As a young demon, Crowley had met a lower tier angel doing service on Earth named Abigail. Well, Abigail had been the name she used while in human form. He felt more with her than he could ever remember having felt with anyone, even when he was human. Even knowing their union was forbidden, even knowing the consequences for her would be dire, they allowed their love to overtake them. Her punishment was beyond severe. She died, true real death that included her very erasure from all worlds, upon the birth of their daughter. Warnings and eliciting a promise from him on her lips, their babe in his arms, she was gone.
He knew that his daughter was too unique to keep with him. No one like her had ever existed, there wasn’t even a name for what she was, and so he had to leave her on Earth. He placed her in the care of a wealthy couple, wanting his daughter to lack for nothing. He allowed himself to watch her from afar. As a crossroads demon it was simpler, he was always wanted in the wealthy society that he’d placed her in, every millionaire always wanted more after all. He’d been able to watch her for quite some time, before becoming King of Hell. He still found the time, even with his new ‘duties’.
Watching her grow, learn, and mature became his favorite pastime. She looked nothing like him, nor her mother. She was beautiful, so unbearably perfect that he had to fight himself from introducing himself to her. He fought it, but too soon, his arms were wrapped around her once more. He’d pulled her from the twisted metal that had once been her parents’ car. Her human guardians had been no match for the evil that had come for them, for her. She was like catnip for all supernatural beings, as her mother had warned. And he knew, even as he felt powerless and angry at the knowledge, her mother had been right. Now he’d have to fulfill the last promise he’d made her.
Leaving his daughter, a young woman now, behind in a hospital was unbearable. He knew her wealth would assure the best care, but protection? From the dark and light sides couldn’t be bought. Glancing at her lovely face, he allowed himself one more touch, and then he was gone. Putting into action the very promise he’d made to Abigail would be akin to ripping out his own flesh, but for her, for their daughter he’d do anything. Even cozy up to three men who he’d rather never be in the presence of ever again.
THREE YEARS LATER
Lilana Monahan was happy to have made the bar a success. She glanced around, giggling at the spring breakers that were old enough to legally partake in the club she’d bought once she’d recovered from the accident that left her parents dead. Blinking back tears, she smiled thinking about how proud they’d be that she’d found her niche. They’d been worried, at one point, that she never would.
Here I am, she thought, watching as her bartenders did a combined version of the type of drink art that became popular with “Cocktail” then “Coyote Ugly”. She employed both male and female tenders, hoping to make ALL her customers find something they liked to look at. And she made sure that she looked the part as well, wearing the tight-fitting and somewhat revealing clothes that young people coming to a bar like hers would expect to see, especially one in such a warm climate.
Tonight her long hair, which when loose hung almost to her waist, was in a long braid hanging over her shoulder and down her chest. Her skinny jeans were artfully cut, and hung low on her hips, while her tank top was cut to show off the lace of her bra and just the right amount of cleavage. She would never expect any employee to wear anything they weren’t comfortable in, and she wouldn’t wear it if she wasn’t either. Her shoes were wedge heels, not too high, but showing both her toenails and the tattoos on the top of her feet.
“Li-Li!” Her manager, and best friend Ali screamed from behind the bar, drawing her attention. “Come on, it’s TIME!”
Li-li as her bestie called her rushed to the bar and used a bar stool to help her hop onto the bar. Hoots went up from the other bartenders and the customers gathered around. Sliding to the other side, and stepping up beside Ali, she yelled out, grabbing a bottle. “Whose first for body shots?!”
Crowley felt the three men he’d walked in with tense at the charged atmosphere of the bar. The whooping and cheering was centered around the actual bar area, so they moved forward. It had taken longer than he’d wished, to gain their trust. Yet, three years seemed nothing, now that they were here. He could feel the pull of her, and knew if he could feel it, then other entities could as well.
“Where is she?” John Winchester growled, glancing over the heads of exuberant college coeds and guys who he wished he could push out of the way. Crowley had only told them the minimum, that there was a young woman who needed protection. He felt like it could be a trap, but felt the tension ease when Crowley pointed her out.
“The one with the braid, on top of the bar.” The King of Hell said, gesturing toward his daughter with his chin.
They all watched as she poured a shot of tequila for a young man and placed a slice of lime between the lips of a prone woman on the bar. She was standing on the bar, grinning and leading the crowd with chants of “SHOT SHOT SHOT!” The guy licked a stripe of skin on the girl’s exposed midriff and Li-Li shook a bit of salt on the dampened skin. Then salt, shot, lime, which turned into a kiss for the lucky guy and girl.
She gave the bottle to another young bartender standing behind the bar, and jumped down. The new bartender was a guy, and she shouted, “NEXT!” as she walked away. Moving toward her office, she was grinning as she walked right past Crowley and the Winchesters. Her hips were swaying and she walked with the confidence of a young woman who knew she was attractive and rich.
“Her name is Lilana Monahan,” Crowley was saying, ignoring the three men watching his daughter pass with rapt attention. He had to, otherwise he’d end up making a puddle of goo out of the three of them. “She has a potent pull to both demons and angels alike.”
“Why?” Dean gasped, losing sight of her as she walked through a door and closed it. “I mean,” he cleared his throat and tried to sound natural. “She looks like a regular hot chick.”
Crowley held back a growl. “Let’s just say she’s special.” He managed, thinking giving over the care of his daughter to these three was going to be harder than he thought. He tried remembering Abigail, her last words, the promise and calmed down a bit. “The only people she’s safe with, or will be safe with, are you three.”
“And you know that, how?” Sam asked, raising an eyebrow, and not as struck by his daughter as the other two. Struck, but not dumbfounded.
“Moose,” Crowley answered, turning away and pinching the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger, “she’s special, you’re her guardians, I know, that’s all you have to know.”
John shook his head. “I have to agree with the boy, Crowley.” He said, shaking again to get the image of her tight curved ass out of his head as she strutted past. “Gonna have to know how you know we’re it.”
Crowley sighed. Nothing was ever easy with hunters, especially these hunters. “Fine.” He stalked off to a booth far away from the loud party at the front of the bar. “Sit and I’ll explain.”
LI-Li was sitting in her office, tapping at her computer when the door opened and Ali walked in. Her best friend waited until she was finished typing in the last order and hitting send. She smiled and looked up. “Why are you hovering by the door?” She asked and pointed at the comfy seat in front of the desk.
“Cause it’s closing time and you’re locked away in here like Scrooge.” Ali said, sitting down and propping up her feet. “I wanted to check in with you before heading out.” The grin on her face told Li-LI everything.
Rolling her eyes, she sat back in her own chair. “Tell me you carded him first?” She asked, worried that one day she’d have to bail her bestie out of jail for statutory.
Ali laughed. “Met me at the bar, he’s of age.” She assured, and still looked like the cat that ate the canary. “While you’ve been in here counting profits, the rest of us are out there enjoying the human interaction.”
Li-Li giggled. “If I don’t count the profits, then you guys won’t get the right bonus for one of our BIGGEST weeks! As for human interaction,” she rolled her eyes again. “You know I prefer a more mature vintage.”
Ali groaned. “Then you REALLY should have been out there tonight.” She leaned forward, after dropping her feet back to the floor. “FOUR older guys, all various stages of HOT were out there, and let me tell you, Li-Li, they ALL watched you walk in here like they wanted to worship at your altar.” She wiggled her eyes at her friend in the worst version of innuendo ever.
Li-Li chuckled. “You’re horrible.” She sighed then, “I have TOO much work to do. Between here and the restaurant.”
“All work and no play,” Ali warned, standing and heading for the door. “I’ll think of you while I’m-”
“EW,” Li-Li groaned and grimaced. “Don’t, don’t EVER think of me during your debauchery!” She shooed Ali out as her friend’s laughter echoed behind her. She turned back to the computer and opened the tab for the restaurant. She had to place an order for supplies, then hopefully, she could head home before four o’clock.
EARLIER~ AFTER LILANE HAD ENTERED HER OFFICE
A waitress came to the booth and took their orders. She had been friendly, but not overly so, clearly Lilana had trained her staff to be good at service, but not overly open to anything more. Once she returned with their drinks, Crowley felt three pairs of eyes on him. Sighing, he took a drink of the high end scotch he’d ordered and thought about what to tell them. Feeling at a loss, he realized the truth would have to be it.
“She’s my daughter.” He said, barely loud enough to be heard over the noise of the bar.
John blinked, shocked clearly. Dean choked on his drink and Sam studied him. “Why does that make her so special?” Moose asked, clearly the smart one.
“Because, Moose, her mother was an angel. Literally.” He said, meeting Sam’s eyes. He could feel the tension return, to himself as well as the three men he sat with. “Abigail, she liked to be called Abigail.” He felt the pain of her loss still, he tried to not think about her, but that was impossible. Like not breathing when you’re a human, thinking of her was just natural, and fighting against it was unbearable.
“What does that make her?” Dean asked the question directed at his father.
John squinted at his drink trying to think if he’d ever heard of such a pairing in his life. “I don’t know.” He answered, biting his lip. “I’ve never heard of it happening.”
“Because it never has,” Crowley answered. “Her mother and I, it’s forbidden, and not in the usual way.” He closed his eyes and tried desperately not to think about that day. “Abigail evaporated the day Lilana was born. Gone. That was her punishment for simply loving me.”
He could hear Sam gulp. “She died?”
Crowley met Sam’s eyes, “No, Moose, she didn’t die. She ceased to exist, period.”
“They don’t know about her.” John said, not a question, because he knew if the mother was removed, they wouldn’t have left the child if they knew.
“No, they don’t. There were ways to conceal that at least.” Crowley confirmed. “Abigail knew, she knew that Lilana would end up becoming irresistible to everything. I truly don’t know how, but she knew. She made me promise to keep her safe, and part of that was leaving her on Earth. Her mortal guardians, her adopted parents died three years ago.”
“When you came to help us,” Dean nodded, realizing that was why he’d been buttering them up.
“Yes,” Crowley answered, continuing. “Abigail also told me that the three of you would be her safest allies. And-” He stopped, closing his eyes against the pain of the promise he’d made as the love of his existence had known she was leaving forever. “Let’s say, you’re not only protecting her.”
John squinted at Crowley, he didn’t like how that sounded. “No.” He answered, standing up and about to walk away. “The whole story, or we’re out.”
