Title: Meg and Benny's Excellent Adventure
Pairings/Warnings: Meg/Castiel, implied Meg/Jimmy Novak, mentions of Sam/Amelia, show-level violence
Summary: Meg and Benny go on a roadtrip. Pretexting, hunting, LARPing, and bickering over music in the car ensue.
Chapter Twenty-Two continued
Meg scanned the room, the signs outside each of the lecture halls. “Are you interested in a panel of mythology modernized: the cycle of vampires from monsters to lovers to monsters?”
Benny blinked at her. “What?”
“Or how about Narrative Gender Roles: Sam Winchester’s occupation of a traditionally female role?”
“Did you get hit over the head?”
“We have an hour to kill before the next round of the quiz bowl and not much to do,” Meg said. “So do you want to listen to one of the panels? Or do you want to do something else?”
“What else can we do?” Benny asked.
Meg scanned the signs once more, and she grinned. “Karaoke.” She grabbed Benny’s wrist and tugged. Unlike for Leanne, Benny tried to resist. He was a vampire. She was a demon. With a little surge of power, she won.
The karaoke room had been going all day, and it seemed to be the site of one massive LARPing event. Some of the more enthusiastic fans had rearranged the chairs and tables so the room resembled a bar, complete with booths, card tables, and an actual bar serving various soft drinks. There was a stage with a karaoke machine, and the room was one entire LARP setting. Sam, Dean, Bobby, and Rufus were playing cards at one table. Sam and Ruby 1.0 were having an intense conversation in a booth. Charlie, Kevin, and the Ghostfacers were playing D&D at a card table. Ellen was pouring drinks and Jo was serving them. And plenty of people were enjoying the karaoke. A Dean and a Sam were onstage singing Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive” while a Castiel, a Crowley, and assorted female demons – Rubys, Megs, Liliths – were cheering and hooting. Dean had a fantastic voice. Sam sounded like he was strangling a cat.
Benny looked horrified.
Meg tugged him over to the table where the karaoke operator was playing Candy Crush on his phone. “Where’s the song list?”
The karaoke operator was a young Hispanic man, handsome and trendy and definitely not a Supernatural fan. He nudged a white binder toward her without looking up from his phone.
Meg flipped it open.
“Before you ask, ‘Carry on Wayward Son,’ anything by Led Zeppelin, this song, ‘Can’t Fight This Feeling’ by REO Speedwagon, ‘All Out of Love’ by Air Supply, and ‘Hey Jude’ by the Beatles are officially banned, or I might shoot myself.” The operator sounded bored and still did not look up from his phone.
“Noted,” Meg said. “Benny, let’s sing.”
“You have atrocious taste in music, and I can’t sing. Aren’t we, you know, supposed to be on the job?”
“We are on the job,” Meg said brightly. “Part of that is blending in. Now pick!”
He scanned the list. “I don’t know these.”
Meg sighed. “Were you paying any attention at all in the car?”
“I was trying not to.”
Meg flipped through several pages. Then she spun the book around and held it out to the karaoke operator. “This one, please.”
He glanced at it, shrugged, and then nudged a sign-up sheet toward her. She scribbled their names on the list – everything here was surprisingly low-tech – and then went to sit at an empty “table” and watch.
“Shouldn’t we be back at the storage locker making sure our space is ready for work?” Benny asked. He kept his voice low. “Or should we be, I don’t know, trying to figure out how the Apocalypse could be jump-started yet again?”
Meg said, “Absolutely. Fire up your laptop. I’ll fire up the tablet. As for our workspace – are you doubting my construction prowess?”
“You’ve never worked construction.”
“Not the kind you’re thinking, no, but the kind I just did I could do in my sleep.”
Benny unslung his backpack and fished out his laptop, balanced it on his knees cautiously. “You don’t sleep.”
“Neither do you.”
“I sort of do.”
Meg eyed Benny and wondered if, after this quest was done, he’d do the emo thing and attempt to commit suicide by hunter. “If you could be human again, would you be?”
Benny, who’d been typing slowly, paused. He was a very slow typer. Watching him type text messages made Meg want to shoot herself out of boredom. “Why would you ask that?”
