Jon sighed as he dropped his duffel bag onto the bed of his motel room for the night. And the night after. He arrived about an hour earlier by bus, only to realize that the next bus he needed to get where he wanted to go wouldn’t arrive for another two days because there was ‘something wrong with the Bus’. Nobody would tell him what exactly was wrong or why they couldn’t just use a different bus and at this point Jon was simply to exhausted to argue. Which meant that he got to spend those two days at this motel, wandering from his room to the adjoining diner and back and hoping, that he wouldn’t get statement withdrawal just yet. At this point he was just tired of travel all together.
Ugh, he wanted to sleep.
In the end his grumbling stomach won out over his screaming back and Jon dragged himself to the diner, head hanging low, shoulders drawn up and cautiously glancing around, still not sure no one was following him. The walk of all but 20 Yards felt much longer and took him probably twice the amount of time it normally would have, but he needed to eat. In fact, he hadn’t eaten since he boarded the bus this morning. Seemed like he forgot to again. That was really something Jon needed to work on.
The diner itself looked like every other he had seen the inside of since arriving in the US. Relatively clean, small booths with tables bolted to the ground and seats that are just the right kind of soft to make sitting in them for more than one hour really uncomfortable and a counter, behind of which a middle-aged woman was keeping watch both over the tables and, trough a wide window, the kitchen. Only one other person was there at the moment, a nondescript man sitting at the counter, back hunched over a cup of coffee.
Reluctantly Jon chose the booth farthest away from the door and sat down, the plastic upholstery of the seat squeaking beneath his weight. He grimaced slightly.
Jon just wanted to go home!
But, no, he first needed this one other Statement. Just this one and he could book a flight back to London.
Dean opened the door open with way more force than necessary, made five steps into the room and dropped everything he carried where he stood, cursing loudly at anything and nothing at once. He then threw himself face down onto one of the twin beds and screamed into the cover. Sam followed him in, an expression on his face that should probably be a placating smile, but actuality just looked tired.
“I’m gonna call Bobby” Sam’s voice was as tired as he looked.
Still on the bed Dean paid only half a mind to Sam’s conversation.
“Yeah, we kinda need your help
“No, nothing like that, it’s just… You know, we had this case, we told you –
“Yes, that’s the one. Anyway, one of those things had a go at the impala. No clue what exactly it did, Dean said something about string, I don’t know, but we only just made it to a motel and now it isn’t doing anything.
“Normally, yeah, he would, but we’re kinda in the middle of nowhere here and you know he would never –
“Yes! Thank you, Bobby. See you then. Bye!”
Sighing, half tired and half relived, Sam sank onto his own bed, rubbing his temples.
“Sooo, Bobby’s gonna be here as soon as he can, with everything you might need to get her running again, or, failing that, to tow her to the nearest mechanic”, he told Dean who slowly rose back to a sitting position.
“Okay, fine. Kinda sucks, though, being stuck here for that long. Nothing to do, there isn’t even a bar here, just this little Diner”
Sam nodded “Well, at least we got time to look for a case – “ He was interrupted by his brothers groan of “Ugh, research”, threw a glare in Deans direction and continued pointedly “And maybe check in with Cas, see how he is doing, you know, now that we won’t get interrupted.” His look turned smug when he saw Dean fluster slightly at the mention of their angel-companion.
“Fine. Let’s get something to eat though, I’m starving.” Dean said, standing up and searching his bags for his wallet.
They made their way to the relatively empty Diner, sat down and ordered. As they were waiting for their food, Dean let his eyes wander the room, trying to categorize all visible people, watching for possible threats. His eyes caught at the man sitting in the last booth of the Diner, silently eating by himself and looking even more tired than Sam used to do, when one of his vison-nightmares woke him in the middle of the night.
The man was thin, his slightly olive tinted skin seemed ashen and his dark hair was dull, slightly shaggy as if he was overdue for a haircut and graying at the temples, even though he seemed to be Sam’s age. He looked ill and the visible scars, circular dots splattered over the left side of his jaw and neck and one that looked like a stab wound peeking out of his collar, didn’t make it any better. But none of that was what caught Deans attention. Is was the guys eyes, framed by wired glasses and dark. Those eyes were wide awake, attentive and piercing. They seemed unnaturally bright and Dean could swear, that this gaze could cut through anything to get the information it wanted. And those Eyes were fixed on him and his Brother.