“Sit, Winchester.” Crowley growled, hating that this useless human was important to his daughter’s livelihood. “Fine, fine.” He said, trying to pacify the patriarch. “The WHOLE story is this: my daughter is going to save all three of you. Not from monsters, demons, or angels, but from something deep inside of each of you.” He closed his eyes and sighed again. “Her mother wasn’t specific, she just said her Grace would make right that which was wrong.” He opened his eyes to see that John had fallen back into his chair. “Angels, they’re always cryptic, even when they’re dying.” The pain clutching his heart made the joke sound wrong even to himself.
THREE THIRTY IN THE MORNING
Li-Li walked through the empty bar, making sure that her staff had locked everything up nice and tight. She knew they were great people, but Spring Break was rowdy and everyone enjoyed themselves a little much. Everything seemed in order, so she walked to the back door so she could get to her car easier. Locking the door behind her, she beeped her car even as she felt a cold chill go down her spine.
She glanced around her, and saw nothing. Walking briskly to her car, she opened the door and jumped in, closing and locking the door behind her. She looked at herself in the rear view mirror as she started the car and laughed. Jumpy, aren’t you, she thought. Pulling the car out of the employee parking lot, she headed home, wanting nothing more than a hot bath, some breakfast, and sleep.
Dean and Sam sat in the Impala and watched from the lot next door to the bar as Lilana rushed to her car and jumped inside. Dean chuckled, wondering if she was always so skittish. Remembering her on top of the bar, her tank showing the impressive curve of her breast as she poured that body shot made him think not. And she’d walked past them with that swagger. Definitely not jumpy.
He started the car and followed her home. He wondered what Crowley meant about her saving them. It wasn’t like they needed fixing, did they?
Sam was lost in his own thoughts. He had to admit, he had been somewhat let down by the fact that they hadn’t seen her again in the bar. While he wasn’t really into the whole rowdy bar scene, she’d been pretty impressive in holding the crowd in awe. She was tiny, even compared to the rest of the men in his family. Tiny, but with all the right curves. And the confidence that she sent off in waves, damn.
Trailing her from the bar to her house on the beach, the boys noticed their dad’s truck parked down the street from her driveway. They drove past her turn in, and pulled in behind his truck. Watching from their new spot, they saw her open her front door and disappear inside. Once she was out of sight, they got out of the car and went to the driver’s side of the truck. Their dad was writing in his journal when they tapped on the door.
“Just writing down what we know so far,” John offered, putting down the book and looking at his boys. “Do you think we can trust him?” He felt like he’d asked that a lot lately. Or for the past three years.
Dean sighed, and shrugged, but Sam’s answer was firm. “Yes.” They both looked at him. “You two didn’t watch him when he told us who she was to him. He cares for her, he’s terrified of losing her, even if he wasn’t there physically for her.” He shut his eyes wanting to explain what he’d seen flash across the demon who insisted on calling him ‘Moose’. “I’ve never seen Crowley show that much weakness, that much pain flash across his face.” He’d seen it, when he spoke of the angel he’d loved. “He lost the mother, he won’t lose the daughter, even if it means putting her in our protection.”
Dean nodded, he could admit he wasn’t watching Crowley during the story. He’d been too shocked at the thought of Crowley and an angel making the hot chick he’d watched on the bar to focus on much else. “It makes sense that he’d only do it for her, because let’s face it, he’s hated us forever.”
John glanced at the house she’d walked into, “How are we going to do this?” He was honestly at a loss. Innocents were usually IN danger when they met them, but she wasn’t, not yet anyway. “How do we insert ourselves in her life?”
The silence surrounded the three men as they all considered what would work best.
THREE DAYS LATER
Lilana was stretching behind the bar. It was still early, so there weren’t too many customers, even for the last day of Spring Break. She was trying to get rid of a knot in her neck, but everything she was trying wasn’t working, and she really needed to do inventory today.
“You look tense,” a deep voice said from a seat at the bar. She looked up into green eyes, and smiled.
“Not tense,” she answered, trying again to roll her neck and get the cramp to release. “Fell asleep at my desk last night, and now, my fucking neck feels like it’s been in a vice.” She groaned, putting down her clipboard and clasping her hands before stretching them above her head. She was rewarded with a crack in her tight shoulder, but her neck still fucking hurt.
Dean watched as her t-shirt, loose but not long, rose to show a swatch of skin at her midsection when she stretched her arms high. He swallowed hard, thinking her skin must be soft and had to fight a moan. Her shirt was low cut, clearly utilizing her assets to her advantage, but she looked comfortable too. She was wearing shorts today, and her feet were in flip flops.
“Slept here?” He asked, forcing his eyes on her face, and happy to see her eyes were closed as she kept working to get her neck back to full force. He knew she’d slept here, his dad had camped in the damn truck next door after all. “Now why would you do that?”
Li-Li smiled as she opened her eyes, wondering who this attentive stranger was, but thinking he was harmless. “Balancing the books. It’s not the most stimulating activity.” She nodded at his beer bottle. “Ready for another?” He shook his head and took a sip. “I’m Li-Li, by the way, owner of this shipwreck of a bar.”
Dean smiled and held out his hand. “Dean Winchester.” Her hand touched his and he felt a charge run through him. Jesus, he thought, looking into her eyes. Her head was tilted as she held his hand, as though she felt it, but was trying to figure out what it meant. He pulled his hand away and ran it through his hair with a chuckle. “If you want, I could give your neck a try.” He didn’t know why he was offering, he sounded awkward and weird. Like Sam.
Li-Li shrugged and walked around to the other side of the bar. “Why not?” She asked, moving her loose hair out of the way. “Anything if it gets the kink out of there and I can go back to inventory without pain.”
Dean licked his lips and gently touched her skin. He could feel the tight spot immediately, as though it were a magnet to his hands. He kneaded her skin, working until the tightness left and feeling the charge rush through him with every contact. She moaned as the pain left her and his pants suddenly felt too tight. His mouth went dry and he thought about how she’d sound moaning his name. When he’d massaged the knot away, she turned around and he dropped his hands to the bar.
“Wow,” she sighed, rolling her shoulders and turning her head easily now. “Might have to keep you around, Dean.” She smiled up at him and licked her bottom lip. “You have magic hands.”
She walked back around the bar and picked up her clipboard again. “Anytime,” he finally answered almost breathlessly, the distance between them making it a bit easier to uncloud his mind. He took a long pull from his beer and she handed him another.
“On the house,” she said, moving back to her work. “And more than worth the price.” She winked at him and he gulped.
Dear Chuck, he thought, watching her move back and forth. Save him? More like trying to ruin his mental state. When it was Sam’s turn to take over the watch, Dean didn’t know if he was happy to leave or tortured by it. He rushed to the house Crowley provided for their use to take a LONG cold shower. He had a feeling the shower, the cold water, was going to become his constant companion after his time in her presence. He had to think that the King of Hell would kill him if he went so far as to act on the want he had for his daughter, and while she was hot, being tortured in Hell was not something he’d care to experience again.
Sam couldn’t understand what happened to make Dean rush out like his hair was on fire, but as he took a seat at the same booth they’d sat in the first night in the bar, he found himself mesmerized by the sight of Lilana working the crowd again.
She was having a blast, or at least she looked like she was. Standing on the bar, she held the trigger of the soda gun and blasted the overheated coeds and frat boys with the water spray. Cheers and laughter followed as she hopped carefully down and helped her bartenders with orders. Tossing the bottles of liquor like an expert, she managed two drinks to each one they made.
After the crowd was caught up she started to walk away from the bar area, but was stopped by a tall blonde woman who pointed in his direction. Sam felt her green eyes laser focus on him and he wondered if he’d been made. She sashayed through the crowd to his table and he found himself unable to look away.
“Hi!” She said, sliding in across from him. “Ali, the manager of my fine establishment tells me you’re becoming a regular, so I thought I’d introduce myself.” Holding her hand out across the table, careful of his drink, she offered her name. “Li-Li Monahan, owner.”
Her smile made a knot form in his stomach. Taking her hand he felt a current run through him. Her head tilted to study him and he realized she felt it too. And, from the look on her face, she didn’t understand it any better than he did. “Sam Winchester.” He offered, not even noticing he used his real name.
“Winchester?” She asked, her head straightening. Her hand pulled from his and she strangely touched her neck. “Related to a ‘Dean’?” Li-Li’s eyebrow raised in curiosity.
Sam nodded, licking his lips nervously. “He’s my brother actually.” He looked away, taking a drink out of his glass. “He told me about this place.”
She squinted at him and wondered if Ali was right. If she was, then he’d been one of the “older guys” that had come in a couple nights ago. The ones that wanted to “worship at her altar”. Older, she scoffed to herself. He was maybe a year older than her and Ali, maybe. She had to fight an eye-roll. Seriously had to tell her best friend to start asking for IDs for all her hookups. “He told you about it? That’s strange, my manager told me she noticed the two of you in here for the first time together, just three nights ago.”
Sam wanted to smack his head on the table in front of him. Shit, they’d been noticed. “He told me he read about you guys on TripAdvisor.” He offered lamely. “So we came in together, and both liked it so much.” Chuck, throw me a damn bone here.
Li-Li chuckled. “Sure, ok.” She leaned a little forward, her breasts squeezing together and sitting almost on top of the table. “Just don’t be a weird stalker, please?” She grinned and slid back out of the booth. “Have a nice night, Sam Winchester.”
He watched as her hips swayed as she walked away. Closing his eyes, he tried to get the image of her breasts looking like a feast on the table top in front of him. If Crowley had any idea he was even entertaining those kinds of ideas, well, he’d be a puddle of blood and viscera on the floor.
John was in the parking lot, waiting for her to end the day. He watched as she locked up and glanced at his watch. It was nearly four in the morning. She kept late hours, and she kept early hours. Dean had told him she was the one to open the bar every day so far. How she was maintaining that kind of schedule and still look like-
He closed his eyes, opening them when he heard her car start. Stop thinking about how she looked, you idiot, he told himself. Willing down the rush of lust he felt when he so much as glanced at the younger woman. Pulling out a safe distance behind her and keeping her in sight for the drive to her house, he settled in to the spot he’d picked as his on that first night. He picked up his journal once he watched her carefully get inside.