“I’m just curious.” Meg continued typing like nothing strange was happening between them.
“It’s not like it’s a possibility,” Benny said slowly.
“True,” Meg said. “I mean, you’ve already consumed human blood, and there’s no way to get blood from your sire anyway, but I’m just saying. All the things you enjoy – music, cooking, falling in love. That’s all...human.”
“It’s not possible,” Benny said. “I am what I am. Now, are we working or not?”
“We are,” Meg said.
Typing at various speeds ensued. A few moments later, Benny said, “Did you know there’s a Supernatural Wikipedia site? An entire internet encyclopedia dedicated to the Supernatural books.” He peered over the top of the laptop at her, eyebrows raised. “You can find out anything you want about Supernatural without rereading the books a hundred times.”
“Boning up for the next round of the quiz bowl? That’s just cheating,” Meg said. She avoided his judgmental stare. Yes, she was a fangirl. The badassery of being a demon cancelled out any the weirdness of being a fangirl.
“I mean,” Benny said, “the sixty-six seals. First is when a Righteous Man sheds blood in Hell, last is when the First Demon is killed. Sixty-four were broken the first time around, but there are over six hundred. Apparently the Righteous Man can be anyone. Sort of. But there was only one First Demon. So the cage can’t be opened with seals anymore, right?”
“That depends on how you define a demon,” Meg said. “There are many kinds of demons. Maybe all you’d need is the first of its kind.”
“You’re not making me feel better about what’s going on here,” Benny grumbled. “Besides, wouldn’t the rings of the Four Horsemen be quicker?”
“Death isn’t on anyone’s side,” Meg said. “Good luck getting a ring from him.”
“A new Antichrist, the potential for a new perfect vessel for Lucifer,” Benny said. “Why aren’t you more terrified?”
“I’m not terrified of a lot,” Meg said. “In the eternal words of Buffy Summers: ‘Apocalypse? We’ve all been there. The same old trips; why should we care?’“
“Actually,” Benny said, “I’ve never been there, and also, last time you were for the Apocalypse.”
Meg smiled sweetly. “I learned my lesson, and now I’m playing for the winning team.”
“What did Claire say when you told her?”
“She and her new friend are on alert,” Meg said. “That’s the best we can ask for.”
“What if we call Dean?”
“Dean didn’t answer you, did he?”
Benny didn’t meet her gaze.
“Also, Dean and Sam’s track record for keeping prophets alive isn’t so great,” Meg said. “So you and I are going to finish this job for Claire, and then, in addition to the two most stubborn men on earth, Team Free Will will have its favorite Full Throttle angel.”
“Aren’t we part of Team Free Will?” Benny asked.
“Not sure we’re welcome in the clubhouse,” Meg said. “No subhumans allowed.”
“Castiel’s not human.”
“Angels count as superhuman. Pretty sure.”
Benny huffed. “True.” He arched an eyebrow. “How many different kinds of demons are there?”
Before Meg could answer, the karaoke operator said, with all the enthusiasm of a man reciting his grandmother’s shopping list, “Please welcome Meg and Benny to the stage.”
Meg stood up, abandoning her gear, and tugged Benny with her. He made a futile gesture at the laptop, but she just continued tugging on his elbow. She hopped up onto the stage, and the assorted female demons and Sam and Dean cheered and clapped with abandon.
Meg accepted one mic from the karaoke operator, thrust the other at Benny.
“Hi! I’m Meg, and this is Benny, and we’re on an excellent adventure!” She beamed, then dug an elbow into Benny’s ribs. He smiled weakly and waved. “Today, we’re bringing you our best demonic-vampiric rendition of ‘Henry Lee.’“
A murder ballad was only appropriate. That, and Meg might or might not have been the demon who’d goaded the woman into stabbing the real Henry Lee, or rather, a handsome man called Young Hunting.
Halfway through the song, the door opened, and Abby stepped into the room. She took up post beside a makeshift game of darts, crossed her arms over her chest, and put on her best amused smirk.