When the stranger met Deans gaze, he seemed to blink himself awake, and looked away, eyes now fixed on his own food, and blushed slightly.
“Dean? What are you looking at?”, Sam asked, turning slightly in his set and following Deans gaze. He took the stranger in himself and then turned back to Dean. He was kind of uneasy turning his back to the stranger, now that he had registered him. “Okay, that guy is creepy.”
Jon had a hard time keeping himself from staring at the two men who had just walked into the diner, fixating on his food as to not accidentally look back towards them. He had registered them the moment they opened the door and at first hadn’t known what it was that he found so captivating.
Their outward appearance wasn’t that special, one with blond hair cropped short, one very tall with dark brown shoulder length hair, both with a strong build, wide shoulders and flannel-shirts. They both carried themselves with the kind of easy confidence of one who was sure they could handle themselves and anyone around them, but their traveling gazes spoke of a wariness Jon knew too well.
It took him until the two of them had found a booth and ordered their meal to put a name on the feeling he was getting from watching them. They felt like the people who came to the Institute to give their statement. Or, rather, one specific kind of statement giver. The Kind he had most recently encountered in Julia Montauk and Trevor Herbert.
The Kind that knew what was out there, knew how dangerous it was and would be dammed if they didn’t get it before it got them.
And if Jon wasn’t completely out of his mind – and at this point he wasn’t so sure of that anymore – then both were touched, if not claimed by one of those fear-entities Gerry had told him about.
Jon, for the rest of his meal tried very hard not to look at them, more so after he met the gaze of the blonde, his eyes sharp and calculating, as if trying to asses Jon’s threat level. He hurried to finish eating, pay and leave, feeling the gaze of at least one of those strange men follow him out of the diner.
Only once he closed – and locked – the door of his room was Jon able to breathe freely again. He hoped, deeply, that those two would be gone by the time he next left the meager comfort of these slightly yellowed walls.
He sent an email to Martin, bringing him and the others up to date to his investigation, still not mentioning his run in with Montauk and Herbert, his conversation with Gerry or that he was carrying a page out of a Leitner around with him, and then, finally, retired to bed.
He felt as though he could have slept for days.
The next morning saw Dean sleeping in because “If we have to camp out here with nothing to do, then I can sleep longer than ‘till ass o’clock in the morning, Sam!” and Sam going out for a very early coffee-and breakfast-run and turning in, resigned to a day mostly spent doing research, laptop open on the table before him, with one hand scrawling through various news outlets, his cup of coffee in the other.
Dean, once he made it out of bed, an endeavor significantly helped by the smell of fresh coffee, called Cas on the cellphone the angel still didn’t quite know how to use, only reaching the voicemail and leaving a message they both were almost completely sure Cas wouldn’t know how to check. He vaguely planned on trying again later, maybe shooting Cas the occasional unhurried prayer and hoping he would show himself. Then, with nothing better to do he set out to clean all their weapons – If they were going to sit around all day he might as well do something that could better their chances of survival on their next hunt.
Which turned out to be a very good Idea, because when he went to get the weapons duffel from the Impala, he found himself staring at a trunk filled with cobwebs.
Perplexed he cast a look around the parking lot, now not as empty as it had been the night before but half full. He wiped most of the webs away, took the duffel to their room, showed Sam the webs inside of it, earning a confused look and shrug, and began cleaning.
It was past one in the afternoon when Dean stretched his back, announced that he needed a break and dragged Sam away from his computer and towards the diner.
“Common Sammy! You need to feed that big brain of yours if you want to keep using it!”, he said cheerily as he ushered Sam out of their door, locking it behind them.
On their way to the diner they crossed the parking space of the motel and now the lot was nearly full, the number of cars had almost doubled in less than three hours.
“Did we miss something?”, Sam asked, eyeing the mass of cars skeptically. He noticed that most of the cars had an identical sticker of a spider on the rear window. Dean just shrugged; he also had no Idea and was only paying half attention, sending a quick text to Cas.
