Prologue: Sell Your Fear and Leave Me Standing Here
"Hello, it's a beautiful day in the neighborhood," Castiel sing-songed into the bookstore's landline.
Castiel sighed, "Hello, Rafael."
"It's been far too long."
"I consider myself to be an atheist when it comes to small talk."
Silence buzzed on the other end of the line.
Castiel silently bemoaned his brother's limited imagination, but he was in a good mood and willing to play along, "I don't believe in chit-chat."
"Very well," Rafael said stiffly, he had never really known how to communicate with Castiel anymore than the youngest Novak had known how to communicate with him… Not that Raf knew who Cas really was now; or, more accurately, who 'James' wasn't.
"What do you want, Raf?" Castiel asked, tones clipped, words bitten off with neat little clicks of his teeth.
"It's about Lucifer."
Cold seeped into Castiel's stomach and pooled there, solidifying into a heavy block of ice dragging his insides down, down, down. "What about Lucifer?" he asked tersely, throat tight and aching with the strain of the past.
"He's due for parole soon."
"He's in a mental institution. They don't do parole."
"Forgotten the terms of the sentence already? You have gone soft since law school, James," Rafael's voice dripped condescension and while Castiel had no right to feel indignant, he hadn't actually been the twin to earn his juris doctorate, he couldn't help the hot flame of irritation burning beneath his breastbone.
"I don't have time to sit around being mocked, Raf, get to the point," Castiel said, words measured, tone sharp.
"Lucifer is due for parole in the next month and according to his keepers," Rafael sneered the word. Castiel was fairly sure that was not the correct term for mental health professionals but figured it was in his best interest to cut this conversation off as quickly as possible and correcting Rafael's vocabulary would do nothing but drag it out, "He should be let out, contingent on good behavior, of course," Rafael concluded.
"What does this have to do with me?" Castiel was keeping his answers simple and to the point, the better to speed up this interminable conversation and to avoid any slip-ups that might make Raf question his identity.
"Lucifer must be released to the care and supervision of a trusted family member. You."
"Me?" Castiel couldn't help it, he snarled the word, chewing it up and spitting it out, a lump of masticated sound.
"You," Rafael was unperturbed by the verbal upchucking, "You're the most logical choice, and frankly the only one who can do it."
"What?" Castiel growled, straining to rein in his temper.
"Zachariah is out of the country for the next six months on some sort of film shoot for his work, Mother is hardly a capable adult, Father remains missing – "
"Or dead," Castiel muttered mutinously.
" – And I have small children, the presence of a convicted criminal in the home is unthinkable."
A Herculean effort later and Castiel managed to form a polysyllabic sentence, "I have a child too."
"Claire? Send her to live with her mother for a few months, that's the convenience of divorce."
"Amelia died four years ago, Rafael," Castiel was resisting the urge to physically murder his brother. Or at least throw the phone across the room.
"Oh, well, that's unfortunate."
"That's one way of putting it, yes," Castiel said tersely.
"You'll simply have to make it very clear to both Claire and Lucifer what the expectations are in your home."
"Well, they'll be living together, best to set some boundaries, create a safe environment."
"And Claire is nineteen, right? Plenty old enough to know how to handle herself."
"Claire is seventeen, and no, I'm not taking on Lucifer."
"I'll provide the facility with your phone number, they'll be wanting to call and update you on Lucifer's parole process, and of course you'll need to know when to pick him up. I assume you've abandoned that whole 'GreenPeace' thing from college and drive something more respectable than a used bicycle now," Rafael steamrolled over his brother's protests and Castiel really, really wanted to kill the smug bastard.
"Why can't Chuck and Becky take Lucifer? And are you absolutely sure Zachariah is out of country?"
"Their lifestyles are far too transitory and yes, Zachariah is out of the country for the next six months."
"Dammit," Castiel cursed under his breath.
"You can't imagine how pleased I am that you've taken up the burden of helping Lucifer re-integrate back into society, thank you, Jim." and with that Rafael hung up.
Somehow that did not make Castiel any less desperate to kill something.
Author's Note: Hello there! Welcome to Discount Angels, the sequel to Half Price Gemini! I'm super excited to be writing this and hope everyone is as psyched as I am. :)
This prologue and chapter 1 of this story will be posted on my profile under the title Discount Angels tomorrow night (hopefully).
The prologue's title comes from the song 'No Souvenirs' by Melissa Etheridge (a great song).
As always, reviews bring light to my life and a smile to my face, if any of you lovely people have time, I'd love to hear from you.