Benny, while he had a smooth and deep voice, wasn’t the greatest singer. Meg’s current meatsuit, budding actress she’d been, had a clear, steady voice, and with a little dose of demonic mojo, she sounded pretty good. Granted, this was karaoke, and no one was expecting them to sound like American Idol finalists, but Meg liked to do things right.
When the song was done, the audience clapped and cheered. Meg took her bows, and Benny bobbed an awkward bow as well. They hopped off the stage, and the LARPers swarmed them, clapping Benny on the back, telling Meg what a set of pipes she had. If only those little fans knew who they were daring to touch, to share air with.
Meg escaped from the crowd and crossed the room to stand before Abby. “You had something to tell me earlier.”
“Bragging about a centuries-old murder? That’s more than a little tacky, don’t you think?”
“Not just a centuries-old murder,” Meg said. “After all, they’re still talking about it downstairs, centuries later.”
“Henry Lee? Please. That was so petty. And a century is nothing to demons.” Abby rolled her eyes.
A century topside was a very, very long time in Hell. “If you paid attention in demon Sunday School,” Meg said, “his name was Young Hunting. Or rather, Young Hunter. To be specific, Henry Samuel Campbell.”
Abby raised her eyebrows.
“Yes, one of those Campbells. Please. Do tell me who sings what about you,” Meg said.
“Apparently Sam sings my praises about how I am in bed...in his dreams.”
“We all know Sam’s taste in women – pretty, broken, and eventually dead, so that really doesn’t say much about you, except that his taste is accurate. Look at you.” Meg deliberately raked her gaze up and down Abby’s form.
Abby mock-pouted. “I thought we were here to work together.”
“Not the same as making nice,” Meg said. “So, you said you had information for me?”
Abby pursed her lips thoughtfully, shrugged. “Touché.” She leaned in and lowered her voice. “Sharon takes the winners of the quiz bowl to the back room herself for the grand prize. No one will expect to see her till the evening panel. It’s your best chance of getting the information you need.”
“Thank you,” Meg said. “We appreciate it.”
“Now, about that deal you mentioned earlier. A new vessel, the Moose model, in exchange for an angel’s grace. Is it still on the table?”
“We’ll talk about it when we’re done with Sharon.” Meg glanced over her shoulder and caught Benny’s gaze; he’d heard the entire exchange. “Sounds like we have to get to that final round of the quiz bowl. See you there.”
Benny, who had quietly collected all their gear, handed Meg her backpack, and together they stepped out into the crowd. Not very many had attended the quiz bowl elimination rounds, but apparently the final round was a pretty big deal, because Damian and Barnes were scurrying back and forth across the stage in the biggest lecture hall, setting up tables and chairs and buzzers. Sharon and Alex were sitting at the scoring table. Someone had procured a scoring system Meg usually saw at high school basketball games, and Alex was poking at a complicated electrical panel, making the numbers change.
Leanne didn’t latch onto Benny’s arm. She wore an intense expression, and in that moment she strongly resembled Castiel when he was at his most earnest, his most dedicated. Stephanie was pacing back and forth, arms crossed tightly over her chest.
“You all right?” Benny asked.
“Last year, Team Badass and Pistol wiped the floor with their challengers,” Stephanie said. “I’m pretty sure they’ve memorized every book verbatim. I’m pretty sure they have some of the most popular fanfiction stories memorized, too.”
“Even if we don’t win,” Meg said, “we kicked ass. That means something.”
Stephanie turned and looked longingly at the sign displayed on a pedestal between the two team tables advertising the grand prize: the publisher’s edition of the Collected Supernatural, from "Supernatural" to "Swan Song". “I want to win.”
“You know, the four of us can’t split one set of books,” Meg said.
Leanne turned wide, mournful eyes on her. “Splitting them? But Ty said –”
Meg cast him an arch look. “What did Ty say?”
“We’re not in it for the prize, cousin,” he said, speaking slow and easy. “We’re in it for the fun.”
“Of course we are,” Meg said. She tried to communicate, with solely the power of her mind, that she and Benny had to be the only ones to accompany Sharon back to the prize vault so they could kidnap her, interrogate her, and then kill her. Benny wasn’t looking at her, instead looking torn between comforting Leanne and laughing at her woeful expression.