The diner was just as full as the parking lot had suggested, every booth occupied and every seat at the counter taken. And the majority of the people seemed to know each other, talking over tables, seats and the whole room. The brothers shared an incredulous look. What on earth was going on?
Dean made his way to the counter, Sam slowly following, getting the attention of the waitress. “Did we miss something or are you always this full at this time of day?”
The smile of the woman, already slightly strained, wavered. “No, we aren’t. From what I gather, all these people are one group on their way to some kind of event, I didn’t get quite what it was. They’ve been here for more than an hour and said they were ‘waiting for something’ before they could leave, so anyone’s guess is as good as mine as to when there will be more space again.”
Dean deflated slightly and was just turning towards Sam when she continued “But if you want to eat now, maybe you could ask that nice gentleman in the corner if you could share his table, he seems to be the only one not belonging to this group” She Indicated the booth farthest from the door, where, just like yesterday evening, the strange man with the scars sat, obviously really uncomfortable with the ruckus going on around him and waiting for his food.
The brothers exchanged a look. In a way that was oddly convenient, because while they both thought that this guy was seriously weird, they also were both quite curious about him. So, nodding first to each other and then thankfully to the waitress they winded their way through the many customers to the booth in the corner.
The stranger looked up from the tabletop once they came to a halt next to him and seemed to deflate once he recognized them.
“Sorry to interrupt, but apparently there is no end is sight to this chaos and we wanted to ask if we could share your table?”, Sam asked, trying for polite while Dean was just staring at him.
He thought he heard the stranger heave a resigned sigh before he tried for a smile, pointing at the seat opposite his and saying “Sure. Please sit.” He had a British accent and his voice had a particular quality to it none of the brothers could quite name other than weirdly captivating. It was deep and warm and they both thought they probably could listen to it for hours.
The brothers sat, first Sam then Dean. “I’m Sam, by the way. And this is my brother Dean.”
“Jon” the stranger, Jon, reached over the table to shake their hands.
Then there was silence at the table, neither party quite sure what to say. The quiet lingered till the arrival of the waitress.
“Ah, I see, you found a place. Now, would you like to order?”
They ordered, Sam the only salad on the menu, Dean a burger and Jon, who apparently hadn’t been sure last time she stopped at his table, a sandwich. After she left, Sam decided it was time to break the ice.
“And what brings you out here to the middle of nowhere?”
Jon seemed to eye him skeptically, but he answered. “Work. Have just one last stop to make. I’m waiting on my bus; it goes tomorrow earliest.” He hesitated. “And you two?”
“Our car broke down. Could only just make it here, now we’re waiting for a friend of ours who should be able to help.” Dean said.
“What are you working?” That was Sam again.
“I’m an Archivist. My predecessor left some files open and sadly the information needed to close them is quite widespread for an Institute mainly operating in England and the UK. May I ask what you were doing when your car failed you?”
“We were just closing up a case” Sam’s answer came without thinking. He just wanted to continue when he realized he was saying way more than he wanted to. To get away from the topic of their work he hurried to ask another question. “What kind of archive needs files from this far away?”
Before Jon could respond they were interrupted by the waitress with their food. Once she left again the brothers looked expectedly at Jon. “The Archives of the Magnus Institute, London” He then, very pointedly, took a bite from his sandwich.
As they ate in silence for a while all three of them realized that the diner was much quieter that before. A look around confirmed it: Since Sam and Dean had sat down at Jon’s table all those loud people had left, leaving the diner mostly empty again. When they turned back to Jon, they saw that his eyes had once again gained this piercing quality as he was gazing warily at the room. And at them.
They continued to eat quietly. It was only once they all had finished their meals that Jon spoke again.
“You mentioned earlier that you were working a ‘case’ before you came here. What kind of case?”
Once again Sam knew a fraction of a second before he started to respond that his answer would be completely truthful and much more detailed than he wanted it to. But he also knew that he had no way to stop himself.