For the hundredth time, he wished he could confer with ANYONE in the hunter community about what Lilana could possibly BE. He knew he couldn’t. From what he had found out from careful sleuthing and snooping, she was innocent. Her businesses were on the up and up. She gave heavily to charity, she paid her employees well. She was a good- well he didn’t know what she was, but she was good.
He was letting his boys do the interior watch. He felt like he’d stick out like a sore thumb in her bar, especially this week. Old, grizzled men do not go into bars down here during Spring Break unless they’re perverts. At least that was the excuse he was using with Dean and Sam. Inside, John was worried that he’d show too much interest and scare the shit out of her.
Scare the shit out of her and get the King of Hell pissed off. He’d had enough bad luck with demons, having Crowley want his blood would be one thing too many. And so, while Dean and Sam got some rest, he’d sit outside watching from a careful distance. It didn’t always stop the thoughts from intruding. Like how her mouth would taste, what her voice sounded like, how her skin would feel. He fought them like Hell, but they’d rush in when he least expected them. And he’d feel the tightness, a tightness he hadn’t really truly felt since Mary.
When the pressure built, he’d get out of the truck and walk down the street, past her house. Then back to the truck. He could see the house Crowley put them in from his spot, but since they were protecting her he couldn’t make himself watch from there. He knew his boys watched during the night, but he felt that he HAD to be here. Nearer, even if it was nowhere near enough.
HELL: THAT SAME DAY/NIGHT
Crowley felt concerned. He wasn’t finding time to keep up with the Winchesters while they were watching Lilana and he was twitching with the need for an update. Surely they’d call him if there was danger? Wouldn’t they?
He was having problems concentrating on the meeting he was currently sitting through. What were these idiots babbling on about? He tried to focus, but all he could see was his daughter. Happy, vibrant, and so unlike her mother. At least unlike her mother at the end. He flinched at the thought of those final moments. Since Li-Li, as he knew she preferred to be called, had lost the humans he’d chosen to raise her, every time he tried to rest he felt forced to relive it.
If his eyes closed for more than a few seconds, he was back in the house he’d thought had enough protection to keep Abigail from the attention of the angels. He watched as she gave birth to the fruits of their love, a tiny precious bundle of a baby girl who wailed as soon as the air touched her. It had been as though she knew how dangerous the world would be for her. He heard Abigail’s voice, urging him that he didn’t know just how truly dangerous it would be for their little one. Telling him that she would be like a magnet for any and all supernatural beasts. Making him promise to keep her safe, to hide her among humans, to find the Winchesters when she was found. Binding him to the promise, and then her voice had changed. Gone was the quiet, breathy voice he knew her for and in its place came her divine one. She told him that in their protection their daughter would truly bloom, and in repayment her love and Grace would save them in return. Save them from the horrors that hollowed them and ruled them. Then, coming back to herself, Crowley watched as terror flowed over her face and without another word she burned away. Completely gone, with Lilana wiggling in his arms, quiet as soon as her mother had begun to speak, he was broken by the loss of Abigail.
He would blink himself back to wherever he was once the memory was over. Allowing it to loop would be even more torture, more pain. He’d been able to control his temper with whomever was in his presence at the time. Unless, of course, they’d noticed he had fade out and away from them. That kind of knowledge would be dangerous to his daughter. That kind of knowledge could be shared. If they noticed, and he was always able to tell, then the consequences were harsh. He’d raze Hell to keep Lilana safe. He’d raze the world.
A WEEK AFTER SPRING BREAK~FRIDAY
Lilana was doing a final check of the bar when she heard a strange noise. Like a chair coming down from one of the tables where her staff had placed them when they cleaned up at the end of the night. Then another sound, like a bottle opening and a glass being filled. She walked from the backdoor, coming back into the main room and was surprised to be confronted with one of the table lights turned on and a figure sitting calmly at a table.
“What the hell?” She breathed, coming closer, even though she realized it was probably stupid. “Who are you? And what are you doing here?” She called, when she was within touching distance.
“Who am I?” The man whispered, staring up at her with totally black eyes. “What am I doing here?” It seemed like he himself was attempting to work it out as much as she was. He took a drink from the glass he’d filled from a bottle of Jack Daniels.
Li-Li could feel herself shaking, but she couldn’t drop her gaze from his. Why were his eyes so completely black? “Answer me or I’ll call the police.” Her voice was steady, and she was thankful for that at least.
He laughed, harsh and cruel. “The police? Humans stand no chance against me.” He stood and loomed over her. “I don’t know what I’m doing here, little one, all I know is that I was DRAWN here. Drawn to you.” He reached out, but she stepped back away from his touch. “What are you, little one? I think that’s the more important question.”
John was waiting outside, in the neighboring lot. He was waiting for her to come out so he could follow her home. Dean and Sam were making progress inside. She was warming to them, although she seemed to be holding them at arms length. The boys weren’t totally buying his excuses for doing the outside watch, but he couldn’t risk it. Risk scaring her.
He heard a scream come from the direction of her bar and his heart lurched. He yanked open the truck’s door and rushed toward the building, wondering how he’d explain his appearance, but then another scream came and he didn’t care. At the back door, he realized she’d already unlocked it, so gaining entry wasn’t difficult.
Inside the dark back room, he took a beat to gain his bearings. He moved as fast as he could, but as quiet as possible too. Another scream, and he realized it couldn’t be her. It was a male voice, so he moved a little faster, wondering what the Hell he’d be walking into. As he came out of the darkness of the backroom, he found her standing stock still in a circle of light cast from one of the table lamps. Cowering in front of her was a man, clearly the source of the screams. He could see that she was shaking, so he walked carefully closer.
“I’m sorry,” she was saying, trying to reach out for the cowering man, but he was screaming in terror again. “I’m sorry, I don’t know what happened. Please, let me help you?”
John’s presence was noticed by the crouching man, and he was shocked when the man crawled toward him, drawing her attention to him. The man clutched at John’s jeans, pleading with him. “Please, please get me out of here, away from HER.” He pointed with one hand at Lilana, and hid his face when she turned.
John realized why the man was so frightened. Her eyes were a blinding white, tinged in blue. She blinked and the light died, turning back to an almost translucent green. “I’m sorry,” she pleaded, “I don’t know what happened. Please help him.” She swayed on her feet and then crashed to the floor in a faint.
Once John managed to calm the man down, calling his sons to come to the bar at ASAP, he approached Lilana. She was breathing normally, but he still worried. He’d never seen that brightness before. Angels’ eyes were bright, but this was nearly blinding. And the swoon she had afterward, he had so many questions. The boys were there in no time, helping the man outside and trying to understand what happened from his point of view. John crouched beside her, moving her hair from her face and hoping she wasn’t damaged.
She moaned and started to come to. He started to move, but her hand reached for his and he felt like he’d touched a live wire. He couldn’t take his hand away if he tried. Her eyes blinked open and he was happy to see that they were her normal shade. “What-” she blinked, squinting against some pain she felt, “what happened to that man?”
John smiled, she was hurt, yet still worried about the guy who probably broke into her bar. “He’s fine. He’s outside and he’s alright.” He sat beside her, letting their hands stay linked. “What happened here?” He asked, wanting her side.
She tried to sit up, but groaned at the pain in her head. “I was locking up, like every night.” Her free hand moved to rub against a knot on the back of her head. “I was about to leave when I heard a noise. Like someone was making themselves at home in my bar.” Her voice went from pained to irritated. “When I came in here, he was sitting here drinking. His eyes,” irritation turned to fear. “They were completely black and he kept asking me what I was.” She blinked and lowered her hand from her head. “He reached for me, then there was a vapor and he was screaming. So much screaming.” She threw her head back against the floor and winced. “Damn it, that fucking hurt.”
“Let me help you up,” John whispered, pulling her gently to her feet. She wobbled, still weak and maybe with a concussion. As she faltered, he took her into his arms. “Carefully, you hit your head pretty hard when you fainted.” And didn’t help matters when you banged your head again, he thought. “Let me get you outside.”
“I need to lock up,” she said, arguing against leaving her bar unprotected. “Not that it helped against whatever that man was.”
John chuckled, thinking that if she could be so indignant about that then she wasn’t too hurt. “We’ll make sure you’re all locked up.”
“We?” She asked, handing him her keys. “There’s more than just you?”
As they exited the building through the door he came in, he found Dean and Sam waiting. He felt her chuckle. “What’s funny, darlin’?” He asked, handing her to Dean as he turned to lock the door.
“More of you. Let me guess? Oldest Winchester brother?” She giggled, and swayed in Dean’s arms. “Jesus, how many of you are there?”
John grinned, his dimple coming out. Oldest brother? She was flirting in her condition. Fuck. “I’m their dad, girl.” He turned and watched as her smile held. “You can’t drive yourself in this condition.”
She nodded, clearly not feeling well enough to fight. “Probably not, my head is thumping.” She gestured to the keys in his hand. “Beep the locks and let’s get on the road.” Pulling out of Dean’s arms, she sauntered toward her car, the three pairs of Winchester eyes watching her hips sway.
John tossed Sam the keys to the truck and followed her with a shrug. He rushed past her, she was still moving a little slow, and opened the passenger door for her. He waited until she was safely seated and closed the door. He jogged around the car and climbed into the driver’s seat. Her head was back against the seat and her seat belt was buckled, but he could tell she was losing her fight against staying conscious
“Come on, you gotta stay awake for me, ok?” He saw her nod, but her eyes were closed. “I know it hurts, honey, but seriously, you gotta keep those eyes open.” He touched her knee and felt that same rush as earlier. Her eyes flashed open and he smiled. “That’s a good girl.” Removing his hand, he started the car and drove onto the street.
“How did you know?” She asked, watching him as he drove her home.
He glanced over confused. “Know what?”
“Which way to turn to get to my house?” Her voice was quiet, and he realized he hadn’t asked her the address. Shit.
“Um.” He licked his lips and felt her shift closer to him. “I-uh-”
“Guessed?” She asked, her voice closer than he expected. “Have you three been watching me?”
He closed his eyes briefly, gathering his thoughts. Fuck it, tell the truth. “We wanted to make sure you were safe.”
“Safe?” She chuckled, and raised her hand back to the back of her head. “Did someone hire you to watch me? Or are you professional stalkers?”