Before Meg could stomp on his ankle or kick him or use any other patented Winchester method of non-verbal communication, Barnes stepped out of the lecture hall and announced the final round of the quiz bowl.
People abandoned booths and conversations and streamed into the lecture hall, eager for the best seats.
Team Badass and Pistol was comprised of a young man cosplaying as Dr. Badass or Ash the hacker, a pretty girl cosplaying as Jo Harvelle, and then a strikingly attractive and intense-looking African-American couple cosplaying as Tamara and Isaac. They arrayed themselves at their team table with all the dignity of a team of scientists about to testify to a congressional oversight committee about their new world-changing technology.
Benny had to herd Leanne and Stephanie, who were looking increasingly terrified, up onto the stage to take their places at the team table. Sharon and Alex were perched behind the scoring table, Alex with her hands hovering over the switch panels, Sharon with a pen and a calculator. Meg had always admired the endurance some demons demonstrated in a long con. If Meg hadn’t been able to see Sharon’s demonic face, she’d have believed Sharon was nothing more than a dedicated fan.
“All right, the event everyone is excited about every year!” Barnes said. “The final round of the Supernatural Quiz Bowl! Teams have battled and fought, struggled and tried, and now here they are, the best, the brightest, the fastest. The reigning champions from the last five years, Team Badass and Pistol, versus shadowy underdogs, Benny and the Jets!”
The audience burst into cheers and applause.
Meg adjusted her buzzer infinitesimally and glanced around the room. Abby was lurking in the back, arms folded across her chest, looking supremely amused and smug. At the other end of the table, Leanne had turned a spectacular shade of green.
“And now, as an extra-special treat, here is our quiz master, Becky Rosen!”
Becky was pretty much as Chuck had described her, slender, with dark-blonde hair, narrow features, and wide, intense eyes. She dressed like a reject from the Nancy Drew movie, and she was quivering with excitement. She snatched the microphone from Barnes.
“Hi, everybody! It’s so good to see you again! This convention is what I look forward to all year every year.” Her voice was high-pitched and squeaky. She needed a Xanax or five. “So, let’s see who knows the most about Supernatural!”
Barnes handed her the question cards.
“Contestants, ready your buzzers!”
Benny could laugh at Meg all he wanted, but reading the Supernatural books over and over again was about to pay off in the most randomly useful way possible.
Team Badass and Pistol were the reigning champions for a reason. They were fast, focused, and seemed to know every single thing about Supernatural, from the name of Sam’s teacher who’d been a demon to the name of girl who convinced Dean to try on a pair of pink satin panties. But Benny and Meg still had superhuman reflexes to their names, and Meg was a demon with Spencer Reid’s memory.
After the first round, they were tied. Leanne and Stephanie had only managed to pitch in a few questions. The opposing team’s backbone, despite the team’s name, was Tamara. She and Meg went head-to-head at nearly every question. While both sides gulped down water, Becky announced the rules for the second round – questions worth double points, and a secret bonus question, which was worth ten points.
Meg stood up, stretched, flicked her gaze at Abby. She applauded silently, mockery written all over her features. Sharon and Alex were testing some of the buzzers and were generally unconcerned about the tension crossing the room. Benny was crouched beside Leanne, rubbing circles on her back and whispering in her ear. Stephanie was pacing the length of the table, expression distant with concentration, whispering to herself. Nina and several others in the crowd caught Meg’s gaze and waved, flashed her a thumbs up. Meg smiled back.
Humans. So easily led astray by petty loyalties, quick thrills. Not that Meg had never jumped ship to a winning team.
“All right!” Becky said, clapping her hands. “Here we go for round two!”
Round two was brutal, but Leanne came alive. She was so fast on the buzzer she might have been a supernatural creature herself. Tamara redoubled her efforts, eyes flashing. The questions took on more difficult forms, analogies and riddles. If Supernatural were the SATs, its questions would look like what Becky had written on her little cue cards.
“Blank is to Benny as blank is to Sam,” she said.