The door opened and suddenly, much faster than humanly possible, Cas was there, as if he had waited for this particular moment. His stony gaze first went over Sam and Dean as if to make sure they were okay, and then snapped to Jon, who was already staring at him. Both seemed so measure each other with looks and for a moment there was something like recognition in both their eyes before Cas’ expression closed completely and he grabbed the brothers by their arms, physically dragging them from the table. Or, more precisely, from Jon, who’s cutting glance followed them out of the diner.
Only once they were back out at the front of the motel did the angel let them go. Dean wasted no time to tell him what he thought of this kind of treatment. “What the fuck, Cas? What got your panties in a twist, huh?!”
Cas didn’t seem phased by Dean’s exclamation. He just calmly said “Stay away from that man. He and what he represents is to dangerous for you to involve yourselves with.”
Even though the angel seemed clam enough, there was a slight franticness in his tone, as if he was suppressing panic. But before one of them could say something Cas had placed his hands on their shoulders, transported them to their room and, with a stern “Stay here!”, was gone again.
The brothers exchanged a look. Dean then made for the door only to discover that their only way out of the room was locked and the key was missing.
“What the fuck?”, he exclaimed. “Okay, Cas, if you want to do it like this, then fine. Sam, where are my lockpicks?”
Jon looked after the strange brothers as the third man, no, Avatar, dragged them out of the diner, only looking away when he heard the outraged gasp of “Wait! You have to pay!” from the waitress.
“No problem”, he called placatingly “I will pay for their food.” He grabbed his coat form the seat beside him, counted a few bills from his wallet and handed her what she was owed together with a generous tip.
Jon didn’t know if he should be surprised when, the moment he sat foot through the door of the diner, the Avatar was there, grabbing his arm like he did with the brothers before and dragging him in the direction of the motel only to stop on the side of the parking lot, let go of Jon’s arm and take a stand in front of him, clearly trying to look as imposing as possible.
“What are you doing here?!” Even though he obviously was going for intimidating Jon could hear a light edge of panic in his voice.
That was the only reason he could muster the nerve to respond: “Hello, my name is Jonathan Sims and I’m The Archivist. And you are?” in his most pleasant tone of voice.
The Avatar’s posture seemed to straighten a bit. “I’m Castiel, one of the Observers. Now, tell me what you are doing here!”
“I’m following some leads from my predecessor on how to stop the Unknowing. Why did you drag the brothers away?” Without thought their conversation drifted into an even exchange of knowledge, an answer for an answer. Quid pro quo. What else was to expect from two beings under the Eye?
“Those brothers are not to learn anything about the gods. What happened to the previous Archivist, why didn’t they complete their research?”
“She was killed by the Head of the Institute, apparently she was trying to destroy it. Why not? They are both obviously marked by the powers, if I’m not wrong then Dean by the Hunt and Sam by the Web, and they are clearly aware of something supernatural, so how come they don’t know of the Fears?”
Here Castiel seemed to deflate slightly. “They are hunters, but through manipulations of the Web they think what they hunt are beasts and monsters found in human lore. They have Nonetheless proven remarkably effective in disrupting the machinations of the Powers. Since I am Observing them, they managed to stop a ritual a small part of the Webs ilk tried to perform, all while under the impression they were fighting demons. Since I am only with them to Observe, at the most nudge them in the right direction, I saw no need to inform them of their misinformation.”
When no question followed Jon felt safe enough to dig deeper. “That’s not all, is it? They know you aren’t human, but, as they hunt everything non-human, you have to have told them something to make them trust you when they didn’t know you. Now you are with them for a couple of years and… what? Are afraid of what will happen when they learn the truth? What did you tell them?”
Now Castiel was plainly uncomfortable. He didn’t seem to want to answer but did. “Since they knew of the Webs ilk as demons and were fighting against it, I introduced myself as – “
“An Angel?!”, interrupted Jon incredulously. “How did you manage that? I mean, the whole Eye-thing doesn’t exactly lend itself to a benevolent God, does it?”
“It worked!” Castiel responded insistently. “And it will continue to work, and you will therefore not tell them anything. Stay away from them! The Winchesters have no baring on what you are searching for, Archivist.” The steel in his eyes was enough to convince Jon to be accommodating.