“Your dad hired us.” His voice was quiet, but he wanted to make her know they weren’t perverts.
“My sperm donor, you mean.” She scoffed. “My dad died three years ago, after all.”
“You know?” John wondered how much she knew.
Li-Li smiled. “Of course I know. My parents didn’t lie.” She leaned back in her seat again, knowing they’d be at her house soon. “So my sperm donor hired you? Does he want something?” She was obviously worried that Crowley was going to expect something from her that she may not want to give. “I mean, I am rich, so-”
John chuckled, “no, he doesn’t want your money, darlin’.” He sighed, and glanced at her as he pulled into her driveway. “He just wants to be sure you’re safe.” He turned the car off and turned to her. “He’s got his own resources.” Demons of Hell for one. “Let’s get you inside, then you can decide who gets to watch over you. Can’t be alone with a bump like that.”
The truck and Impala pulled in behind her car and they all trooped to the front door. She waited until John found the right key, and then realized that they had to be warned. “Um, be careful when you open the door, Lolly might get out.”
“Lolly?” John asked, turning to her before cracking the door, and then they all heard it, barking and nails against hardwoods. “Ah, your dog?”
She smiled and moved past him to open the door. “Yep,” as the door opened, the fluffiest poof of a big dog rushed to her and started dancing around her. “Lolly, my big fluffy baby.” She snuggled her face against the curls of the dog and smiled as she gave her face a sloppy kiss. “Come on in,” she smiled up at them and the three men stared at the daughter of the King of Hell cuddling a dog and smiling like an angel.
The three Winchester men were even more shocked once Lilana ushered them further into her home. It was a mix of modern sleek, and feminine comfort. The entire back wall of her home was glass, it seemed, overlooking her back yard, fenced carefully so her dog could come and go as she pleased, but still the view of the ocean and beach could be seen. The living room was lined with that glass, broken only by a sliding glass door that held a dog door that her huge fluffy ball could fit through.
The rooms had art, but it was soft and simple. A floral scene there, a swipe of color there. Her furniture was well made, clearly quality, but also comfortable. This wasn’t a showpiece of a house, it was a home. Lilana gestured for them to take a seat, while she opened the sliding glass door so a soft breeze could be felt even with the central air cooling the room. She took one of the plush chairs and her hand went to the back of her head almost absently.
“Does it still hurt?” John asked, breaking through the silence that was only accompanied by the crash of waves.
She nodded, her hand grazing a sizable bump. “How long do I have to stay awake?” She asked, feeling more tired than she ever had. “And I’m hungry, are you guys hungry?” She made to stand, but a wave of dizziness overcame her, forcing her to sit back down.
Dean moved closer and felt the back of her head. Whistling lightly, he looked at his brother and dad. “It’s a big lump.” He could feel that same wave of current run through his hand touching her head. “Definitely concussion causing.”
John sighed, and leaned forward in his seat, causing her to look his way. “I’m sorry, sweetheart, but you’re gonna be pulling an all-niter.” He looked at his sons, and back to her. “We can get you something to eat, and one of us will keep you company.” He was letting her choose, both food and one of them.
Sighing, Li-Li leaned back in her chair, forcing Dean’s hand to fall. “My house is huge, so why can’t all of you stay?” Her eyes were slitting shut, so Dean touched her arm bringing her back to wide open. “As for food? There’s some pizza left in the fridge from yesterday, I think.” She tried to remember if there was enough for all of them. “There’s actually a ton of leftovers, pick whatever, I’d eat a horse right now.”
Sam went in the direction that she pointed to for the kitchen while Dean and John stayed with her in the living room. Lolly rushed in from her trip outside and jumped on the sofa beside John. She leaned her heavy furry body against his and tapped him with her paw. Li-Li chuckled as John hesitantly touched the dog’s head.
“She’s a softie,” she whispered, her eyes drooping again, even as her stomach rumbled. “And she’s not shy about getting what she wants either.” Dean’s hand touched hers and the current brought her back to full wakefulness. “Sorry, I’m just so tired.” A yawn escaped and she fought against it. “I’ve been up since six this morning.”
“Why?” John asked, his hand running through the soft curls of the dog. “I mean, why don’t you delegate more to your management?”
Li-Li chuckled. “I do, actually.” They were looking at her with disbelief. “I own the bar, a restaurant not far from it, and a couple properties that I rent out to other businesses.” That shocked them. “My manager at the bar is my best friend, Ali.” A smile crossed her lips. “She’s great, but she’s also a typical young woman. She manages my bar because she likes the perks of finding hot hookups.” She sighed. “I haven’t found anyone I trust with the bar. There are so many laws dealing with the sale of alcohol, if I choose wrong, then I lose my business. That’s why I don’t delegate that one.”
“Makes sense,” Dean answered, keeping her hand in his, the current seemed to keep her focused and awake. “The hours, couldn’t those be a little less aggressive?”
Li-Li nodded. “They usually are, but this has been the busiest Spring Break we’ve had, and that means inventory, orders, lots of payroll.” She rolled her eyes. “I’m tired, but usually I have less on my plate with the bar. Hell, normally I even get to visit my other businesses.” She chuckled. “And of course, this had to be the week that I ended up with this big fucking bump on my damn head.”
John watched her and Dean and wondered if maybe, just maybe his oldest son had found his partner in life. Even if Lilana was Crowley’s daughter, he couldn’t deny the young woman was an amazing person. He knew of her other businesses, they all did, but she was so connected to the bar. She had been since they’d arrived anyway, that it was hard to think of her in connection with the others. Dean needed someone steady, someone who could help him ground his wildness.
A sting of pain flashed through John’s heart at the thought of Lilana with Dean. Like hearing the girl you liked didn’t want you, but was totally into your best friend. He contemplated that, when Sam returned and announced that he’d reheated some food and had it waiting in the kitchen.
Dean stood up and offered Li-Li a hand. She took it and stood, feeling slightly sturdier.
They ate, a little of this, a little of that, just like she’d said. When they asked if she’d made any of it she’d laughed, and they all stopped to appreciate the music of it. Shaking her head she took a drink of her water.
“I can cook, but this-” She held up the dish she’d been eating, a chicken in white wine, lemon, and dried tomatoes, and shook her head again. “This came from my restaurant. Actually, other than the pizza, it all did.” She shrugged and took another bite, making a sound that would have been indecent if it wasn’t so purely appreciated. “My chef is amazing.”
The noise she made had John shifting in his seat. Fuck, if she made that kind of noise over a bite of chicken, he thought, what kind would she make- He shut his eyes and forced that thought away. She was around his son’s age, for fuck’s sake. He cleared his throat and took a bite out of the pasta Sam had reheated. She was right, it was pretty damn good. He felt her attention on him, and looked up to see that she was watching him with the same intensity he’d been thinking of her with.
“It’s good, isn’t it?” She asked, clearly speaking to him. She licked her lip and he nearly came from just the voice and that one gesture. Shit. “I swear, that man deserves a raise.” As do I, John thought, as do I.
They all went back to their food, Lolly begging each one in turn, and Li-Li telling them what the dog could and couldn’t sample. Once the food was pretty well gone, she stood to clean up, but Dean stopped her. “I’ll take care of this, you go on back in the other room and find something that will keep you awake for the night.” She started to argue, but he just shook his head.
“Fine,” she said, smiling through the glare. “Anyone up for Trivial Pursuit?”
Trivial Pursuit. John would laugh, but Li-Li was proving better at it with a concussed head than Sam at full strength. Another admirable trait, if only he wasn’t so fucking competitive. After the third game she beat them in no time flat and he eyed her with suspicion.
“How often have you played this?” He asked, tapping the box of trivia cards and squinting at the giggling young woman.
She smirked at him and his heart lurched. “A time or two.” Then she winked at him. “Why-ever do you ask, John?” She was trying too hard to sell her innocence.
“Boys,’ he announced, gaze never leaving hers, “we’ve been had.” He tried to fight his smile, but knew he lost when hers grew. “She’s a fucking trivia shark.”
Li-Li tried to fight her laughter, but couldn’t. As she laughed, John was forced to join in simply because it was so infectious. Then Sam and Dean came along for the laugh track. “Sorry,” she shrugged. “I haven’t found new victims since my parents,” she stopped and took a small breath, but her smile held. “They used to LOVE inviting friends and business colleagues over. Wow them with my brilliance. No one ever caught on, until today.”
“Could probably take you at pool though,” Dean dared, glint in his green eye.
Another wide innocent smile, she blinked her eyes slowly and worked to make it real. “If you’d like to try, the pool table is down that hall.”
Sam laughed. “Damn, Li-Li, is there a game you aren’t going to wipe the floor with our asses at?” He’d been the only one who nearly beat her at trivia, nearly but still not near enough.
She nodded. “One.” She stood up and went to the game cabinet she’d gotten the trivia box from. Pulling out a familiar box, she brought it back to the coffee table. Sitting down they all grinned. “Monopoly. It’s the only one I haven’t worked out a trick for, my parents insisted it was because I lack the ‘blood in the water shark instincts of a robber baron,” she shrugged, clearly not at all bothered by that description. “Just didn’t see the point, it’s only play money after all.”
Their game lasted until the sun peeked over the horizon. She’d been honest. At Monopoly, at least, she didn’t have the killer instinct that they did. She laughed, head propped up on her hand, as the three Winchester men argued about EVERY part of the game. She thought, at once tense part of the game, that Dean may actually strip search Sam for an accusation of stolen money. A huge yawn overtook her as the glass wall overlooking her back yard lit with sunlight.
John’s attention, never far from her, noticed. “I think it might be safe for you to try to sleep now, Li-Li, but one of us should still be in the room with you. Just in case.”
Dean stood and reached for her hands to pull her to her feet. Once standing, she took them by surprise again. “I have to leave a message for Ali. She was going to open the bar with me today anyway, but I need to tell her she’s solo. I’m taking the day off.” She noticed their raised eyebrows. “I deserve a day off, and I’m fucking exhausted.” Another yawn rolled over her as she picked up her phone. She left the briefest message possible while still reassuring her best friend that she was fine, just tired. Finished, she turned to start down the hall to her bedroom. Looking over her shoulder, she glanced at John. “Aren’t you coming? I thought I had to have supervision, after all.” She didn’t notice Sam and Dean’s open mouths at her choice.