Benny hit the buzzer. “Andrea and Amelia. Or Jess.”
Becky pumped a fist in the air. “Amelia or Jess are both acceptable. Two points to Benny and the Jets!”
Meg raised her eyebrow at Benny. He’d said Andrea’s name without flinching. That might not have seemed so impressive if not for rampant fan speculation that Sam slept face-down so he wouldn’t have to wake up and see Jess burning on the ceiling. Benny’s pain and loss surely ran deeper, given how long he and Andrea had been together.
Benny stared straight ahead – at Abby.
She smirked and waggled something in her hand. The plastic tubing from a blood bag.
Meg curled her hands into fists. Distracting Benny like that was just cruel. Did Abby not want them to win? She certainly wasn’t holding up her end of the bargain. Benny and Meg needed to get Sharon alone.
Becky fired off a series of questions about cars – where the Impala was originally bought, what kind of car Bobby drove, the make and model of the car Sam and Dean drove in the “My Heart Will Go On” alternate universe. Stephanie and Isaac tackled those, Stephanie with aplomb, Isaac so wound up the veins in his neck were throbbing.
Meg glanced at the scoreboard. They were still neck and neck, and no bonus question was in sight.
Till Meg heard her name.
“Where was Meg Masters the human originally from?”
Meg hit the buzzer.
“Benny and the Jets?”
Meg smiled. “Andover, Massachusetts.”
Benny murmured, low enough so only she could hear, “Cheater.”
“Congratulations!” Becky clapped her hands and jumped up and down. “Bonus points to you!”
Tamara’s hands clenched into fists. The look she cast Meg was murderous. All things being equal, she was taking this whole quiz bowl too seriously. After all, she was in it as a fan and for a prize. Meg was in it for some possibly Apocalypse-arresting mojo.
The break for round three couldn’t have come soon enough. Meg almost choked when Becky announced the rules – ten questions, five points each, and if there was a tie after that, sudden death.
Naturally, there was a tie.
Sudden death for a quiz bowl was a highly inaccurate descriptor. There was no immediate danger of physical harm or mortal injury, just questions bouncing back and forth. The answers required deeper and deeper levels of minutiae – the names of all the Campbell cousins, the names of the angels in Castiel’s garrison, Sam’s most frequently used classic rock alias, Jess’s middle name, Andrea’s last name.
John Winchester’s middle name.
“Eric,” Meg said.
The entirety of Team Badass and Pistol gaped at her.
“Yes.” Instead of sounding excited and hyper, like Becky seemed to after every question, she looked pale and afraid.
Meg glanced at Benny, eyebrow raised questioningly. He shrugged; he didn’t know what the problem was, either.
But then Becky said, “Congratulations, Benny and the Jets. You’ve won.” She sounded like she was about to faint. Her hands were shaking.
The entire room burst into cheers and applause. The other team slumped over, looking shell-shocked.
Benny rose up, pulled Leanne and Stephanie’s chairs back. How anyone would think he was a modern man with such old-fashioned manners was a mystery to Meg. He crossed the stage to shake hands with the other team, who still looked shocked and confused. Leanne and Stephanie hugged each other, jumping up and down.
Becky crossed the stage to shake their hands, first Benny, then Meg.
“Are you all right?” Benny asked.
Becky swallowed hard and gazed up at him, wide-eyed. “Who are you?”
“I’m Ty,” he said. “And this is my cousin, Rachel.”
Becky shook her head. “No. Who are you really? Because John Winchester’s middle name isn’t in the books.”
Meg arched an eyebrow. “Then how did you know my answer was right?”
“You’ve met them, haven’t you?” Becky said. “Sam and Dean. For real, right? I asked Dean what the E on John Winchester’s tombstone stood for in ‘What Is and Never Should Be.’ He said it was Eric.” She stepped closer, lowered her voice. “Are you hunters?”
“No,” Abby said. “They’re not.”
When had she got so close?
There was a twitch at Meg’s neck. She’d felt the sensation before, the brief sting of pressure, then release. Someone had just stolen her necklace.
No, not her necklace – her hex bag.
