Darkness came more easily after that. Not all of them had escaped it. Not all of them had Mary Winchester. Dean would shudder, thinking of a life with John, the bad man who had beaten his mother. Sam could see it, and he didn’t let on often but he was often even more scared than Dean. And so maybe it was no surprise they had Ava in their fold, now, but Andy and his brother Ansem were worse.
When reaching everyone with their minds, there was often no escape. No escape from Ansem, and no escape from Andy being Ansem’s brother, and the filth they could feel rising off the entire situation. Not anything they could put in words, but Ansem brought them fear.
He had taken the gift and turned it, twisted it. They had not found everyone fast enough, they had failed at work they knew they should be doing (as bright as fire) but they had not moved at the right pace.
Ansem’s soul was bright but his energy was dark, thick with scum and darkness.
And it was Andy who killed him, because he could feel him, feel him twisting inside his gift like a snake drunk on his own poison.
The weight of the group rallied behind Andy as he worked, ridding the group of the snake before it could poison them. Dean was sometimes the strongest whisper of the group inside Andy’s head, something the others said too. It probably had to do with Dean’s quiet times.
And so they listened and watched and waited, and Andy felt their support from afar, even the ones he didn’t have names for yet.
The death happened out by a lake, where Andy had tracked Ansem to, and found the bodies because Ansem knew where they were. And so Andy had dispatched him, swiftly, and the others, they had no choice but to pull him in--he was one of them.
It was a danger but one they had to take on.
Andy’s energy sat next to Ava’s, mixed with it, and Lily would pull away, mentally, from the one who had come looking for Sam.
Sam, Andy, Ava, they all had a thing in common, and it hadn’t touched the others, not in the same way.
Maybe Sam and Dean were holding it at bay.
Maybe that was it.
Ava woke screaming, some nights, so close to it, so near to the feeling of murder.
The others felt themselves unsure how to act or what to do. But they would need a plan. They would need to begin to understand what they were and even how to be.
It was Sam who began to work on it in earnest, Sam who had dealt directly with it for the longest.
Some of the kids, even Jake when he showed up, and others, came looking for Sam, and Sam being Sam felt responsible for the emotional well-being of the cell.
That was what they had begun to call it, the cell.
It was maybe a bit clinical.
It had come from Andy. And they had kept it.
They feared him and what he had done, but they feared Ansem and poison worse.
And Jake, Jake had come to Sam on his own shortly after Andy, showing up on the doorstep and just weeping, weeping. And then he had seen Sam, zeroed in, shook it off.
It was all right. By the time Jake had reached them, he was and they were ready.
Another little one making it home.
Mary welcomed him with open arms. It was what she knew how to do, and something they had offered to Andy too.
The cell. By now she was well familiar with it, and love was what she had to give.
The Winchester-Campbells had come from murderous stock and it was a fate Mary knew well.
Darkness and all, they settled together.
Sam brought the idea of a plan to her, and with a sigh she nodded and got to work.