John followed her down the hallway at a respectful distance. She opened a door and stopped. He nearly bumped into her body. “What’s wrong?” He asked, drawing back from her body.
“I forgot to tell them where they could sleep.” She turned and almost went back to the front room, but he stopped her.
“Which room?” He asked, and she pointed out two at the other end of the hallway. He nodded. “Go in and get ready for bed, sweetheart, I’ll take care of the boys.”
She smiled and went inside her room. While he was gone, she tugged off her work clothes, sighing happily at the freedom of being released from her bra. Taking a long night shirt with her into her en suite bathroom, she washed her face, brushed her teeth, and took down her hair to brush it. Then she made a loose knot on the top of her head, and stepped out of the bathroom. John was already back. She smiled at how uncomfortable he looked, just standing inside the still open door. Lolly was already on the bed.
“There’s an extra toothbrush in my bathroom, and I’m sure you want a minute to yourself.” She moved into her bedroom and climbed onto her king size mattress. “I won’t fall asleep until you’re back, I promise.” She held up her hand in a Girl Scout sign. Wondering if that would work, she also crossed her heart. She heard his chuckle and watched him shake his head.
“You don’t have to wait, just get comfortable and I’ll be right back.” He walked into the bathroom and closed the door. Alone, even if it was feet away from her, he let out a long breath. Get a grip, he silently told his reflection. She picked me because I’m the one she’s less likely to make a quick decision to touch or grab on to. I’m the least likely one for her to fall for, for fuck’s sake, look at Dean! Pep talk out of the way, he brushed his teeth, and took off his top shirt. Down to jeans and his t-shirt, he opened the door and found her lying on the bed, running her fingers through the dog’s fur. He leaned against the door frame and watched her for a moment. Tiny woman in a huge bed.
“Just gonna stand there staring or are you coming on in?” She asked, not looking up. Lolly was almost asleep, and she knew that if she stopped brushing her fingers through the big goofball’s fur, she’d be up and ready to play again.
She saw John reach for the plush chair she kept for when Ali and her were getting ready for a night out, so one of them could sit comfortably and critique the other’s outfit. She shook her head and kept one hand on Lolly, she yanked the empty side of her bed’s blankets over to expose the sheets underneath. “My bed is enormous, John, I think you can lay here and never touch a single part of me and be more comfortable than even that fucking chair.”
“I don’t think-” he started to say and heard her scoff.
“Don’t think,” she answered, her voice quiet, because Lolly was almost out. “Just get in the fucking bed.” It was playful, but still an order.
He smirked at her pull, the power she realized she had, or didn’t know, but used anyway. “If you insist.” He pushed the chair back to its original spot and kicked his shoes off. Before he could sit, she snorted.
“Always get comfortable in jeans and a belt?” Her eyes barely glanced at him, but he could hear the dare in her voice. The little minx.
Shaking his head, he slid his belt free from the buckle, and opened his jeans. Dropping them unceremoniously to the floor he stepped out of them. “Better, Princess?” He asked, waiting for confirmation before crawling on the bed.
She shrugged, but she was smirking. “You’ll thank me when we get up from my nap and you’re not feeling like your balls are going to rot off from the press of denim.” He nearly choked on his own tongue. She just casually mentioned his balls, as though it were no big deal. For fuck’s sake. “Get in bed, John.” She laid back against the fluffy pillows, her hand free from Lolly’s fur. The dog gave a gentle snore, but didn’t wake up. “She can’t sleep until I brush her hair to calm her down.” She explained, feeling the dip in the mattress as he finally got into bed. “Am I going to have to repeat that with you?”
John felt a rush of need spread through him at the mere thought of her stroking him. Anywhere. He coughed and settled against the headboard, sitting up since he was here to keep her alive, not nap. “I think that would defeat the purpose of me being in the room with you, darlin’.” His voice was raw, and he cleared his throat. “Can’t watch over you and the insides of my eyelids at the same time.”
She gave a small chuckle and it warmed him. “Aw, come on, John. I think we both know that you’re a light sleeper. You’ll hear me before I do.” She was a temptress. That was the only explanation for it. “Lay down and rest, you look as exhausted as I feel.” Another order, but far more tempting than he wanted to admit. “I promise not to die.” She crossed her heart again and he laughed.
“You’re pretty damn sure of yourself aren’t you?” His smile and those dimples, Lilana felt warm all over looking at them. She nodded and he groaned, laying flat and turning to watch her. “Better?”
She hummed and turned to face him. “Much.” Her smile was like magic, and he felt the light of it tingle through him. “I promise you’ll thank me later.” And her eyes began to droop closed, finally done fighting the exhaustion, and he thought he must have imagined her next sighed words. “After all, this is how it’s supposed to be.”
Crowley had been told that something horrible happened to one of the lower tier demons. Apparently he hadn’t checked in on his next call in, and when another underling went to check, they found his vessel wasn’t housing him any longer. The vessel rambled about being in a bar on the coast, and a young woman with glowing eyes who kept asking him if she could help him, and the terror he’d felt. Waking up at the coast, with no memory of coming, and years of his life unaccounted for.
The demon that had inhabited him was gone. Completely gone. Erased, just as Abigail had been. And now Crowley was doing damage control. Convincing his entire underling group of demons that no doubt a hunter had killed the demon with a little help from the angels. They swallowed it easily enough, but he was boiling mad.
The Winchesters had told him nothing of the attack. It had happened less than 24 hours earlier, but still, she was his daughter. The rage wasn’t going away, so he decided to drop in on them unannounced. He was shocked when he arrived, not at the house he’d provided, but one that was clearly occupied by the very daughter he didn’t want to meet. Not yet, anyway. Sam and Dean were sharing one of the guest rooms, and luckily he’d found them first, because he knew exactly where John was. And that would rush the introduction with Lilana before he prepared. He snapped his fingers and the boys were jerked away with a shock.
“Damn it, Crowley,” Dean growled, glaring at him from his pillow. “You could knock. You could call, but no, shock is the best wake up you can think of?”
Crowley laughed. “Don’t forget who I am, I could have thought of something far worse.”
Sam was blinking the sleep from his eyes. “What’s wrong?” He asked, squinting at Crowley with one eye.
“You tell me, Moose.” Crowley answered, sitting down in a very nice chair that was between the beds. “After all, you were there, I wasn’t.”
They groaned, understanding. “We weren’t actually.” Dean answered, sitting up to face him. “Dad was there. Unfortunately-”
Crowley shook his head. “I know precisely where your father is at the moment. You at least have a vague idea of what occurred. Tell me what you do know.”
And they did. What John had related, what Li-Li had offered. Crowley listened, brow furrowed. “She pushed the demon from the vessel? The demon is GONE, boys, completely erased.” He felt their shock, it mirrored his own. “And her eyes? You say John said they were completely white?”
“With a blue tinge on the outside,” Sam added. He mirrored his brother’s posture on the other bed, having sat up too. “The guy, the vessel was freaked out.”
Crowley brushed that worry aside. “The meat suit is fine. I’ve taken care of it.” He saw them shift uncomfortably. “I had his memory altered, he’s not dead.” He rolled his eyes. “So she chose John, over the two of you?” He smiled, his daughter was full of surprises. “I haven’t a clue of the importance, don’t ask me,” he could feel their curiosity. “I told you, her mother was VAGUE and cryptic, like all angels.”
In Lilana’s bedroom, John hadn’t been able to fight his own exhaustion, and not long after her eyes closed, so had his. Even in his dreams, he wasn’t without her. She was close to him, their location indistinct, her head against his chest. The feeling of calm and peacefulness was wonderful and he felt her smile. His arms held her to him, his fingers running through her hair.
“My dreams aren’t usually this peaceful,” he whispered, afraid of breaking it.
Liliana laughed, and it sounded even more musical in his dream. “Really? My dreams have always been quiet and sweet.” She tilted her head up so she could look up into his face. “At least when one of you is in them.” She sighed and put her head against his chest again. “Your heart was broken in the earlier ones, well more broken, I should say. I could feel the pain, but it was still peaceful with you.”
“You dream of me?” He asked, her hair tickling his lips.
She nodded. “All three of you, ever since I could remember.” Her answer came easily. “Although I didn’t realize it until now.” She squinted, wondering why now. “Maybe that’s why every time I touch one of you, there’s that strange tingle.”
He chuckled. “Yeah, I noticed that. Like touching a fork to an electrical outlet.” He realized he wasn’t feeling it here, in his dream.
“It’s because we’re together, without a barrier.” She answered, feeling his curiosity. “Or at least not a human barrier.” She giggled. “I don’t quite understand it, and I’m scared I’ll forget it when I wake up.”
He nodded above her. “Me too.” He let his arms tighten around her. “Before you fell asleep, you whispered something.”
“That this is how it’s supposed to be,” she smiled and looked up into his eyes again. “Can’t you feel it too?” She tilted her head. “I felt it as soon as you came into my bedroom.” She shrugged and her eyes, already so light almost glowed. “You should be next to me, John Winchester. Every night, every single time I close my eyes. That’s where you’re supposed to be.”
He felt his heart swell at her certainty. “How can you know that?” He whispered, awed at her absolute conviction. “What about Sam? What about Dean?”
She squinted her eyes, thinking. “I just know,” another shrug. “Like how do you know the sky is blue and not green? Or that the earth is round and not square? It’s just how it is. There’s proof, I’m sure, but it hasn’t been discovered yet.” It was her angelic side, he thought, the vagueness. The cryptic way she knew, but couldn’t explain. “As for Sam, and Dean for that matter. They have a place with me too, just not the same as you.” She stopped speaking and it was as though she was listening, hearing the answers that he couldn’t. “I’m sure it’ll come to me. They aren’t going to be sons to me, not like to you, but you and I, that’s where the rightness is.”
She snuggled back into his chest and he held her, allowing her peace to rush over him. Happy that, even if it were a dream, he had this at least.
Crowley watched as his daughter moved in her sleep closer to the patriarch of the Winchester family. Her cheek found John’s shirt covered chest and she sighed. Finding comfort in him, and he had to fight down the urge to force them apart. How was it that his child, his one tie to the world was more attached to this mongrel than she was allowed to be to him? Not that he wanted what she was clearly wanting from John, he wasn’t that debauched. He just wanted to be allowed to comfort her. To hold her as a father held his daughter. To tell her it would be alright, because of HIM, not these morons.