“Alright, I’ll stay away from the brothers” he said with a nod.
Castiel seemed awfully relieved. “Thank you. Oh, and, Archivist?” he added when Jon turned towards his room “The statement you’re looking for isn’t here. I don’t know where it is but is not this side of the Atlantic.”
Jon turned away with a thankful nod and went back to his room.
Not ten Yards away, hidden behind a corner of the motel, stood Sam and Dean Winchester, gaping at what had just transpired.
It took Dean quite a bit longer than it normally would have to get the door open but when they finally made it out of the room the first thing, they did was look if they could find Cas or Jon somewhere. On their way to the diner they suddenly heard Jon’s voice.
“- know you aren’t human, but, as they hunt everything non-human, you have to have told them something to make them trust you when they didn’t know you. Now you are with them for a couple of years and… what? Are afraid of what will happen when they learn the truth? What did you tell them?”
The brothers shared an incredulous look. Was Jon talking about them? What –
Cas’ voice responded: “Since they knew of the Webs ilk as demons and were fighting against it, I introduced myself as – “
“An Angel?! How did you manage that? I mean, the whole Eye-thing doesn’t exactly lend itself to a benevolent God, does it?” That was Jon again.
Hidden behind their corner Sam and Dean listened to the rest of the exchange, completely baffled. Cas was not an angel? What did they mean with ‘The Webs ilk’ or ‘Eye-thing’? And who was Jon that he evidently knew more about Cas than them when they had known him for nearly three years.
Sam and Dean exchanged another meaningful glance. They had a bone to pick with Cas.
They silently made their way back to their room. Only once the door was closed and locked again broke Dean the silence. “Fuck! What the hell was that?! Cas isn’t an angel?” He looked at his brother. “What do we do now?”
Sam shrugged. “I don’t know. Talk to one of them?” Dean nodded.
“Yep! But we’re talking to Jon. I really don’t want to deal with Cas right now and he has little reason to lie to us.”
“Then we have to get rid of Cas” Sam mused. “Banishing sigil?” When Dean grumbled his approval, he continued “But we would need to ward the place. Once we banished him, he will try to come back immediately.”
“Yes, fine, let’s get to work bevor mister pseudo-angel is back.”
Jon went immediately to his room after his conversation with Castiel. He wasn’t quite sure what to think of what he knew of the ‘Winchesters’ and their companion. On the one hand it was putting him a little at ease seeing an Avatar as old as Castiel – and he was very old, this Jon Knew for sure, even if he couldn’t guess at a number – so blatantly care for humans, even touched by the Fears as they both were. It gave Jon hope regarding his own… Becoming, that maybe he could retain his humanity in some way. On the other hand, though good Castiel’s intentions may be, he still lied to what were presumably his only friends for years, all for the sake of Observing, Watching them. It reminded Jon painfully of the fate of Barnabas Bennet, condemned to die in the Lonely so his own friend Jonah Magnus could Watch.
Jon was conflicted.
At least he could book his flight back home now that he knew his lead was cold. That was something. He missed his assistants, something that surprised him most of all. He missed Martin. Yes, it was time to go home. Finally.
He was just confirming his purchase of a plane ticket to London Heathrow when someone knocked rather harshly on his door. Closing his laptop, he made his way to open it.
On the other side were the brothers, Sam and Dean, looking grim and determined.
“We heard part of your conversation with Cas. And you are going to explain it to us.” It was Dean who had spoken.
Jon looked them over, some part of him registering the concealed weapons they both carried. He fixed them with a cold stare. “And why, do tell, should I do that?”
Sam broke first. “Just, please! We’ve known him for three years and obviously have no idea who he really is, and you do. We just want to understand.” He looked pleadingly at Jon, who sighed under his breath. At least he hadn’t explicitly promised not to tell them.
“Fine. But – “, he added at their relived expressions, “Only in exchange for a Statement.” It would help him get over the time he needed to get home.
His demand was met with, as expected, confusion. “A statement?” That was Dean again.
Jon nodded. “Yes, a complete account of your interactions with the supernatural.”
“That could take a while” Dean mumbled.
“We have the rest of the day. Do you want to do this here, or somewhere else?”
