to join in on the taunting, but was cut off by Anna, who said, “Enough of this,” and promptly used her angel sword to cut off the fingers on Famine’s right hand. The goal was to separate the Horseman from the ring that contained his power.
As the ring-and the finger it was on-was separated from him, Famine let out a cry and vanished, leaving an empty wheelchair behind. The soft ping of the ring the final lament to that Horseman of the Apocalypse. Silence reigned as the four digested their victory.
Gazing around the diner, noting the dead patrons that had been Famine’s last human victims, the triumph seemed bittersweet to Dean. He reached for the ring and pocketed it quickly. “That’s three down,” he said, forcing himself to sound unmoved by the murderous scene. From the knowing looks he was getting from the angels, he wasn’t very successful.
“Right-e-o,” Gabriel piped up in his energetic voice, trying to break the depressive atmosphere. “Let’s head back to Singer’s, this place is totally ruining my appetite.”
Anna gave him a dirty look and the classic sibling slap upside the head. “Like you need any more sugar,” she sniffed. Gabriel glared back before giving a sly smile and snapping his fingers—Anna found herself the recipient of a caramel and chocolate sauce downpour.
The red-haired angel shrieked in outrage and instead of using her powers gave a rather human reaction of lunging for her older brother’s throat. Laughing, Gabriel danced out of her way. “That’s a good look on you, sis,” he taunted before flying away from the scene of the crime, leaving Castiel and Dean to deal with the fuming female angel.
Seeing the red-head looking like someone from one of his more intimate dreams, Dean couldn’t help but give a smirk, the depression he’d felt gone.
Seeing the appreciative look, Anna jabbed a finger at him. “Not-one-word,” she growled.
Dean’s smirk grew into a wide grin. Anna gave another growl and disappeared in a huff.
“Better take us back to Bobby’s,” Dean said to Castiel. “Before she kills Gabe—not that’d be a bad thing.”
A sigh escaped the stoic angel. “I hope Michael has returned and can end Gabriel’s…pranks.”
Dean snorted. “Yeah, you just keep praying that,” he muttered before Castiel transported them away.
It wasn’t hard to locate Brady’s office. It was situated behind imposing oak doors just past a Unitarian furnished waiting room. The doors were guarded by a single female office assistant behind a desk. The secretary was a very severe looking woman that appeared as if she would fit in more as a guard for a woman’s prison than behind a business office desk.
“Demon?” he asked, his voice low so as not to alert the woman.
“Witch,” was Michael’s answer, the word being said with a clear loathing as to make clear to Sam just what the archangel’s opinion was of those who sold their souls for magic.
“Terrific,” he said. If Dean had been there he would have been muttering about how much he hated witches and their obsession with bodily fluids.
“I will negate her powers,” Michael assured him as she sensed his unease.
With that the archangel stepped into the waiting room without further ado. Seeing the blonde, the secretary plastered on a fake smile that didn’t help to lessen the sharpness of her features. “May I help you?” her voice was just as harsh as her looks even though her pitch was a weak attempt at sounding friendly.
Sam stepped into view and gave her his best “trust me” look he had. “We’re here to see Brady.”
The witch raised her eyebrows at the familiar use of a first name. “Do you have an appointment?” she asked, her tone making it obvious she knew the answer.
“No, but we’re old friends from college. Just tell Brady that Sam Winchester is here to see him.”
Recognition flared on her face at his name, the witch tried to leap to her feet but Michael was suddenly before her, two fingers pressing against her forehead. The witch slumped into her chair as she fell unconscious beneath the archangel’s spell.
The witch’s danger mitigated, Sam walked to the closed doors. Every step tense as the anger he felt for the being behind them flared to the surface. Michael was close behind him, murmuring gently in his ear, “Remember we need the demon alive.”
“Then how do you want to work this?”
The blonde tilted her head in thought before answering, “Go in first and distract him, I will use the advantage of surprise to use my Grace to bind him. Then we will return to Singer’s with our prisoner.”
“Fine,” he agreed, it wasn’t like he had any better ideas. He took a deep breath to center himself. “Let’s go.”