Her dog, a hellhound he’d placed inside a fluff ball she fell in love with barely moved at her side. She’d tamed a hellhound. His daughter, a hybrid the world had never seen, had tamed a hellhound into a docile puppy. She was a miracle. His miracle. And he was going to have to watch as she fell into the arms of John Winchester.
Damn you, Abigail, he thought for the very first time since Lilana had been born. Leaving me and giving me these instructions. Even if you didn’t know how disgusting and painful I’d find it, even if you couldn’t guess that I’d rise so high, even if you did this with the innocence I fell in love with, this was far too much to accept. And you knew, didn’t you, that I’d accept it? That if I loved you unlike anything I’d ever experienced, that I’d give the entire world to her on a platter. Because our daughter, our beautiful Lilana was us. She was everything that we never could be. And for that, she could have whatever her heart desires, even if it was a Winchester.
During the first breath of waking, John had a moment of trying to remember where he was and why he was so warm. He felt her fingers clutch at his shirt and in a flash he recalled. He was in Lilana’s bed and she was wrapped so tight against him that he was very thankful for the thin layer of their clothes keeping her skin and his from one another. It was helping him keep the single thread of sanity he was holding on to that was keeping him from rolling her over and getting lost in her.
And, as he lay there holding her, trying to calm down his body, he was giving thanks to his own self restraint. The dream washed over him, and he focused on that to keep his body in check. He didn’t remove his arm from where it held her. He didn’t stop his fingers from touching the softness of her skin. And he couldn’t help himself from breathing in the warm, sweet scent of her hair. He wondered if she’d remember the dream or if, as he feared, it was just a figment of what he wanted. Wanted, but was absolutely certain he didn’t deserve.
Li-Li was awake, but she knew that John needed time. She needed time to sort out what she’d experienced while they slept. It felt so real, and if it were real, then she was pretty certain that they needed a beat to come to terms with it. She could feel his fingers gliding over her arm, sparking that feeling of current that ran through her when any one of the three Winchesters touched her skin. With John, she was coming to find that there was something else, under that current, when his bare skin touched hers.
Supposed to be, she thought, snuggling closer to him. Or trying to, she was pressed so tight against him that only the fabric of their remaining clothes kept them apart. A pity, she thought, because she was quite certain that without the fabric separating them, that tingle would erupt into something that she’d never felt with another man. And possibly something he hadn’t felt with other women, not even the one at the root of his broken heart. She couldn’t stop the sigh from escaping her lips, and feeling him still above her, she knew he’d most definitely heard it.
“You awake?” His voice was raspy from sleep, and she tried to memorize it, just in case he couldn’t be convinced.
She nodded, frightened that now, in the broad light of the afternoon, he’d pull away. Push her to her own side of the bed, but it didn’t happen. If anything, his arm tightened around her a little bit more. The quiet that surrounded them wasn’t awkward, but it was charged. As though they were both trying to decide how to broach the dream. What she’d offered, what he’d felt. And then, she almost felt like she still must be dreaming, because she could swear she felt his lips brush the top of her hair. That she heard him inhale her scent, that she felt him react to her in the very way she wanted and knew they were meant to.
“Do you-” he stopped, trying to frame the question without sounding absolutely crazy. John knew he should release her from his hold, that he shouldn’t have kissed her hair, that breathing her in would only cause him more harm than good, especially if she didn’t remember. If she hadn’t actually been there. If it was truly all a dream.
Lilana tilted her head up so her chin was propped on his chest. Looking into his darkened eyes, she smiled reassuringly. “Yes, John, I remember it.” Those strange luminescent eyes of hers never leaving his. “I’m so happy that we both do.” Her smile grew. She felt such peace at knowing that they were both on the same page, even if he may not be as convinced as she was perhaps.
John couldn’t stop his hand from cupping her cheek. And there may have been a part of his brain that was telling him to fight against it when she slid up higher so their faces were inches apart, her intent as clear as his need, but he couldn’t focus on his brain. Not when her scent blanketed his senses. Not when he could see the tiny dip in her bottom lip begging to be nibbled on. Not when she was leaning in to take a kiss that he definitely needed.
Li-Li’s lips met his and that tingle, that charge was amplified a thousand times. A shared moan at the feeling and suddenly she was over top of his body, their mouths hungry, but their bodies starving. John’s hands slid down to hold her hips, as his tongue swiped into her mouth and, then she was under him. Dear God, how could it feel like this? They barely knew one another, and yet, if you asked either one, they’d swear that they were made for this, for one another.
John’s weight pressing down on hers made her feel like she was on fire. And when she held onto him and pulled him tighter against her body, he’d swear that the flames of hell were rising around them both. Far from making them stop, it only raged and pulled them closer. A knock on the door, Lolly barking at the noise, stopped them in their tracks.
John pulled himself away, reluctantly, and looked down at her sprawled under him. Her eyes, the strange green orbs looked like they were burning with need, and he could empathize. She licked her bottom lip and closed her eyes, as though savoring the very taste of him. Jesus, she’d be the death of him.
They took a moment to get themselves under some semblance of control, Li-Li calming down her dog, and John tossing on his jeans. Then, in a voice as shaky as he felt, she called out an invitation for the knocker to come in. Dean, of course it would be Dean, John thought as his eldest son came in and took a long look around the room. When they settled on him, his belt still undone, the zipper of his jeans not quite fully zipped, and Lilana’s kiss swollen lips and her hair half down, his eyes widened.
“Uh, Sam and I had a visitor while you were-” Dean stopped, struggling to decide the best finisher for the sentence. “Napping.” He nearly choked it out.
John could tell from Dean’s face exactly who the visitor had been. “I’ll be out in a minute so we can talk.” He was dismissing him, and he knew it. “Lilana needs to get-”
“Dressed,” she answered in a voice that was clearly attempting to hold back laughter. “I need to get dressed. And I’ll make us a late brunch.” She was biting her lip, trying to hold it in, but as soon as Dean walked out and closed the door she couldn’t any longer. Her laughter would have chased him down the hallway, but thankfully the walls of her house were well insulated.
John grinned down at her. “I think Dean was a bit-”
“Jealous,” she finished, smiling up at him before getting on her knees and facing him at the edge of the bed. “I don’t know why.” She shrugged, pulling John back toward her with her hands in his belt loops. She kissed his neck, up toward his ear, biting the lobe and grinning when his hands finally wrapped around her waist. “I think I was pretty clear who I found most interesting last night.” And then their lips met again and they forgot about everything for a few minutes more.
By the time that John and Li-Li left her bedroom, with Lolly galloping ahead to scratch at the glass door to go out, Dean and Sam had been back to the house they’d been staying at and gathered their things. John’s were sitting in the living room, the boys had taken their own to the room they’d chosen the night before.
Li-Li opened the glass doors, and smiled as her fluffy beast bounded out. She walked into her kitchen and started pulling pans out, prepping for brunch. She was slightly shocked that it was Sam who came to keep her company.
“Dad and Dean are discussing some stuff,” he offered with a shrug, and offered to help her.
Shaking her head, she motioned to a barstool at the island. “Have a seat and keep me company.” She was pulling out eggs, bread, cream, and then she opened a cabinet and added vanilla and cinnamon to her growing ingredients. As she worked, Sam and her talked about college, about what he’d studied, and his life before rejoining his dad and brother.
“In the private security business?” Li-Li guessed, because she wasn’t entirely sure what precisely the three of them did for a living. Sam was silent and she shot him a look. As she beat eggs, added cream, cinnamon, and sugar, she waited him out.
He sighed, “I’m not sure I’m the best person to explain what we do.” She could see his discomfort, and was about to press the issue when John and Dean joined them.
“What smells so good?” Dean asked, taking a stool next to Sam.
Li-Li grabbed a loaf of bread from another cabinet. “French toast.” Heating a pan and adding butter, she started dipping slices of bread to the beaten egg mixture and sliding them into the hot pan. Sizzling sounds and the scent of cinnamon and vanilla filled the air. While she kept an eye on the toast, she grabbed whipped cream, fresh strawberries, blueberries, and syrup. Managing to keep the toast frying, taking out the perfectly browned slices and adding them to a plate that she kept putting in the oven, which she’d set for keeping them warm, she cut the strawberries after washing them.
John watched her move through her kitchen with complete comfort and confidence. The smell of the French toast mingled with the scent of fresh strawberries, and he felt a rumble of appreciation bubble in his stomach.
“Hey,” she offered to him, where he was leaning against the island. “Want to make coffee for you three?”
He smiled and she pointed out where he could find the coffee, and he was happy to see she didn’t own a complicated machine. With the added aroma of coffee, the entire kitchen smelled like breakfast. Even if the time was mid afternoon.
Once Li-Li had made an entire loaf of French toast and the berries were washed and lightly sugared, they took everything to the smaller table in the kitchen. Shaking her head at the offer of a cup of coffee, before seating herself, she grabbed a stack of plates, a handful of forks, and a glass of orange juice.
The plates were passed out, and as they all tucked into the fresh French toast, berries, syrup and whipped cream, she watched the faces of the three Winchester men as they tasted one of her specialties. Eyes closed, mouths hummed, and with a smile forming on her lips at the confirmation of a job well done, she took her own bite. Once the first bites were out of the way, conversation picked up.
“You know what would make this even better?” Dean asks around a mouthful of food. No one answers, because they’re all staring at him in various levels of disbelief and disgust. “Bacon. Lots and lots of bacon.”
Li-Li rolls her eyes. Personally she hates the taste and even more so the smell of frying bacon, but to each their own. As they chat, she brings up the same question she’d tried to get Sam to answer, what was the Winchester family business? Silence. Shared looks between the men, but mum seemed to be the word. Huffing, she collected the bare plates, and walked to the dishwasher. It was a simple question, really, wasn’t it? Clearly they worked security of some sort, or private detectives maybe. Why was it so hard to get an answer?
John coming up beside her as she wiped down the counters made her glance at him. He was biting his lip and one part of her wanted to take over for his teeth, and another wanted to know the need for secrecy.