Resigned Sam responded “I think our room is better. It is, for one, bigger, and already warded against Cas, so he won’t interrupt.”
“Fine, your room it is. Lead the way!”
Jon stepped out of his room and locked the door behind him, following the brothers. But the closer they got to their room, the stronger a suddenly starting headache became, until, at their door, Jon couldn’t look straight anymore.
“Are you okay?” Jon recognized Sam’s voice, now filled with reluctant worry.
Massaging his temples Jon only just managed to respond “You said you warded your room against Castiel, right. Oh, stupid, that I didn’t think of it. I’m afraid you either have to take the wards down or we go back to my room.”
“On it”, Dean grumbled and continued to curse under his breath as he went on into the room and proceeded to smudge all the sigils on the walls. The moment he destroyed the last one Jon’s headache dissipated completely and he sighed in relief. “Thank you”
Once in the room, he first started to examine what was left of the sigils. “The Dark or the Stanger, by the looks of it. Makes sense - “, Dean pointedly clearing his throat brought Jon’s attention back to the brothers, already seated at the table, a running tape recorder in the middle between them, something Sam also seemed to register in that moment.
“Uh, what is that thing – “, but Jon interrupted. “It’s fine, that happens sometimes. Those things seem to know when ever I need them.” He sat down on the third chair.
Before Jon could start the statement however Dean asked: “Why were you affected by the wards against Castiel?” His stare was glacial, as if he had only just realized that Jon wasn’t quit human himself.
Jon sighed. “Because we share a Patron. May I start now?”
“Patron?” Deans voice was cold.
“After the Statement I will answer all your questions”, Jon groaned. “May I?” The brothers nodded with visible reluctance.
“Statement of Sam and Dean Winchester, regarding – “
“Their life”, Sam filled in.
“Their life”, Jon repeated, “Statement taken direct from subjects, recording by Jonathan Sims, Head Archivist of the Magnus Institute, London. Statement begins.”
The Winchesters exchanged a curious glance.
“Now. What happened?”, Jon Asked.
And they told him.
They told Jon everything. At first Sam had been skeptical if they were going to be able to put it all into words, but the moment Jon asked everything began to flow out.
Beginning when Sam was six months old through their childhood on the road, how Sam went to college and only came back once John was missing. How they started to hunt together, the machinations of the Yellow Eyed Demon, their father’s death, Dean’s deal. Their search for a get out clause, Dean’s death and subsequent time in Hell. His resurrection via Cas, the race against the Apocalypse, first trying to save the seals, then to kill Lucifer. How they succeeded and Sam went to hell, how Cas saved him too and his time without a soul after.
The whole time Jon’s eyes were on them, bright and piercing, taking in even the smallest twitch of discomfort or shame.
They talked alternatingly for hours and when they finally came to the back here and now it was dark outside. It was only as they came to a close that both brothers realized how dry their voices were.
“And, well, now we’re more or less back in the present. After that case we just made it here and met you.”, Sam ended their recount
“Statement ends” Jon’s voice seemed to close the tab of information it had opened in the beginning and Sam and Dean let out a simultaneous breath of relief.
“Thank you both. You really helped me. Now, I think you had questions?” He looked at them expectantly.
“Yes, we have goddammed questions. What is Cas if he isn’t an Angel?” Now that the thrall of the statement had ended Dean’s anger and frustration retuned full force.
“And while we are on topic, why call demons ‘The Web’s ilk?” added Sam, less frustrated and more eager, curious.
Jon cleared his throat. “Well, it seems to be best to start from the beginning.” He paused, his still too bright eyes first meeting Sam’s, then Deans.
“What you know of the supernatural is a slightly warped, if not outright false understanding of the actual powers behind the beings you met under the names human folklore has given them. Behind every manifestation of the supernatural in this world stands, as far as we know, one of fourteen Entities of fear. These Fears originate from fears in this world and feed off their particular type of fear.
For example, what you know as ‘demons’ are really Manifestations or Avatars of The Web, one of those Entities or Gods, if you so will. I suspect what you both experienced as hell was actually one or two separate spheres of extremely high influence of the Web and that you, Sam, during your ‘soulless’ time were good on your way to becoming an Avatar of the Web yourself.”