Alex said, “Christo.”
The edges of Meg’s world flickered.
Becky screamed. “Demon!”
Sharon was on her feet, scoring table forgotten. Her eyes also flickered black. “Meg,” she hissed.
Becky scrambled backward, screaming at the top of her lungs. The happy chatter in the audience gave way to confusion. Meg sighed, rolled her eyes, and flickered across the stage to Sharon. She caught Sharon by the throat.
“Hey, stunt demon number whatever,” Meg said. “Abby says you have a line on the current prophet. Give me a name.”
Sharon shook her head in utter disbelief. “No. That’s impossible. You’re dead.”
“Prophet,” Meg said, “or I tell Crowley you helped Abby get out of The Pit and you gave up everything you know about the prophet.”
Sharon spat at her. “Whore.”
Meg rolled her eyes. “Seriously? Why does everyone go there? Just because I may or may not be evil doesn’t mean I trade sex for money.”
Sharon blinked at her, confused. Of course feminism was lost on demons.
“Satisfy me,” Meg said, “or I please myself.”
Barnes said, “You’ve used that line before.”
Holy water rained down.
Meg threw herself backward reflexively. Sharon, caught in the crossfire, writhed in pain and hissed.
The confused sounds in the audience turned to fear.
Damian, clutching a copy of “Jus in Bello,” began reciting a shaky exorcism.
“Benny,” Meg choked out. “Little help.” She struggled to her feet, body wracked with the power of the exorcism.
Abby had a silver blade to Benny’s throat. “Not so tough now, are we, Meg?”
Becky was hiding behind Barnes, eyes wide with terror.
Meg summoned just enough energy to punch Damian across the face. He yelped and fell backward, tumbled off the stage. The exorcism was done – for now.
“You know,” Meg said, shaking herself off, “I had plans. Big plans. Interrogation. Torture. Fancy information to take back to my boss about the newest prophet. And you had to go and ruin it.”
Sharon, who’d also been affected by the exorcism, rose to her feet. “So, Meg. Funny how the legend is so much more than the bitch.”
“You stole my line,” Meg said.
“You recycled one of your own.” Sharon rolled her shoulders like a boxer loosening up for a fight. “I figured you wouldn’t mind.”
“Meg,” Benny said.
“He’s a real vampire,” Abby said to Sharon.
“She’s telling the truth,” Meg said, “but you have to wonder why an entrepreneurial soul like Abby is hanging around you. I mean, what could she possibly gain from you?”
Sharon lifted her chin. “I’m powerful. Crowley trusts me.”
“His trust is misplaced, because Abby’s running a scam right under your nose,” Meg said.
Sharon cast a sharp, black-eyed look at Abby.
“She’s lying,” Abby said.
“Hi, we’re all demons here,” Meg said. “We all lie by nature. Except, of course, when it’s more hurtful to be honest. So am I telling the truth? Or am I lying?”
“Abby,” Sharon said, “what is she talking about?”
“I’m talking about the fact that Abby got her old body back,” Meg said. She smiled sweetly at Sharon. “Wouldn’t you like yours back? I can tell what you looked like under all the torture scars. You were beautiful – far more beautiful than the potato sack you’re wearing now. Wouldn’t you like that back?”
Sharon narrowed her eyes at Abby, searching for something she’d never be able to see. Few demons could see beneath the demonic layer. People underestimated Meg all the time.
“I was going to tell you,” Abby said, “once I was sure I had it perfect. We could split the profits. The ultimate meatsuits for demons who pay top dollar, right?” Her voice shook.
Out of the corner of her eye, Meg saw Damian back on his feet.
“You okay, Benny?” Meg asked.
“Just peachy for a guy about to have his throat slit,” Benny said.
“I’d appreciate it if you didn’t send him back to Purgatory,” Meg said, “seeing as how someone went to a lot of trouble to get him out.”
Abby’s eyes narrowed. “You didn’t get yourselves out?”
“The portal only works on humans,” Meg said. She needed to close distance, to get Sharon, but the moment she blinked, Benny was dead. And now Damian had recovered his book.