“Sweetheart,” he started, feeling like they had to tell her something. And now that Dean had informed him of Crowley’s visit and what he’d shared, he knew that keeping her safe or at least in the loop was going to be up to them. Daddy dearest didn’t seem to want to get his hands dirty, not yet. “Finish up what you’re doing, and come into the living room?” He wanted her to be comfortable, and sitting when he explained, because he couldn’t stand the thought of her hitting her head again and being in pain.
A nod and he left. Li-Li felt a twist in her stomach, knowing that whatever John was going to tell her was bound to be hard to swallow. Yet, she wanted and needed to know.
It didn’t take Lilana long to clean up the kitchen, and when she walked into the living room, she found all three Winchesters waiting for her. Sighing, she took the same chair she’d sat in the night before and waited.
And when John spoke, her mind recoiled from what he was telling her. It couldn’t be real, what he was saying, demons and angels. Evil that walked through the world unchecked, except by men like the three in her living room. Angels and demons. And from what he was saying, neither side had clean hands.
“What does that have to do with me?” She asked.
John sighed. It was Sam who spoke up. “The man last night,” he started. Li-Li’s mind flashed to his black eyes, the black smoke erupting from him, his screams. “He was possessed.”
“Possessed?” Her voice was hushed, the feeling that her brunch was about to make an encore. She was taking on a slightly green tinge, and Dean found himself kneeling before her again. He took her hand.
“Lilana,” it was John’s voice that she heard, and her eyes met him over his son’s head. “You freed him from it.”
“How?” She gasped, knowing that whatever came next would change her world forever.
Liliana had gone back to her bedroom. Alone. What the Winchesters had just told her was unbelievable. They had to be insane. There was no way that what they told her could be true. Angels and demons. Evil and human hunters that fought it. And her.
Yet, what other explanation did she have for what had happened in her bar? How could she explain how she felt every time she touched one of them, that strange charge? And how could she deny that she and John had been together IN THEIR DREAMS and remembered it?
She was pacing when she heard the knock on her door. Closing her eyes, she told the person to come in. And then his arms were wrapped around her and she felt comforted. John held her and she felt like she wasn’t in as much danger of falling apart. She felt his head drop to the top of hers and his lips brushing her hair.
“It’s a lot,” he whispered. “I know it is.” Understatement of the century. “Li-Li, listen to me, we’re here for you, I’m here for you.”
She sighed and tilted her head back to look up at him. “I know.” Her eyes closed, she felt overwhelmed by so very much. “My father.” She stopped, ‘father’ seemed a tame word for a being who apparently ruled Hell. “Will I ever meet him?” She didn’t know why she cared. He hadn’t raised her. He hadn’t stood beside her and helped her become who she was. Yet she did.
John’s hand came up to cup her cheek. “Crowley is unpredictable, but he sent us to keep you safe.” She started to speak, but his thumb brushed her lips and she stopped. “He’ll eventually come forward to meet you, sweetheart. He will, because there’s no way he doesn’t want to KNOW you.”
He lowered his face to hers and they kissed. Feeling that same tingle rush forward at the first brush of their lips against one another. Lilana let herself be pulled away from her angst, from her reality. Her hands slid up his arms and gripped at his head, and his hands found their way to the small of her back and pressed her flush against his body.
Her moan was swallowed by his mouth as hers swallowed his growl at the feeling of her warmth. And then her hands left his head and started unbuttoning his shirt, squeezing between their bodies before he realized what she was after and he pulled far enough away to let her work. His shirt was pushed from his shoulders to fall to the floor, then her hands were at the hem of his t-shirt. When she tugged it up over his head, they were forced to break their kiss, but then their lips were drawn back together as her fingers worked at his belt.
John was focused on Lilana’s mouth, her fingers working at his clothes, and fighting the urge to take hers off. He wanted to take his time, to let her choose the pace, but when her fingertips touched the bare skin of his hips, he had to break the kiss. Dear God, she was going to kill him. That charge, the one they’d felt since they casually touched the first time, was NOTHING compared to her fingers tracing his bare skin. His breath hissed out of him, and his head fell back at the feeling.
Her fingers continued to work, taking detours only when she couldn’t resist testing his skin. Feeling that electric current run through her with every single slight touch. His jeans were unbuttoned and unzipped when she stopped. John looked down and his eyes met her light green orbs and he swallowed hard. And then he leaned forward and their lips met again, his jeans were tugged down and he kicked them and his shoes off. His hands were tangled in her hair, which he’d pulled free from the clip she’d used to hold it up as his mouth devoured hers.
Lilana’s fingers slid down his chest, back to his hips feeling his muscles tighten under her touch. She smiled against his lips when his fingers left her hair and reached for the hem of her shirt. He pulled it free from her body, again only breaking their kiss at the need to take it off of her. He worked fast and soon she was left in her bra and panties and he only had on his boxers. His hands were running down her back, building that tingle to a fever pitch.
“Bed,” he whispered against her lips, walking them both toward her huge cloud of one.
“At least for the first round,” she whispered back, and giggled at the feel of him twitching against her body at the thought of it.
Lilana laid back on her bed and pulled John along with her. He hovered over her body, wanting to drink every single inch of her in, even with her still wearing her bra and panties. Her body lying beneath him, those green eyes shining up, he could see her angelic genetics shining. And as his face lowered to hers, the feel of her tongue flicking against his, her hands sliding along his bare skin and sparking that tingle into a rage, he could also sense the fires of Hell within her.
She arched up into John’s body, feeling the heat of him coupled with that charge that ran through them when they touched. He was the strangest, most wonderful combination of soft and hard. Skin softer than she’d imagined, but muscle roping underneath to create a complexity that she thought she’d never felt or appreciated with another lover.
John thought his breath was gone completely when he felt her arch up into his body. For God’s sake, they still had a flimsy barrier between them and he could feel through it, through her panties and his boxers, that fucking charge. He pulled his mouth from hers and their eyes met. Was he imagining the glow he saw, the light flashing behind her strangely light green eyes? He didn’t know and couldn’t focus on it because she was rolling him over onto his back and then her bra was tossed behind her. His hands curved around her newly exposed skin and he felt the charge grow, her gasp, the roll of her hips against his stomach.
His head rose off the pillow and his mouth covered one nipple as his hand weighed the flesh of her other breast. Lilana rocked her hips against his stomach, using her hands to hold his face and mouth to her skin. And then it grew to be too much, just his mouth going from one breast to the other, and she needed more. More than his mouth, more than they could have with the remaining fabric barrier between them.
“John,” she breathed, knowing he heard her when he moaned against her skin. “John, please.”
His lips released her skin, and he looked up at her face and the sight made him realize that she was so much more than a younger woman. She was it. Whatever he wanted, whatever he needed, she was it. In less than a wink her panties joined his boxers on the floor and she was beneath him again. And then he was sliding inside her and they both stopped. They stopped moving, they stopped breathing. Their eyes met and he knew she felt it too. If the charge that grew with every touch was powerful, then this, joining their bodies like this it was beyond that power. This was perfection. What John had to imagine that Heaven was like.
“Lilana?” His voice was harsh and quiet, uncertain, but happy he could breathe again.
And it helped her move. His voice, the sound of him breathing, it pulled her away from the overwhelming feeling of completion. Her legs wrapped around his hips and he sunk into her just a hint more and that was it. They couldn’t stop moving. Touching, thrusting, arching. Their mouths met and they devoured the taste of one another, their moans, and eventually their screams as the feelings became too much and they couldn’t stop from rushing over the edge.
John was cradling her on his chest, their breaths syncing and their hearts slowing. He hadn’t expected it. Hadn’t realized that Crowley truly didn’t know what Lilana would be for him. That in the daughter of an angel and the king of Hell John Winchester would find peace and love. And if that wasn’t shocking enough, she felt it too.
John was holding Lilana, the light fading outside the bedroom windows, feeling a contentment he hadn’t felt in so damn long he’d almost forgotten how it could feel. Her lips were making a map of his chest and he was shocked at how his body was STILL responding. He’d lost count of how many times and how many ways they’d come together since he walked in to comfort her.
She glanced up from beneath her eyelashes, kissing the hair covered chest that she wanted to touch and taste forever. “I want more,” she whispered and he chuckled, his voice hoarse. Lilana moved so she was straddling him, moving lower until he was back inside her heat and then, once again, it felt like the world stopped. “Dear fucking-” she moaned, and it broke whatever spell that hit when they joined. She rocked, letting him feel every slick inch of the inside of her and John’s moan met hers.
“Lilana,” he rolled and was on top of her moving hard and fast, the way he had quickly learned she loved. “That’s it, sweetheart, fuck you’re tight,” his head found her shoulder, and his lips were tasting her skin as greedily as she had his. “You taste amazing, fuck, Lilana, right fucking-” and with a roar, he came again, deep inside of her as she bit into his shoulder to keep from screaming loud enough to breach the well insulated walls of her bedroom.
He stayed cradled between her thighs, their breathing coming down together, their hearts syncing. Her stomach growled and he laughed. “I think I’m hungry.” She giggled. “Which is weird, because I feel so fucking full.” She wiggled and he knew exactly what she meant. He was still inside of her, still coming down, still filling her perfectly. John’s eyes met hers and he saw everything he was feeling reflected. “Think the boys are gonna let us do the walk of shame quietly?”
His thumb brushed her lower lip, that lip that begged to be tasted again. “I think they will if they know what’s good for them.” He dipped his head and gave into temptation. She tasted like every damn thing he couldn’t live without. Her laughter bubbled up when his stomach rumbled against her. “Damn, guess I’m a little hungry too.”
Lilana’s hands were sliding through his hair. Her eyes studying his face, the scar along his eye, the scruff on his face that burned just right on her skin, those eyes of his that burned and twinkled at the same damn time. “You’re fucking gorgeous, John Winchester.” She tugged his head back to hers and licked into his mouth. “I don’t know why I finally found you, but I will die before I lose you.”
It was full dark by the time they came out of her bedroom. Lolly laying against her door, looking like she’d been abandoned. Lilana’s hand reached down automatically and slid through her fur. John’s fingers linked with her other hand, and smiling they walked down the hallway. They could hear the voices of the boys, and another voice, one that made John’s hand tighten in hers.
“John?” She asked, looking up, but the new voice cut in.
“Ah, Papa Winchester,” what accent was that? Lilana tried to place it. “Why don’t you bring Lilana in here and join us?” Ut oh.