Silence. Neither Winchester knew what to say to that.
Eventually it was Sam who overcame his shock first. “What are those fourteen Entities ore Fears or whatever?”
“The Lonely or Forsaken, the Flesh, the Buried, the Desolation or Lightless Flame, the Dark, the Stranger, the Spiral, the End, the Corruption, the Hunt, the Slaughter, the Vast, the Eye and the Web. I know this is a lot and I really would like to make this easier for you, but I have no idea how.” Jon’s voice was matter of fact, but his expression was compassionate.
Again, there was silence in the room. And again, Sam was the one to break it.
“Earlier you said that Cas and you ‘share a Patron’, does that mean you are one of these Avatars?”
Here Jon seemed uncomfortable himself. “Uh, I can’t really confirm nor deny. You see, my Job, the position of head archivist at the Magnus Institute is, like the Institute itself, connected to one of the Fears, which means whoever holds the position starts to turn into an Avatar, but I myself are still at least partly human, or so I hope, even though I already hold the ‘title’ of The Archivist and some of the powers associated with it.”
San just wanted to ask another question when Dean blurted out: “What the hell is Cas?! Who is this Patron you share?”
Jon turned a calm gaze to him. He just wanted to respond when Castiel was suddenly with them in the Room. And just as sudden as his appearance, was his reaction to the scene playing out in front of him. He seized hold of Jon’s collar and hurled him out of the chair.
“Archivist”, he growled, his voice sounding weirdly echo-y, as if more than one person was speaking at once. “You promised to stay away from them!”
Despite this abrupt assault Jon remained remarkably calm. “And I did, they came to me and offered me a Statement in return for answers. Who am I to turn away Knowledge freely offered?”
Slowly Cas let go of Jon’s shirt and turned to Sam and Dean, movements careful, cautious. “You gave him a Statement?”
Cas sighed and turned back to Jon. “Who am I to judge you for succumbing to the urgings of our Patron when lied for years just to Watch.” Warily he turned back to the brothers. “To answer your question, Dean: The Archivist and I serve the Eye, the Ceaseless Watcher. I, myself am an Observer, one of the most common Manifestations of our God. And, before you ask, I lied and let you believe what you were told to Watch, as is my purpose. But I should have been honest months, if not years ago.”
Jon sat back down, carefully watching the events unfolding around him.
“Jon said, that those Avatars were human once. Does that mean…?” Sam’s tone was hesitant, as if slightly afraid of the answer.
Cas shook his head “If I was human once, then it was a long time ago. Long enough that I don’t remember anymore”
“You were!”, Jon intercepted. “I can’t quite get a feel for the exact time frame, but I Know you were.” Sam and Dean were staring at him.
Cas took a deep breath as if to process that revelation, then answered the brother’s unasked question. “I only Watch, what Knowledge I collect must be gained through direct Observation if the Knowledge isn’t a direct part of a question of one of my Gods followers. Jon, as the Archivist is closer to our Patron and has access to It’s Knowledge, can just Know things. Closer still would be The Watcher and I think the current one is – “
“The Head of the Magnus Institute, Elias Bouchard”, Jon interrupted, his voice bitter. After registering the looks of everyone in the room he elaborated: “He’s my Boss and kind of holds my assistants and me hostage. Don’t ask, it’s complicated. Anyway – “He looked at Cas, “I trust that you will answer the rest of their questions? So, I can go to bed? That was one of the longest Statements I ever took, and it drained me.” Cas nodded.
“Be glad that I can keep you away from their dreams or I wouldn’t be as forgiving about the Statement.”
Jon’s eyes widened. “Those are real? Well shit.” He continued to mumble under his breath, to quietly to be understood.
“But yes, Archivist, you may rest” Cas continued.
Jon nodded thankfully, took the still running tape recorder, ended the recording and made to leave the room, when Dean called after him “we’ll come to say goodbye before you leave tomorrow. Would be good to be able to keep in touch, you know, if one of us needs help or something.”
Jon smiled, nodded, and left.
Dean turned a hard stare on Cas. “And you have some things to clear up, my friend!”