“Such a long run for such a short slide.” Meg sighed and shook her head.
Sharon’s brow furrowed. “What?”
Meg reached into her pocket. “Catch!” She threw her hex bomb, reeled off a spate of Latin.
Sharon caught it reflexively. What happened next was horrifying and terrifying. Sharon convulsed like she was coughing, choking. She doubled over, retching, and black smoke poured out of her mouth.
Abby swore and took a step back, loosening her grip on Benny. He elbowed her away, shoved her off of the stage.
Meg could only stare as Sharon’s soul poured out of her, solidified, and dribbled to the floor as black ichor. And then she remembered herself and fumbled in her jacket pocket for a spare vial. It took two or three tries before she could make herself move toward the dying demon. But she needed that ichor, and she needed it now.
The lecture hall was half empty. The humans who remained were huddled in frightened clusters, sheep watching the bickering wolves, waiting for the wolves to turn on them.
Abby vanished in a demonic blink.
Meg didn’t have time to care. She rolled up her sleeves, reached out, and caught some of Sharon’s soul in the vial.
Sharon hit the stage with a final thump, twitched, and was dead.
Or rather, the demon was dead.
Somehow, Sharon’s vessel had survived. She immediately heaved herself up onto her knees and threw up some more.
“That’s disgusting,” Benny said.
“Time for us to go,” Meg said. She scanned her surroundings for her other hex bag, but Abby must have taken it with her. Dammit.
Alex, hiding behind the scoring table, was trembling and praying softly. She couldn’t look up when Meg passed her.
Barnes had his arms flung wide, shielding Becky with his body. “Christo!” he shouted.
Meg flinched, sighed. “Seriously. Not the enemy here. I mean, yes, I just ended Sharon, but look, hey, vessel’s still alive. I pulled a quasi-Sam Winchester.”
“You’re a real demon.” Barnes’s voice, high-pitched with fear, broke on the last word.
“You know ghosts are real.” Meg tilted her head to one side, quizzical. “Why not demons?”
Some members of the audience stirred. Plenty had their smartphones out and were filming.
“The time has come to be done with the chatting,” Benny said. He slipped his hand into Meg’s. “Let’s go.”
“Right,” Meg said. She beamed like a pageant princess and offered her own royal wave. “Thanks for coming to the Sixth Annual Supernatural Convention. Hope to see you next year!”
She blinked them right into the car.
“Are you insane?” Benny demanded.
“No. A little peeved, honestly. We did so well on the first two phases – ferreted out some important intelligence on top of collecting spell ingredients.” Meg fired up the engine and zipped out of the parking lot. “We just spent a ridiculous amount of time and energy pretending to be Supernatural fans, and what do we have? Not much. In fact, we might have set ourselves back by alerting Crowley to the fact that he’s not the only person who knows about the new prophet.”
“A long run for a short slide?” Benny echoed.
“I feel kinda like Cas,” Meg said. “Urgent prayer, quick flight, and no Ark. So disappointed.”
“But we got the final ingredient,” Benny pointed out.
“And so it goes,” Meg said.
“You and Dean spent an entire year in Purgatory, and he never told you about Vonnegut?”
Meg shoved Benny in the shoulder. “Get out the tablet and read. Under a blanket, because we’re running low on sunblock. You can hide in the back seat with your own blanket fort.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Benny said.
“Call me Meg. Miss Masters if you’re nasty.”
Benny, halfway into the back seat, paused. “What?”
Meg pushed him the rest of the way. “Before we get pulled over for you not wearing a seat belt.”
As Meg drove, she hoped Abby wouldn’t run to Crowley. Chances were, Abby would make use of the information herself.
“Meg,” Benny said, “you’ve got to stop using pop culture references I don’t understand. Either help me understand them, or use pop culture references I will understand. You were around when I was a mortal, weren’t you?” His voice from beneath the blanket was muffled.
“We’re like Rosie the Riveter,” Meg said. “We can do it.”
“I’m not like anyone named Rosie,” Benny said flatly.
Meg grinned at herself in the rearview mirror and added, “We can do it all night long.”
Benny reached up and smacked her.