Entering the living room, Lilana’s eyes landed on a man in a well made dark suit. He was smaller stature, but so was she, and she had a feeling that wasn’t all they shared. Dark hair, dark facial hair, and a look like he’d really enjoy tearing the wings off of flies in his spare time. Daddy? She wondered, with an internal snarkiness that she felt he heard because of the smirk he flashed at her.
“Lilana, my dear, come, come.” He was gesturing as though he owned her house and she shot him a look. “My apologies, sweetheart, habit.” He took the chair she’d sat in the previous night. Looking very much like the King of Hell, if she were being honest. Fuck.
Pulling John by the hand to the sofa, she sat and drew him down next to her. She kept his hand in hers. “Crowley, I suspect?” Lilana was happy to note that her voice was steady. Good. “Wait,” she leaned forward studying him. “I know you.” She did. She knew him, she’d seen him on the worst night of her life. “You pulled me from the car.” His eyes widened. “You took me from the wreckage, you were at my bedside.”
“I thought you were-” he stopped, his voice had gone breathless. A sign of weakness, and clearly Crowley didn’t want to sound weak. “You were unconscious.”
“I saw you from above.” John glanced at her. It was the same voice she’d used in the dream, almost hers, but not quite. “The corner of the room. You spoke to me.” Crowley’s eyes met John’s. “You said you’d get them, that they’d watch over me.” Her head tilted and John could see the reflection of the glow of her eyes in the wall of glass behind the King of Hell. “Thank you.”
Lilana’s eyes closed and she sighed, and then sat back as though exhausted. “Winchester, explain.” Crowley was unnerved. What had just happened? Her eyes, had anyone ever seen that type of bright light before? So blinding, so white and blue tinged.
John’s hand tightened on Lilana’s, drawing her back to the conversation. “Sorry, I think I might have zone out for a moment.” She took in the tension in the room. “Shit, did I-” she sighed and felt all four sets of eyes zero in on her. Lilana sighed. “Yeah, OK, so sometimes I seem to channel something or someone.” She made it sound like it wasn’t a big deal. “What? He’s the KING OF HELL.” She gestured at Crowley like he won this round of weirdo Olympics.
John’s eyes landed on Crowley with a raised eyebrow. “Want to weigh in, Father Dearest?”
Crowley snorted. “Hark who’s talking.” He sighed and sat back in his chair. “I don’t know, Winchester, how would I?” He studied his daughter’s face. “How long has this been happening? The ‘channeling’?”
Lilana settled into the sofa. “Forever?” A shrug. “Mom mentioned it when I was sixteen like it was a family joke.” Her eyes met Crowley’s. “You know the type, ‘remember the time Li-Li talked in that weird voice and freaked out her nanny so bad she wet herself’, the nanny not me.” She rolled her eyes. “My life has been FILLED with weird. The pool guy who hit me with the net, nearly drowning me in our old house. He didn’t realize he’d touched me, he swore, but before he did it Lolly wouldn’t let him in the gate, and afterward she snuggled him. Weird.”
John and Crowley’s gaze met for a split second. “What else?” Dean, from behind her. She tilted her head and grinned.
“Forgot you were hovering there, why don’t you grab a seat. You too, Sam?” Once everyone was settled in, she continued. “More freaky weird? There was my friend Annie’s mom. She kept badgering Mom and Dad to let me have a sleepover, but when they gave in and I insisted Lolly come along, she backed out.” She bit her lip. “The guys who wanted more, but when they arrived at the house, took one look at Lolly growling and drooling and darted away.” She felt John shift with irritation. “Not all of them, clearly. I don’t know, up until the other night, it was just weird stuff over and over, interspersed with me spouting off cryptic shit in a voice sort of mine, but not.” Her eyes squinted. “And the light. Mom swore that sometimes it looked like my eyes glowed.” She rolled her eyes.
“It’s true, Lilana,” John’s voice was quiet and she turned to look at him. “They glow.” What?
“Lilana,” Crowley’s voice drew her attention back to him. “I’m not sure you understood everything they told you-”
“Half angel, half demon?” She snorted, who would understand that? “I don’t.”
“Your mother, Abigail, was-” He closed his eyes. “She and I weren’t supposed to-” Not enough strength, not by a mile. “What we had was forbidden.” His eyes opened to her watching him. “Our love, you, it was beyond forbidden. She-”
“Evaporated.” Lilana’s voice was hushed, but sure. “She ceased to exist. All because of me.” The pain he heard was real and it was echoed inside of him. “Maybe I shouldn’t-”
Four voices shot that idea down. “Darling, no.” Crowley took up the argument easily. “You mother, she was a great deal like you, she said things, knew things, that she shouldn’t. You were meant to be.” He sounded as certain as she had. “It hurt to lose her, I won’t deny that, it’s a loss I feel to this second.” Li-Li’s eyes were shining with tears. “But YOU? You are supposed to exist. You make her loss at least mean something.” His eyes flicked to John’s hand in hers. He growled. “Could you stop mauling my daughter right in front of me, Winchester?”
Li-Li’s eyes glanced down at their linked fingers. “Mauling? We’re holding hands-” she searched for something to call him. Damn it. “What do I call you?”
Crowley came up short at the question. Call him? Father? No, too formal. Dad? No, too casual. Daddy? No, too cringe inducing. He shot Winchester a look. Please, all that is unholy, do not let her be calling Papa Winchester ‘daddy’. “I’m not sure, Lilana.” They sat and studied one another. “What would you like to call me?”
Another moment of silence. Father? Ugh, that would sound like he was her priest, which would be hilarious, but weird. Dad? Nope, she had one, he was dead. Daddy? Eww, there was an amount of ew that couldn’t be un-thought, and that word brought them all to the surface. Papa? She shot a look at John. Yeah, no, not after he’d called John that multiple times. “Can we play it by ear?”
A nod. Great. “Back to the issue at hand-” he shot their linked hands another sharp look. “Mauling.” Lilana rolled her eyes.
“Mauling?” She held up their hands for a better look. “This is mauling?” John could hear the playful bent in her voice and shut his eyes against the thought of what may be coming. “Damn, guess we should be happy he didn’t come straight into my bedroom earlier, right, honey?” She blinked at John, his eyes opened and he had to fight a laugh. “I mean, not to brag, but that was MAULING.” She dragged the word out and felt the sofa on her other side shake. Turning she saw Dean turning almost blue from holding in some type of emotion. “You OK, Dean?”
That did it. Dean let out the breath he’d been holding, a combination of deflated squeak toy and horror left him and Sam was laughing from his own chair with abandon. Crowley and John were staring at one another and Lilana could almost feel the heat.
“Oh stop it.” It was directed at Crowley, because of course, he rolled his eyes. “You don’t get to throw your parental weight around here, mister.” She stood up, releasing John’s hand reluctantly. “I don’t KNOW you, and whose fault is that?” He opened his mouth, but she kept going. “Yeah, yeah, yeah, my protection and forbidden love, bullshit. YOU’RE King of Hell, right? Well, toss your weight around and do supervised visits or something.” She threw her hands up in the air and headed for the kitchen. “Now, since I just experienced MIND BLOWING marathon sex with the sexual wizard that is John Winchester, I’m starving. Anyone want dinner?”
Li-Li wasn’t sure what to call the meal she prepared for John, his sons, and her- She really wished she had a word for him, none felt right. King of Hell, and her proud sperm donor? Cringing internally, she cooked a light pasta dish. Al dente pasta tossed in olive oil seasoned with fresh garlic, steamed broccoli, and sliced baby tomatoes with a warmed loaf of Italian bread she’d grabbed on her last grocery run.
Everyone moved to the dining room, and tension was clear in the way the four men were seated. She noticed that Crowley had taken the head of the table and she rolled her eyes. The plates were filled, the food aromatic and perfect, but still silence reigned.
Sighing, and picking up her wine glass, Li-Li couldn’t take it any longer. “Anyone care to thank the chef?” A small sip of her wine, and she glanced around, wondering who would break first. She could swear that John and her surviving parent were having a staring contest. “I personally love it, the carbs, the lightness. I think it’s the perfect meal to have right before two people go for round two, or is it-” That did it, Crowley practically growled at the thought of it, but Li-Li didn’t really stop. She needed to get John’s mouth moving. “I lost count, John? Did you keep track?”
John’s eyes widened, but they didn’t leave Crowley’s. Dean made the same noise he’d made in the living room and she looked around to see if Lolly had broken one of her toys again. Meeting Sam’s eyes, she realized that it was his brother. He looked like he was going to explode, from either laughter or embarrassment.
“I wouldn’t have to keep bringing up our sex life,” she felt all eyes on her. “If all of you would start acting like we’re all adults here.” Her eyes met Crowley’s. “Now, eat, and tell me I’m amazing.”
The tension lessened, and John was thankful. He could finally taste what Lilana had made and once the flavor hit his tongue he moaned appreciatively. When he complimented her, she knew it was authentic and not manufactured simply because she’d asked for it. The others followed, even Crowley, taking a bite and staring at his fork like he couldn’t believe it.
“This is wonderful, darling,” he offered, his accent making it sound like a soft pat of appreciation. “You really are a miracle.”
She snorted into her wine glass, causing four pairs of eyes to lock onto her. “Sorry, it’s just pasta-” sighing, she shot the man who helped create her a look. “I really wish I had some clue what to call you.” Taking a beat, she continued. “It’s only pasta, not a masterpiece of DiVinci proportions. Thank you for the compliment,” she tried to sound graceful, but honestly this entire day felt overwhelming. “I should clean up and head back to bed, I have work tomorrow.”
Three of the four men stood to help her collect the plates and leftovers. Clearly the King of Hell didn’t feel obligated. Li-Li rolled her eyes and started for the kitchen, but his hand on her wrist stopped her. “Sit, please let’s have a talk alone.”
She was shocked. The man at the bar, he’d touched her and the thing inside him and been forced out and gone. John had gone still as well, eyes widening at the hand on Li-Li’s arm.
“Crowley, don’t-” Sam had warned, when he saw him reaching for her. But then, they were all staring again. Including Crowley.
“What is the problem, Moose?” He asked, hand still in place.
“That’s what vaporized the other-”
Plates were forgotten as even the King of Hell looked surprised.