It was only once he had made it back to his own room that Jon allowed the exertion of the day to show on his face. He ran a weary hand through his hair an let out a breath.
The Statement of the Winchester brothers wasn’t just ‘one of’ the longest, it was the longest Statement he ever took, by far. It wasn’t news to him that once one was touched by one of the Fears it was likely one would encounter them again, one way or another. But two lives shaped completely by the machinations of more than one Entity from such an early age. It was unheard of. And made Jon ache for who knows how many other children who wouldn’t get a choice to be claimed by their respective Patrons. He wished he could do something to help them but there was nothing he could do.
He first needed to save the world.
He went through his bedtime routine unthinkingly, consciousness trapped in the labyrinth of new Knowledge both from the Statement and his connection to the Eye. He wasn’t sure what time it was when he finally sank into the scratchy motel sheets and drifted into dreams filled with stories and people to Watch.
Jon was standing at the bus stop, duffel bag slung over his shoulder, reading the last Statement he had with him. The Winchester Statement would carry him through his journey home no problem, but that didn’t mean he had time to stop working. Now that his trail was lost, he needed a new approach to stop the Stranger. Maybe one of his assistants had come up with something while he was away. Well, one could hope.
Deeply engrossed in his reading he didn’t notice Castiel, Sam and Dean stepping up beside him until one of them cleared his throat. He jumped.
“Huh? Oh, it’s you.” He closed the file and turned towards the three men. Sam and Dean looked tired, as if they hadn’t slept enough, and still slightly shook, but a lot calmer than the night before. Castiel seemed more settled, like a huge weight had been lifted off his shoulders. “All questions answered?”
The brothers nodded simultaneously, and Sam said. “Yes. We wanted to, I don’t know, thank you? For being here at the right time, I guess” He shrugged. It was this comment that made something clear to Jon.
“Wait… Oh, naturally!” Jon groaned and, with one look at their confused faces, elaborated “Now that I think about it, I’m not so sure the timing here was just luck. I mean, there were literally dozens of people that came out of nowhere just at the right time to force you to my table and they all left the moment we started talking? Awfully convenient, if you ask me.” He continued muttering under his breath.
Sam and Dean exchanged a look, glanced at Castiel and shrugged. It was Dean who stated “Well, if one of these things wanted us to learn what is really going on around here, I’m not gonna complain.”
His brother nodded. “And if there’s a bigger plan here, we’ll deal with that too.”
Jon cast a look in Castiel’s direction and raised a skeptical eyebrow. The Observer nodded.
“I will keep my eyes open. They will be prepared.” The brothers gave their companion an affronted look.
“We can look after ourselves, Cas, thank you very much! Anyway, here’s our number, if you need something we can help with” Sam held out a small scrap of paper to Jon. On it were two cell phone numbers.
Dean grunted “As long as we don’t have to fly to England at least.”
The Archivist nodded thankfully. “I’m sure Castiel will know how to reach me, if you are ever in need of information I might be able to get you. And if not, the Magnus Institute does indeed have a website, there should be a number there. Just ask for the head Archivist.”
As the brothers mumbled something vaguely affirmative and Castiel gave a dignified nod a truck rolled onto the motel’s parking lot and Jon’s bus came into view.
Jon watched thoughtfully as Bobby Singer exited his car, eyes again taking on that bright, all-seeing quality. “Maybe keep an eye on Bobby. I think our Patron has plans for him” The Winchesters followed his gaze, then inclined their heads.
“Goodbye, Sam, Dean, Castiel. Stay Safe.”
The bus stopped and the door opened. It was mostly empty. Jon was just about to board when Cas raised his voice.
“I will contact you, if I find anything related to the Unknowing. Good luck, Archivist”
The eyes of the two Avatars met and both knew that they had an Ally in keeping this World as it was. If necessary, even against their own Patron.
Jon raised his hand and entered the bus. As he sat down, and the bus drove on he watched the brothers greet their father figure with a hug. He really hoped those two would be safe.
Well, at least as safe as one could be when the Fears were involved.
He really wasn’t sure if angels and demons wouldn’t have been easier to deal with.